Rep. Allen West (R-FL) has a lengthy history of pandering to Islamophobes and a well recorded willingness to rub shoulders with members of the extreme right.
But a press release [PDF] announcing a “private citizens group to expose stunning details about homegrown jihad at Capitol Hill,” an event sponsored by West, should raise new questions about West’s proclivity for aligning himself with individuals and groups who engage in crude stereotyping of Muslims.
The “private citizens group” West invited for a July 25 presentation is the Boca Raton, Florida-based Citizens for National Security (CFNS). The CFNS press release promises that the event will release “an unprecedented list of individual members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.”
Headed by William A. Saxton and Peter M. Leitner, the organization’s website is littered with language suggesting that all Muslims represent a danger to U.S. national security. The website describes a “radical Islamist insurgency” that has waged war “without opposition in this country since 1964.” And what threat does this “insurgency” pose to Boca Raton? The Broward-Palm Beach New Times interviewed Saxton and reported that he conducted a “site survey of a local Cinemaplex, where he documented how simply someone could detonate a bomb at the refreshment center and take out 2,000 moviegoers.”
CFNS organizes volunteer “task forces” to combat “specific dangers posed by radical Islam and other extremist ideologies.” “Task Force 4” is simply assigned the job to do the following:
Identify “Islamic” businesses, social and religious organizations, schools, etc. throughout North America.
When not outlining potential terror attacks at local cinemas or recording the address of every “Islamic” entity in the country, the CFNS writes reports on “Islam in Florida’s K-12 Textbooks.” The introduction of the report [PDF] reads:
This report reveals the methods used to distort and mold the content of Florida’s elementary and high school history and geography textbooks in favor of Islam.
While the CFNS’ prejudice against American Muslims is barely hidden, the group’s cofounder Peter Leitner, who will appear at the July 25 Capitol Hill event, also founded The Higgins CounterTerrorism Research Center, which offers counterterrorism training to first responders. A document hosted on their website offers what could only be described as extremely prejudiced, if not outright racist, profiles of Arab psychology. It reads [DOC]:
…[The] Western concept of cause and effect is rarely accepted by Arabs who may not necessarily see a unifying link between events. They do, however, maintain a long-term memory over actions and events. It is important to point out that it is memory, not necessarily history that is important.
While Leitner and Saxton are free to document their bigotry on the internet, West’s judgment in inviting such blatant Islamophobes to present their views at the U.S. Capitol should raise serious questions. (HT: Spencer Ackerman and Justin Elliott)