A Decade of Unity 

USCMO Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

By Amani Salahudeen

Jan/Feb 2024

On Oct. 15, 2023, the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) commemorated its 10th anniversary in Chicago. The organization is dedicated to advocating for the Muslim community’s civil rights, combating discrimination, and promoting its interests while collaborating with other organizations.

With founding members like The Mosque Cares (the Ministry of Imam W. Deen), American Muslims for Palestine, CAIR and others, USCMO was founded in 1994 to promote social justice. 

“In addition to actively combatting issues such as racial discrimination and hate crimes, USCMO has gained recognition as a prominent advocate for American Muslims, working towards the betterment of both Muslim communities and society as a whole,” said Oussama Jammal (secretary general, USCMO) in an interview with Islamic Horizons. 

USMCO was established to foster community cohesion and cater to the unique requirements of American Muslims, such as dealing with Islamophobia, the root causes of which can be attributed to political, social, and economic factors. Some of the key drivers include media bias, political rhetoric, and the actions of extremist groups. 

Addressing them requires a multifaceted approach that involves education, dialogue, and promoting tolerance and understanding. Islamophobia is a danger to social cohesiveness, religious freedom, and human rights, in addition to its negative effects on individuals and communities. The media’s inaccurate portrayal and stereotyping of Muslims is a key cause of Islamophobia. USCMO’s counteroffensive is designed to ensure that people are informed and aware of what Islam truly is and teaches and raises awareness.

 “USCMO has unified several organizations under one umbrella,” Jammal noted. “It serves as one voice for the Muslim community. We have created diplomatic relationships in different countries, support rallies for Islamic causes, and host Open Mosque events in different cities to bring communities together with other interfaith groups to combat Islamophobia.”

Their twin mosque initiative seeks to strengthen the bond between African-American Muslims brothers and sisters and others in the community. They also hosted a National Muslim Women’s Conference in Chicago during November 2023 to highlight their accomplishments, which sometimes go unnoticed.

Future Plans

For the past ten years, USCMO has been working hard to bring people from different religious communities together to make a difference. As it moves into the next stage of its mission, the organization is committed to creating an inclusive and harmonious culture, one that will engender changes to make the future brighter for everyone.

“USCMO was my childhood dream. I wanted to see the ummah united together. It embodied me. It gave me a serious responsibility that I needed to uphold,” Jammal said. “It is a platform to serve the ummah. USCMO strives to address all Muslim American issues, and it gives a sense of community with a common vision.”

One of USCMO’s most notable accomplishments lies in its impact on domestic politics. The organization actively engages with policymakers, lobbying to protect civil liberties, eliminate discriminatory policies and recognize Muslims’ diverse contributions to society. Through these efforts, the organization has sought to empower American Muslims to make their voices heard.

Looking toward the future, USCMO plans to expand its outreach and achieve greater representation across the country. It aims to establish more local chapters, strengthen ties with Muslim communities at the grass-roots level and empower American Muslims through education, advocacy, community building and fostering positive societal change. 

Jammal envisions USCMO as increasing its membership more than tenfold over the next decade. With the support they provide to Muslim candidates, they hope more Muslims will become civically engaged in their states.

The tenth anniversary marks a significant milestone in the organization’s journey of advocating for civil rights and promoting religious community interests. USCMO is committed to fostering a more inclusive society as it anticipates future challenges and embraces new opportunities.

Amani Salahudeen, currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in education at Western Governors University, has a bachelor’s in journalism and professional writing from The College of New Jersey.

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