Last week, the Center for American Progress released a 130-page report detailing who’s behind the rise of Islamophobia in the United States. “Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America” shows how a small handful of groups, including ACT! for America and Stop Islamization of America, have been the driving force behind the the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States.
A ThinkProgress investigation found that a top employee at ACT! for America, Chris Slick, was a key staffer in South Carolina for Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign and continues to be a “rabid Romney volunteer” this year. Slick, who currently works as ACT!’s director of online operations, served as a South Carolina field manager for Romney’s 2008 presidential bid. During Slick’s tenure on Romney’s staff, the former Massachusetts governor declared that he would not appoint a Muslim in his cabinet if he were elected president. (GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain made a similar pledge this cycle, to much criticism.) After Romney’s bid failed, Slick moved on to spread Islamophobia at ACT! for America, though he maintains contact with Romney’s 2012 presidential bid as a volunteer.
At ACT!, Slick has worked to distribute model anti-Sharia legislation to state lawmakers around the country. In South Carolina, for instance, state Sen. Mike Fair (R) told ThinkProgress he had coordinated with Slick as he introduced legislation to ban Sharia in the Palmetto State. After working behind the scenes with Fair to bring up the anti-Sharia legislation, Slick then lobbied ACT! supporters to inundate state Sen. Larry Martin (R) with phone calls in an attempt to persuade Martin to lift his hold on the bill.
Slick’s Islamophobia isn’t just confined to pushing anti-Sharia legislation. His Twitter feed includes frequent anti-Muslim and anti-Arab missives. On April 25, Slick wrote, “Press 3 for Arabic. Yep, we are in trouble now folks…”. The week before, Slick accused Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) of having “ties to terrorism” for once representing the Arab television network Al Jazeera. Back in February, Slick retweeted a post from Logan’s Warning asking “Why would any woman be supportive of Islam?” And earlier that month, Slick wrote, “Dear Egyptian protesters [sic] aka the Muslim Brotherhood, please do not damage the pyramids, we will not rebuild them again. Signed, The Jews.”
Slick also sent out an ominous tweet on May 10: “I need a Wikipedia expert. Need to hire one to clean some stuff up. Do you or someone you know work well with Wiki? Let me know ASAP.” It’s unclear precisely whose or what Wikipedia page he wanted to alter.
To learn more about how the Islamophobia network operates, check out this video ThinkProgress produced: