Last summer, anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney launched a smear campaign against Muslim GOP candidate David Ramadan who was running for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Ramadan won the race but he and his defenders faced an onslaught of accusations that Ramadan’s candidacy was a form of “stealth Jihad.” Gaffney held a press conference with the McCarthyesque topic of “explor[ing] what is known – and as yet unknown – about Mr. Ramadan’s character and caliber.”
The fear-mongering against Ramadan grew so vociferous that Edwin Meese, former Reagan administration Attorney General and Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation, became a target of Geller and Gaffney’s campaign after he endorsed Ramadan. Geller wrote:
James Lafferty, SIOA board member and VAST [Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force] chairman, just advised me that Ed Meese bought into stealth jihadist David Ramadan’s ruse. That’s just what this country needs, more Muslim Brotherhood plants in the legislature.
Yesterday, Meese explained to NewsMax TV why he chose to endorse Ramadan and how the hate campaign against Muslims goes against American values. Meese says he supported Ramadan because he’s a “fine man” who “thought very much in terms of political lines the same way I do.” Watch it:
Gaffney, Geller, Spencer and others’ attacks on Ramadan didn’t deter Meese because he saw them as a “fringe group” accusing Ramadan of “…not being totally an American or being an Islamist or somehow not being worthy of running for office.” The attacks strengthened Meese’s conviction in helping Ramadan’s candidacy. “I felt that this was an unfair attack and persisted in my support of him because of that,” said Meese.
Meese says his exposure to the “fringe group” that attacked Ramadan concerns him because “I think it’s always serious when any American is disparaged [...] solely because of their religion or their background when there’s no basis for it.”
It’s heartening to see conservatives begin to speak out against the forces of intolerance within their camp; hopefully, Meese will find more allies than opponents among fellow Republicans.
Now, journalist Max Blumenthal unearthed a 2007 speech Santorum gave to a Washington conference at the invitation of David Horowitz. In the speech (audio can be found at anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller‘s site), Santorum outlined the “war” against “radical Islam”:
What must we do to win? We must educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate. …
The other thing we need to do is eradicate, and that’s the final thing. As I said, this is going to be a long war. There are going to be pluses and minuses, ups and downs. But we have to win this war to — fight this war to win this war.
Santorum insists that he’s “not suggesting that we have to go in there and blow them up.” But, later in the speech, he compares the “long war” to World War II, adding, “Americans don’t like war. They don’t like suffering and dying. No one does.”
Both in this speech and in other writings and remarks, Santorum often specifies that he’s speaking of “radical Islam.” But what does “radical Islam” mean to Santorum? In fact, the former senator often times conflates extremists with the entire Muslim faith at-large and, at other times, he states outright that radicals dominate Islam. In the 2007 D.C. speech, Santorum compared Muslim wars from hundreds of years ago to 9/11: “Does anybody know when the high-water mark of Islam was? September the 11th, 1683,” he said to gasps from the audience.
As to what “losing” the war with “radical Islam” looks like, Santorum discussed Europe. “Europe is on the way to losing,” he said. “The most popular male name in Belgium — Mohammad. It’s the fifth most popular name in France among boys.” The other data point he cited was larger birthrates among “Islamic Europeans” as opposed to “Westernized Europeans.” Nowhere did he indicate a growing “radical” threat in Europe.
In October 2007 at his alma mater Penn State, Santorum gave a speech and failed to break out the radical strain from the faith at-large: “Islam, unlike Christianity, is an all-encompassing ideology. It is not just something you do on Sunday. … We (as Americans) don’t get that.” The quote is particularly ironic from someone who, among other such statements, has said, “[O]ur civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God’s law.”
In a January 2007 speech, Santorum suggested Islam at-large was responsible for religious freedom issues and put the onus Muslims to deal with these issues to end the “war”:
Until we have the kind of discussion and dialogue with Islam — that democracy and freedom of religion, along with religious pluralism, are essential for the stability of the world and our ability to cohabit in this world. Unless Islam is willing to make that conscious decision, then we are going to be at war for a long time.
If Santorum’s discourse sounds like some of the Islamophobia network outlined in CAP’s Fear, Inc. report, that should be no surprise. Horowitz has repeatedly hosted Santorum for “Islamo-fascism Awareness Week” events and Geller and her associate Robert Spencer cite his work approvingly.
