Pamela Geller reports on her Atlas Shrugs blog that right-wing lawyer and Obama Justice Department critic J. Christian Adams will be participating in a CPAC 2012 panel presented by her Stop Islamization of America organization. Geller writes of the panel, titled "Islamic Law in America, How the Obama Justice Department Is Selling Us Out":
The Obama Justice Department is not just tolerating, but actively aiding the assertion of Islamic law in the U.S., and the primacy of Sharia over U.S. law. This explosive conference will give the details of that effort and show Americans what we must do now to preserve our Constitutional freedoms.
In 2010, Adams set off a right-wing media firestorm after he left the DOJ, offering since-discredited claims that the Justice Department's actions in the New Black Panther Party case demonstrated racially charged corruption. He has since used his position as a blogger for the right-wing site Pajamas Media, often issuing false attacks on the Obama DOJ for its supposed politicization and "racial agenda," and he recently authored a book on the subject filled with falsehoods, misrepresentations, and baseless allegations.
Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), created in 2009, promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam. The group seeks to rouse public fears by consistently vilifying the Islamic faith and asserting the existence of an Islamic conspiracy to destroy "American" values. The organization warns of the encroachment of shari'a, or Islamic law, and encourages Muslims to leave what it describes as the "falsity of Islam."
Anti-Muslim activists have attacked the new TLC reality show All-American Muslim as "propaganda," "a video version of jihad," and "A Little Taqiyya on the Prairie." Television critics, meanwhile, have praised the show for portraying the diversity of the American Muslim community.
In a blog post for National Review Online, Robert Spencer defended himself against charges by the Anti-Defamation League that his organization engages in anti-Muslim activism by saying that it is reasonable to lump the ADL in with other supposed "jihadist apologists."
Spencer's colleague David Horowitz similarly attacked the ADL, saying that ADL president Abe Foxman is "a notorious panderer to left-wing causes" and that the "American Left has joined in what I have elsewhere referred to as an 'unholy alliance,' making itself a valuable ally of the Muslim Brotherhood."
This attack on the ADL can be traced back to a National Review article Spencer and Horowitz wrote claiming that they espouse "a rational fear of Islamism" based on "the misogyny, bigotry, and terrorism promoted by many (but not all) Islamic institutions and religious texts." In doing so, they labeled the Southern Poverty Law Center as "jihadist apologists" and also attacked the Center for American Progress and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Center for American Progress policy analyst Matt Duss responded in a letter to the editor published by National Review by pointing out that, while Spencer and Horowitz attacked other groups in their article, they had not attacked the ADL even though it released a backgrounder earlier this year "declaring that Spencer's group, Stop Islamization of America, 'promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam.' " Duss asked, "Should the Anti-Defamation League also be lumped with the 'jihadist apologists'?"
That led Spencer and Horowitz to do what they had avoided doing in their article: lump ADL in with other groups who are either part of the conspiracy to Islamize America or are unwitting dupes of the conspiracy.
If Pam Geller organizes a protest against the Park51 Islamic community center, but there's no sustained media hype to accompany it, does it make a sound?
Not really. Although Fox News continues to promote Geller, and despite the best efforts of Dick Morris to remind Fox News viewers of Park51 at every opportunity, the issue's draw power has declined remarkably since last August. Geller's first protest against the "Ground Zero Mosque" benefited from a right-wing hype campaign with origins in coverage by the News Corp.-owned New York Post. It soon spread to Fox News and other media, becoming one of the biggest manufactured stories of the summer.
This year the news cycle was less kind to Geller's crusade, which hosted its second rally yesterday timed to the tenth anniversary of 9/11. With the nation focused on remembering and mourning the dead, Geller's protest at its peak drew no more than two hundred people, who barely filled a narrow gated pen on West Broadway, a few blocks from Ground Zero. "Last year's was so much bigger," said a protestor holding a sign reading, Mohammed was a Terrorist. "The media didn't cover this or our issues this year." Among those at the protest who also experienced considerably less media attention in 2011 was Terry Jones, the Florida preacher who made headlines last year for burning a Koran.
The anti-Muslim segment of the conservative media has identified yet another Republican as a traitor to America because he is supposedly too close to Muslims. The current target is Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), labeled as the "5th column candidate" by Pamela Geller because of his ties to Muslim leader Aga Khan IV and others.
From the August 3 edition of the Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club:
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National Review's Andrew McCarthy has made a habit of citing anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer as a credible authority -- plugging Spencer's book The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion, for instance. In a recent blog post, McCarthy said that Spencer was the sort of "expert" who should testify at Rep. Peter King's hearings on the "radicalization of the Muslim-American community." McCarthy wrote: "I fear the hearings may turn into a non-event, in large part because they are not hearing from all the right witnesses -- experts like Steve Emerson and Robert Spencer. These experts have been excluded, evidently due to fear of the predictable reaction of the Muslim Brotherhood's American grievance network."
Today, FrontPage Magazine published an interview in which Spencer claims that "the most likely scenario" is that former Rep. Anthony Weiner "did convert to Islam."
