Three weeks ago, Frank Gaffney released a new pledge asking presidential candidates to swear they will fight the non-existent threat of Sharia if elected president. Yet, as of publication time, none of the 10 major Republican presidential candidates have signed Gaffney’s anti-Sharia pledge. (Gaffney’s spokesman told us they are “still in touch with the campaigns.”)
Gaffney, one of the leading anti-Muslim misinformation experts profiled in the Center for American Progress’ recent report on Islamophobia in America, has spent years fighting what he sees as “creeping Sharia” in the United States. His efforts culminated in the release of a report last year entitled “Sharia: The Threat To America.”
In an effort to whip up support for his anti-Sharia campaign, the Center for Security Policy president released the “Twelve for ’12” policy platform earlier this month, which implores candidates to, among other things, “preserve and protect the Constitution” by “repudiat[ing]” Sharia:
It’s understandable that even presidential candidates as extreme as Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum don’t want to associate themselves with Gaffney. Beyond his absurd notion that Sharia law is a threat to the United States, Gaffney has made a name for himself with one outlandish claim after the next. He has accused Gen. David Petraeus of “submission” to Sharia law, claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood has “infiltrated” the federal government, and even argued that the government’s Missile Defense logo is further evidence of creeping Sharia law.
Though anti-Sharia sentiment had been fairly common in recent Republican rhetoric, the public outcry against presidential candidate Herman Cain’s declaration that he will not appoint Muslims in his administration was deafening. Cain’s campaign was dogged by the story for months until July when the candidate met with Muslim leaders outside Washington, DC and issued a public apology to all Muslim-Americans. Cain’s newfound tolerance did no harm to his standing among Republican primary voters; this past weekend, the former pizza executive enjoyed an overwhelming victory in Florida’s presidential straw poll.
Republican presidential candidates like Cain have clearly concluded that Gaffney’s anti-Sharia pledge is a political loser. Even a pledge stipulating that black families were better off during slavery than today earned signatures from Bachmann and Santorum. Gaffney’s flop is further evidence of Islamophobia’s waning influence in politics.
For more about Gaffney and other anti-Muslim, check out the Center for American Progress’ recent report: “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”