In a 2008 appearance at the Christians United For Israel confab, Santorum outflanked even Daniel Pipes. When Pipes mentioned that radicals only constituted about 10 to 15 percent of Muslims worldwide, Santorum, before wondering whether Muslims are capable of making moral decisions at all, challenged him:
It’s not a small number. OK? It’s not a fringe. It’s a sizable group of people that hold these views. [Pipes' notion of 'moderate' Islam] is the exception, I would argue, of what traditional Islam is doing.
No decent American — or anyone across the globe — should oppose “eradicat(ing)” extremist ideologies like militant, “radical Islam.” But Santorum’s history of statements raises questions about just exactly what and who he’s targeting for eradication.
Listen to the relevant clips of Rick Santorum’s 2007 Washington conference speech (captured from anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller’s site) here:
Former Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton responded to Newt Gingrich’scommitment to the Republican Jewish Committee that he would appoint Bolton as his Secretary of State if elected president. Bolton downplayed Gingrich’s statement and clarified that he wouldn’t commit to serving in a Gingrich administration and that Gingrich hadn’t offered him the job. He told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren:
He hasn’t spoken to me yet so it’s obviously very flattering. I’m honored that anybody would say that. But I think it’s really presumptuous for people in that position to be accepting or not. The focus has to be on nominating the best candidate we can and replacing President Obama. I think there’s some advantage to candidates talking about who they might have in their cabinet… It helps the candidates show what their priorities are and the direction of their thinking.
Indeed, appointing Bolton as Secretary of State would say a great deal about Gingrich’s priorities. Bolton is a highly divisive figure — he said, “The [UN] Secretariat Building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost ten stories today, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” The Senate refused to confirm him as U.N. ambassador back in 2006. More recently, Bolton has forged ties to the Islamophobic far-right and wrote the foreword to anti-Muslim bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s book, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America. (HT: Christian Heinze)
Anti-Islam activist John Jay has vowed to never write again after prominent activists Pam Geller and Robert Spencer disavowed any connection to him and strongly condemned his call to violence. Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported on Jay’s call for the mass murder of members of Congress, journalists, Muslims, and liberals, prompting Geller and Spencer — key players of the Islamophobia network — to disown Jay, who had helped them with the incorporation of their advocacy group.
i am despised by the left. toxic to my friends, those who remain. and, seemingly either ridiculous or not of interest to all others, just not relevant in any particular, it would seem.
so, from this day forth, i will write no more forever. it’s just not worth the bother, not worth the indulgence.
at best, a lone voice in the wilderness. at the marginal end, a tree falls in the forest,
In an update, he writes that he has no connection to Geller and Spencer’s groups. “[I] support what they do,” he writes, “but, i apparently add nothing to it, & detract from it.” As for the fact “that they disavow any approval over my recent posts here, and they have expressed their vigorous disagreement with the same,” Jay writes, “it’s a free country…so be it.”
Responding to ThinkProgress, anti-Muslim activists Robert Spencer and Pam Geller disavowed any connections to John Joseph Jay, who recently wrote a blog post calling for the mass murder of politicians, journalists, and others. Geller and Spencer — leading members of the Islamophobia network — strongly denounced Jay’s calls for violence.
But, Jay’s name and signature appears on the articles of incorporation for American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an umbrella organization for which Geller is the executive director. Geller and Spencer claim Jay was never a board member and is not affiliated in any way. Geller writes that while Jay helped establish the organization, he is not a member of the board:
Last year I was in a rush to get the organization off the ground, and enlisted [Jay's] help and that of several others. At that time I hadn’t yet chosen the board members or the key players in the organization. Jay helped me out so I could get the incorporation papers filed, but was never a Board member or a part of the organizational structure in any way. He was gone almost as soon as he was there, and is not a member of AFDI.
Spencer emails a similar statement saying, Jay “is not on the Board now, never has been, and is not a member of the organization.”
However, this seems to conflict with a blog post Spencer wrote in August of last year after Jay stirred controversy with a different call to arms. In that post on his Jihad Watch blog, Spencer wrote about the “misrepresentations of some writings by John Jay, a member of the SIOA Board.” SIOA is Stop the Islamization Of America, an organization also headed by Geller and connected to AFDI.
