Today, the front page of Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller blared the headline "Justice Sharia: Critics allege Kagan is sympathetic to Islamic law" over a large picture of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
The conservative media has been circulating this claim for months now -- though to be honest, we're more accustomed to it being paired with an image of Kagan in a turban, rather than one of her standing behind a podium.
Nonetheless, it's important to again set the record straight on this tired, Islamophobic attack, especially because The Caller has chosen to revive it just as the right is whipping up an anti-Muslim frenzy regarding the community center and mosque set to be built near Ground Zero.
The Caller reports that, according to some conservative critics (more about this merry band later), one of Kagan's "primary disqualifications" is the supposed "approval of Sharia" she demonstrated as the dean of Harvard Law School. The familiar laundry list of Kagan's alleged offenses includes "condoning the acceptance of $20 million from Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal -- who blamed the attacks of 9/11 on American foreign policy -- to fund programs on Islam," "spearhead[ing] the 'Islamic Finance Project,' a program aimed at mainstreaming Sharia-compliant finance in America," and "award[ing] the Harvard Medal of Freedom to the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry, who critics say is a promoter of Sharia."
None of these attacks is remotely accurate.
In a Washington Times column accompanied by an image of Elena Kagan in a turban, Frank Gaffney attacked Kagan for allowing Harvard Law School to sponsor an Islamic Finance Project during her deanship. However, sponsorship of Islamic finance programs is not extreme; the Bush administration sponsored such programs, as have major banks.
From the July 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Today, Andrew Breitbart launched Big Peace, the national security analog to his other smear and conspiracy sites. He announced its kick-off with the following ludicrous statement:
The site is pro-freedom, pro-liberty, and pro-American but will not be an outlet for false information or propaganda. The unique mix of Schweizer, Gaffney, and Blackfive and our collective reputations will provide a check and balance.
That's right. Breitbart, delusional nut that he is, thinks that his and Frank Gaffney's "reputations" will help "provide a check and balance" that will keep the site from publishing "false information or propaganda."
You may remember Gaffney from his crackpot claim earlier this year -- published on Breitbart's Big Government, no less! -- that the Missile Defense Agency's "new" logo "appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo," which Gaffney identified as a "nefarious" "symbolic action" that he suggested represented an "act of submission to Shariah." Of course, Gaffney blamed Obama for his fanciful take on the logo, claiming it demonstrates how the administration "is all about accommodating that 'Islamic Republic' [Iran] and its ever-more aggressive stance."
I'm sure you can see where this is going. A few days later, Gaffney embarrassingly returned to Big Government to admit that "it isn't true that the MDA's logo is exactly new or, apparently, that it reflects an Obama-directed redesign." It turns out that "[t]he contract for a complete rebranding for MDA was let in 2007, during the Bush administration, although much of the work appears to have been done in 2008 in follow-on contracts during the presidential campaign in which the Obama logo was much in evidence." In offering this explanation, Gaffney apologized for any "confusion" caused by his insane conspiracy-mongering, though not for engaging in it.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Earlier we noted that the Washington Times fabricated a photo of Elena Kagan alongside a column by Frank Gaffney, who attempted to tie her to Shariah. In addition, in Gaffney's column, The Washington Times published a fabricated name of a program at Harvard University.
Gaffney quoted Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) saying:" Around the same time that Dean Kagan was campaigning to exclude military recruiters - citing what she saw as the evils of 'don't ask, don't tell' - Harvard University accepted $20 million from a member of the Saudi royal family to establish a Center for Islamic Studies and Shariah Law."
In actuality, the Saudi Prince (and major News Corp. shareholder) Alwaleed Bin Talal's $20 million gift to Harvard University established the Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University. According to the university, the program "bring[s] together faculty, students, and researchers from across the University and coordinat[es] their activities through one Program housed within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences." It appears that no program named the "Center for Islamic Studies and Shariah Law" exists at Harvard.
At no point in his column did Gaffney correct Sessions or refer to the program by its correct name.
From the April 7 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Media conservatives have criticized an Obama administration nuclear policy review provision that would limit the role that nuclear weapons play as a deterrent, claiming that Obama was "undermining our national defense" with a "dangerous" policy. These criticisms have been rejected by nuclear experts, scientists, and military brass, who support a limited and narrow role for nuclear weapons.
