WASHINGTON, DC (MASNET) June 17, 2008 – MAS Freedom (MASF), the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS), has learned that numerous individuals and organizations on the political right have recently embarked upon a campaign, through various internet-based “news” sources, to openly vilify both MAS and MASF by falsely associating the MASF voter registration, mobilization and education campaign, Voting is Power (VIP), to an investigation of possible election fraud in the state of Louisiana.
The campaign, through no fewer than 16 separate cross-postings of similarly accusatory articles, began surfacing on the internet June 12, 2008, directly identifying MAS/MASF as having contracted with the national Democratic Party to register voters in Louisiana.
An article posted on the web forum of conservative FOX news host Sean Hannity, displayed a headline reading: “Democrats Hire Radical Islamic Group to Register Voters – Fraud Ensues”. Other headlines read, “Islamic Group Hired to Register Voters – Result, Fraud” and “Muslim American Society Committing Voter Fraud in Louisiana”, which also incorporated unauthorized* use of the MAS logo. These allegations are absolutely false.
Here are the facts:
- The issue related to Democratic Party voter registration in the state of Louisiana was first reported on June 11, 2008 by 2theadvocate.com, produced by The Advocate and WBRZ News 2 Louisiana, in an article written by Marsha Shuller, which accurately stated, that the Secretary of State was meeting “with a Democrat-affiliated group responsible for a voter registration effort – VIP is a Washington, D.C. group hired by national Democrats.”
- On June 15, 2008, the New York Times published an article written by Shaila Dewan, reporting that, “A Democratic voter registration drive – has raised complaints from registrars about large numbers of duplicate, invalid or incomplete applications, and has led to an investigation by the Louisiana secretary of state – Democratic officials said the – drive – was called Voting is Power.”
- Neither the 2theadvocate.com nor The New York Times, in their referral to the Washington DC-based VIP group, affiliate the group with MAS or MAS Freedom.
- MAS/MAS Freedom has never been employed by the Democratic Party to conduct voter registration campaigns.
- The MAS Freedom Voting is Power (VIP) Campaign, was launched in August 2003, as an independent, non-partisan initiative for voter registration, education, and mobilization, and has never been affiliated with the similarly named Washington, D.C.-based firm ‘Voting is Power’, located at 1250 21st Street, N.W.
MAS Freedom is convinced that this latest anti-Muslim campaign of vilification-by-false-association was not motivated by a genuine opposition to alleged voter fraud; rather, its sole purpose was to augment an agenda to discredit legitimate Muslim organizations striving to encourage civic empowerment and engagement, and to perpetuate an unfounded climate of extreme prejudice, suspicion and fear against the Muslim American community. Tactics such as this are also used by the likes of ‘terrorism expert’ Steve Emerson, who appeared on the FOX News Bill Hammer show and insinuated that the success of the MAS Freedom VIP initiative, covered in national media, should be viewed with suspicion.
MAS Freedom will not be dissuaded by the false allegations of pundits and bigots. We will continue to exercise our rights as citizens to register, educate, mobilize, and vote.
State Probes Voter Registration Drive (June 11, 2008 – 2theadvocate.com)
Democrats’ Vote Drive in Louisiana Stirs Concern (June 16, 2008 – New York Times)
Muslim-Americans Launch Nationwide Voter Registration Campaign (CBS News – August 12, 2003)
MAS Freedom Announces Launch of Voter Registration Campaign (MASNET – August 12, 2003)
* Corporate logos should not generally be used in contexts which are, taken as a whole, strongly negative toward another company.