ThinkProgress included this in our original post and asked Spencer to clarify. “He was never a board member. I don’t recall saying he was, but if I did, it was in error.” That was “was a mistake on my part,” Spencer wrote in another email after ThinkProgress provided a link to his post.
Pam Geller and Robert Spencer, whose names appear along with John Jay's on AFDI's incorporation documents
The anti-Muslim activist John Joseph Jay has issued a call for the mass murder of the leadership of both parties in Congress, the governors of seven states, and prominent academics, along with a demand to “burn all mosques. period.”
But while those organizations have stopped short of calls for violence, Jay crossed way over that line in a rambling post on his blog called “start the revolution,” which fantasizes about the painful medieval deaths of perceived enemies (screenshot here, cached version here):
1.)take out the talking head media, and burn the new york times, the los angeles times and the washington post to the ground. draw and quarter the media, and shoot their remains from canons in the four directions of the prevailing winds.
rinse, lather, repeat as needed.
2.)take out all the incumbent leadership of both parties in the congress, and every self avowed socialist and communist in congress. give them all proper muslim burials at sea, just like osama bin laden.
eliminate pensions for congressional service. rinse, lather, repeat as needed.
3.)eliminate the faculty senates at harvard, yale, columbia, nyu and university of california at santa barbara. boil bill ayers, bernie dorhn and angela davis in canola oil, and feed their remains to the fishes.
they are all physical cowards. they should fall into line pretty quickly. repeat every ten years as a prophylactic, on general principle.
4.)now that the “arab spring” has brought enlightenment to the middle east, send all of the muslim immigrants back to their native countries, in boxes or tourist, their choice.
burn all the mosques. period.
In a post script, he adds that he wants to “burn the editors and contributors” to the Daily Kos, throw “the living governors of new york, california, ohio, illinois, washington, florida and massachusetts into the fiery pits… from which there is no escape,” and writes, “i’ll think of something suitable for hilary clinton.”
In an update to the post, Jay responds to LGF’s Johnson “breathlessly announcing that i am advocating mass murder.” Jay makes no denial of advocating mass murder, and writes of Johnson’s charge, “even the blind hog finds an occasional acorn.”
According to the organization’s website, Geller is the executive director of American Freedom Defense Initiative, which seems to be an umbrella organization for SIOA and other anti-Muslim groups. In a post on the American Thinker from the August of last year, Geller refers to, “my associate, the attorney John Jay.”
When Jay got in trouble last summer for a separate blog post advocating the mass murder of Muslims and liberals, Robert Spencer wrote of “John Jay, a member of the SIOA Board.” Still, Spencer wrote that Jay is “not a founder or co-founder of SIOA. He has no role in the running of the organization.”
As ThinkProgress reported, Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik was influenced by American anti-Muslim activists. He cited Spencer and his blog 162 times, and Pam Geller and her blog 12 times. The two play are key players in a network of Islamophbia, explored our recent report, Fear Inc.
Geller and Spencer strongly condemned Jay’s call to violence and disavowed any connection to him, telling ThinkProgress that he was never on their board, though he did help with the founding of the organization. ThinkProgress originally reported he was a board member, as Spencer had written in a blog post last year. See this update for their full responses.
What is not yet as widely known about Perry is that he extends his taxpayer-funded compassion not only to illegal aliens but also to Muslim groups seeking to whitewash the violent history of that religion. Perry endorsed and facilitated the adoption in Texas public schools of a pro-Muslim curriculum unit developed by Muslim clerics in Pakistan.
Tancredo cites “Islam scholar” Robert Spencer — Spencer plays the role of a “misinformation expert” in the Islamophobia network examined in the Center for American Progress’ new report Fear, Inc. — who examined the program and concluded:
The curriculum is a complete whitewash and it’s got the endorsement of Perry. It’s not going to give you any idea why people are waging jihad against the West — it’s only going to make you think that the real problem is ‘Islamophobia.’