From a February 27 post by Frank Gaffney on BigGovernment.com:
In a post here Wednesday, under the headline "Can This Possibly Be True?," I called attention to a "new" logo being used by the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) on the grounds that it bore a disconcerting resemblance to an amalgamation of the Obama campaign's logo and the symbols of Islam, the crescent and a single star. It turns out the answer is "no," it isn't true that the MDA's logo is exactly new or, apparently, that it reflects an Obama-directed redesign.
We have since learned that the logo has been used at the MDA website since at least October 2009. Matters are made more confusing by the fact that the agency continues to use its older shield-like logo for online and other purposes. The contract for a complete rebranding for MDA was let in 2007, during the Bush administration, although much of the work appears to have been done in 2008 in follow-on contracts during the presidential campaign in which the Obama logo was much in evidence.
It has also been observed that - rather than embracing the symbolic crescent and star, they could be interpreted as the targets of the intercepting swoosh in the MDA's latest logo. If so, the 2009 design would presumably be offensive to Islamists, rather than evidence of submission to them.
For these reasons, I am content to have the question posed in the last post be answered in the negative, and I regret any confusion caused by my suggesting otherwise.
In a Washington Times column, Frank Gaffney falsely asserted that Americans "overwhelmingly ... oppose conferring on homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender individuals and hermaphrodites a nonexistent 'right' to serve openly in the military." In fact, numerous polls show "overwhelmingly" high support for allowing gays to serve openly in the military.
Responding to reports that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) and four others accused of being involved in the 9-11 attacks are going to be tried in New York City, Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney stated during Fox & Friends that Mohammed will "be a rock star in the prison system" who will "use our prisons as incubators for people who they're recruiting to jihad" and speculated that KSM would be "sprung" after being "lawyered up" and given "constitutional rights." In fact, both the Clinton and Bush administrations tried and imprisoned terror suspects in our federal system without incident.
Frank Gaffney cropped comments Sonia Sotomayor made in a recent speech to support his false claim that Sotomayor displayed a "lack of candor before the Judiciary Committee" on the issue of the use of foreign law in American courts.
From the July 17 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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During his White House years, William Jefferson Clinton -- someone Judge Sonia Sotomayor might call a "white male" -- was dubbed "America's first black president" by a black admirer. Applying the standard of identity politics and pandering to a special interest that earned Mr. Clinton that distinction, Barack Hussein Obama would have to be considered America's first Muslim president.
This is not to say, necessarily, that Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim any more than Mr. Clinton actually is black. After his five months in office, and most especially after his just-concluded visit to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, however, a stunning conclusion seems increasingly plausible: The man now happy to have his Islamic-rooted middle name featured prominently has engaged in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich.
What little we know about Mr. Obama's youth certainly suggests that he not only had a Kenyan father who was Muslim, but spent his early, formative years as one in Indonesia. As the president likes to say, "much has been made" -- in this case by him and his campaign handlers -- of the fact that he became a Christian as an adult in Chicago, under the now-notorious Pastor Jeremiah A. Wright.
With Mr. Obama's unbelievably ballyhooed address in Cairo Thursday to what he calls "the Muslim world" (hereafter known as "the Speech"), there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself. Consider the following indicators:
- • Mr. Obama referred four times in his speech to "the Holy Koran." Non-Muslims -- even pandering ones -- generally don't use that Islamic formulation.
- • Mr. Obama established his firsthand knowledge of Islam (albeit without mentioning his reported upbringing in the faith) with the statement, "I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed." Again, "revealed" is a depiction Muslims use to reflect their conviction that the Koran is the word of God, as dictated to Muhammad.
- • Then the president made a statement no believing Christian -- certainly not one versed, as he professes to be, in the ways of Islam -- would ever make. In the context of what he euphemistically called the "situation between Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs," Mr. Obama said he looked forward to the day ". . . when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) joined in prayer."
Now, the term "peace be upon them" is invoked by Muslims as a way of blessing deceased holy men. According to Islam, that is what all three were - dead prophets. Of course, for Christians, Jesus is the living and immortal Son of God.
In the final analysis, it may be beside the point whether Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim. In the Speech and elsewhere, he has aligned himself with adherents to what authoritative Islam calls Shariah -- notably, the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood -- to a degree that makes Mr. Clinton's fabled affinity for blacks pale by comparison.
Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.
The Washington Times' Frank Gaffney wrote of 17 Uighur detainees currently held at Guantánamo Bay: "There is another group of dangerous aliens Obama seems determined to unleash on the American people." However, the Bush administration reclassified those detainees as "no longer enemy combatants."