From the February 14 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Recently, The Laura Ingraham Show hosted Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to make his oft-repeated claim that "80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical Imams." This claim has been repeated in various iterations by numerous right-wing media figures and anti-Islam activists for more than a decade, and the statistic appears to be entirely based on a single, unsubstantiated claim made by a Californian Muslim cleric in 1999. The cleric later admitted that his criteria of an "extremist mosque" was one that was "focus[ed] on the Palestinian struggle."
From the October 3 edition of ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour:
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Cheered on by Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media, conservative activists spent the past year engaged in an anti-Muslim campaign that included efforts to block the planned Islamic center in lower Manhattan and demonize the imam spearheading the project. The bigotry has culminated in a Florida pastor's now-"suspended" plans to burn Qurans on September 11 -- plans that the pastor has explicitly linked to the controversy over the Islamic center.
Earlier this week, Gen. David Petraeus released a statement condemning Florida* pastor Terry Jones' horrific plan to burn copies of the Koran outside his church on September 11 (which Jones has dubbed "International Burn A Koran Day"). Petraeus said:
It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan. It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community
He also commented of the proposed burning, "Even the rumor that it might take place has sparked demonstrations such as the one that took place in Kabul yesterday."
We've previously pointed out that a nationwide climate of Islamophobia has followed the right-wing media's ugly, inflammatory, anti-Islam response to the planned Park51 Islamic cultural center. In addition to Jones' proposal, this anti-Muslim wave has included protests across the country in opposition to local mosques and Islamic community centers, vandalism of existing mosques, and rallies against Park51 that have echoed the right-wing media's disturbing rhetoric.
Now Gen. Petraeus is making the completely obvious point that viciously anti-Islam protests undermine our anti-terrorism efforts and could lead to a violent backlash against our troops. How have the stokers of those fires responded? By attacking Petraeus, of course.
Yes, although all three conclude that burning the Koran is a bad idea, Pam Geller, Robert Spencer, and Frank Gaffney -- among the leaders of the anti-Park51 movement -- have declared that Petraeus' warning is "deeply troubling" and a "recipe for surrender." Instead, Spencer suggests that Petraeus should have issued a statement defending the church's right to burn the Koran.
Oh, and part of the reason that Geller and Spencer oppose the burning of the Korans is that they think the would-be burners are better off reading the books so they can learn about the evils of Shariah.
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.
A couple of days ago, Media Matters for America senior fellow Karl Frisch described his notes from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as "Postcards from the edge." If CPAC is the edge, then here are my notes from the edge of the edge, better known as "Jihad: The Political Third Rail;" an event created by Atlas Shrugs' Pam Geller and Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer.
Geller's and Spencer's event was so controversial in fact, that CPAC organizers made sure to tell Fox News that the event was "unofficial," and "sponsored by outside groups." However, it was official enough to be listed on CPAC's agenda.
In announcing the event, Geller stated that she found it "most distressing that the largest gathering of conservatives in America does nothing to address the single greatest threat to our national security, our Constitution, our very way of life." Indeed she and Spencer both expressed dismay that CPAC did not more fully embrace their point of view, which Spencer summed up by saying that "[i]t's absurd" to think that "Islam is a religion of peace that's been hijacked by a small minority of extremists:"
So what was the goal of this "unofficial," yet coordinated event at CPAC? Geller previously noted that the event was "designed to educate Americans about the Muslim Brotherhood's infiltration at the highest levels of the U.S. government, as well as its war on free speech." A pretty heavy goal to be sure, but it wasn't all serious. Geller kicked it off by displaying her trademark humor:
After that brief introduction it was time to get down to business, with a non-stop parade of anti-Islam rhetoric.
The first speaker was former Muslim Wafa Sultan, who declared that "Islam is a not merely a religion, but an agressive and dangerous political ideology which aspires to world domination":
Then came Austrian Elisabeth Wolff, who told the audience that she has been indicted in Austria for anti-Muslim hate speech. In decribing the incident, Wolff explained that whatever words she used, she was simply trying to convey the message that "Islam is supremacist, it is against women's rights, it's against human rights, it's against everything you and I believe in" (transcript available here):
Next up was a speaker who has said things that even Geller apparently thinks are too extreme. Despite having put what she says is the "full video" of the event on her site, Geller actually cut out several comments made by Anders Gravers, the Danish Leader for the Stop the Islamisation of Europe. For instance, Geller's video edits out Graver's assertion that "[r]ape is also a part of" Muslims' efforts to convert non-Muslims in Europe, and that "[d]emocracy is being deliberately removed" from the European Union by "incorporating Muslim countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the European Union." Gravers went on to explain (in a portion of the speech that Geller did include) that the purpose was to gain "some European control of oil resources" at the cost of the "introduction of Sharia law and removal of democracy" in Europe. No, really. Check out this exclusively un-edited portion of his remarks (transcript available here):
With a panel like that, CPAC probably should have worked harder to separate itself from Geller and Spencer's event.
From Pam Geller's February 15 CPAC* event, "Jihad: The Political Third Rail":
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