Indeed Perry did develop a relationship with Pakistani religious leader and philanthropist Aga Khan and helped facilitate a 2009 agreement between Texas and Aga Khan organizations in the “fields of education, health sciences, natural disaster preparedness and recovery, culture and the environment.” At the signing ceremony, Perry said:
[T]raditional Western education speaks little of the influence of Muslim scientists, scholars, throughout history, and for that matter the cultural treasures that stand today in testament to their wisdom.
Not all conservative pundits have bought into the anti-Muslim hysteria. The Center for Security Policy’sDavid Reaboi and conservative blogger Ace of Spades have written lengthy rebuttals and characterized the attacks on Perry and his Aga Khan connections as inaccurate. But Perry’s involvement in the development of curriculum to teach Texas high school students about Islam has served as a rallying cry for anti-Muslim advocates who see the curriculum as a threat to their portrayal of Islam as an inherently violent religion.
Tancredo concludes his anti-Muslim editorial by suggesting that Perry’s affiliation with Grover Norquist, a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) board member and president of Americans for Tax Reform, is yet another sign of “Perry’s Muslim blind spot.” Tancredo asks:
Why does [Perry] think he can claim to be the “tea party candidate” while endorsing a whitewash of Islamic extremism in Texas schools?
Tancredo’s reliance on discredited “scholars” like Robert Spencer and his assertions that radical Islam, via Grover Norquist and Aga Khan, have coopted Perry into spreading a “pro-Muslim curriculum unit” in Texas public schools offers an insight into the hateful and paranoid mindsets of those who embrace an anti-Muslim political agenda. (HT: Little Green Footballs)
Two Swedish men arrested for the attempted murder of two South Asian men reportedly gained inspiration for their attacks from Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Brevik.
The Local — a Swedish English language news website — reports that four days after Breivik’s attacks in Oslo and Utøya, a South Asian man sleeping on a bench in Västerås, a city in central Sweden, was attacked and seriously injured. In a second attack, two days later, a Sri Lankan man was stabbed while delivering newspapers.
Police reports obtained by the Dagens Nyheter daily and translated by the Local, say that one of the defendants sent the other attacker the following text message shortly after Breivik’s massacre on July 22:
A Norwegian ‘Nazi’ has killed like, around 84! From the left who, like, cheered on Islam. HAHAHA!! WHITE POWER!
The accused attacker reportedly screamed “Go home” and drew a swastika on the Sri Lankan man’s bag after stabbing him.
While the two suspects may have been motivated by a broader white supremacist ideology, Breivik appears to have served as an inspiration for them in their decision to attack South Asians. The text message indicates that they shared the same anger with left wing politics, and its supposed embrace of Muslim immigrants.
While European white supremacists have been implicated in hate crimes against numerous ethnic and religious minorities, the growing uptick in European Islamophobia is shedding new light on the overlapping ideologies of anti-Muslim advocates and white supremacists.
For more information on Breivik and his manifesto’s references to American Islamophobes, see the Guardian’s visualization of his citations and the Center for American Progress’ new report, Fear Inc.
Spencer Ackerman’s reports on Islamophobic training sessions at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have sent the Bureau into damage control mode. On Thursday, the FBI held a conference call with Muslim civil rights groups to apologize for the offensive training materials, which Ackerman has published over the past week.
The FBI has promised a “comprehensive review of all training and reference materials,” but Ackerman, in an article published today, reveals that the work of well-known Islamophobes permeates the FBI’s training culture and the internal reference resources available to FBI agents.
Ackerman reports that the mandatory online orientation material for the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs), included the following description of Sunni Muslims:
Sunni Muslims have been prolific in spawning numerous and varied fundamentalist extremist terrorist organizations. Sunni core doctrine and end state have remained the same and they continue to strive for Sunni Islamic domination of the world to prove a key Quranic assertion that no system of government or religion on earth can match the Quran’s purity and effectiveness for paving the road to God.
An examination of the FBI’s library in Quantico, which is not open to the public, revealed that the Bureau stocks a wide range of resources on Islam but includes a number of books by well known anti-Islam authors Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer.
Pipes and Spencer are featured prominently in the Center for American Progress’ new report, “Fear, Inc.,” which outlines the small but influential group of individuals and institutions who help promote anti-Muslim hatred in the U.S.
Spencer, who claims that “Islam is not a religion of peace” and has suggested that President Obama may be a Muslim, gained notoriety after it was revealed that Norwegian terrorist Anders Brevik’s manifesto included 162 references to Spencer and his blog Jihad Watch.
Pipes famously observed that “all immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” He also plays a key role in the Islamophobia echo chamber by repeating the falsehood that Obama is a former Muslim who “practiced Islam.”
The combination of Islamophobic presentation and the FBI’s apparent endorsement of noted anti-Muslim “experts” like Spencer and Pipes raises serious questions about the FBI’s counterterrorism training and the Bureau’s understanding of Muslim Americans.
Earlier this month, the Seattle Times reported on a disastrous presentation by an FBI agent at a community outreach workshop. The failed presentation offers insights into how federal law enforcement officers’ training has seriously hampered their ability to engage with Muslim communities.
Counterterrorism agents at the FBI’s training center in Quantico, Virginia are being taught that “devout” Muslims are more likely to be “violent” and that American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers, according to training materials acquired by Wired’s Spencer Ackerman. (In fact, mosques have been found to be a deterrent to the spread of terrorism.)
An FBI spokesperson told Ackerman that the slides were no longer in use but dates on the slides would suggest that they were used at least until March 21.
The documents offer a violent interpretation of Islam in which “Any war against non-believers is justified” and a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.” A particularly blunt slide shows a comparison of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, depicting how they have moderated their “militancy considerations” over time:
The information in the slides is clearly Islamophobic and completely ignores the fact that Islamic extremism, while a national security concern worthy of sober discussion, is a limited problem within the United States and hardly a frequent phenomenon in Muslim communities. A recent Duke terrorism study showed that since 9/11, the U.S. has experienced only 33 deaths from Muslim terrorism while 150,000 murders have occurred during the same time.
Several of the slide presentations are the work of an FBI intelligence analyst named William Gawthrop who, in 2006, before he joined the Bureau, gave an interview to WorldNetDaily, in which he said “Muhammad’s mindset is a source for terrorism.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the FBI has given a stage to noted Islamophobes. In July, Ackerman identified that an FBI terrorism presentation recommended anti-Muslim blogger Robert Spencer’s book, “The Truth About Mohammed: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion.”
Spencer, who is profiled in the Center for American Progress’ new Islamophobia report, “Fear, Inc.,” operates the blog Jihad Watch and co-founded the Stop Islamization of America group with Pamela Geller. Spencer is one of the core “misinformation experts” discussed in “Fear, Inc.” and has promoted the conspiracy theory that President Obama may be a Muslim. Notably, Norwegian terrorist Anders Brevik cited Spencer’s work 162 times in his manifesto.
While the FBI is developing a track-record for giving pseudo-experts like Robert Spencer and William Gawthrop an opportunity to spread their Islamophobic views which demonize all Muslims, the truth is that Muslim communities have served as some of the most important allies for the FBI in their efforts to combat Muslim terrorists.
The Seattle Times reports on a controversial community outreach workshop in Seattle intended to create better relationships between law enforcement and Seattle’s Muslim, Arab, East African and Sikh communities. The event, held earlier this month, took a turn for the worse when an FBI agent showed a PowerPoint slide about state-sponsored terrorism which included a photo of a man that the audience believed was a Shia Islamic leader. When asked if the photo was of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, a leader of the Iranian revolution, the agents said the photo was too small and they didn’t know the identity of the man. “That offended members of the audience even more, and one of them compared it to calling the pope a terrorist or serving pork to Muslims,” reports the Seattle Times. A Seattle Police Department detective at the meeting said that, “the community is tired of seeing their images represented” in presentations about terrorism.
Muslim Advocates — a professional association of approximately 500 Muslim lawyers, law students and other legal professionals — announced they have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General requesting an immediate investigation into the FBI’s counterterrorism training. The letter can be viewed here.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) tells Wired’s Spencer Ackerman that “there is no room in America for the lies, propagated by al-Qaida, that the U.S. is at war with Islam, or the lie propagated by others that all Muslims support terrorism.”
CNN’s Brian Todd talked to Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes who told CNN that the publication of the slides could play into the hands of al-Qaeda for propaganda purposes and could diminish the FBI’s ability to get the America Muslim community to help in investigations.