Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), is reportedly a member of GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) national security advisory team. The Southern Poverty Law Center has termed CSP an anti-Muslim hate group, and Gaffney has a history of pushing bigoted anti-Muslim smears and conspiracy theories.
Gaffney Is Advising Cruz On National Security
BloombergView: Frank Gaffney, An Anti-Islam “Lightning Rod,” Is On Cruz's List Of National Security Advisers. On March 17, BloombergView's Eli Lake reported that Cruz was “set to announce his campaign's national security advisory team,” which includes Gaffney. From the report:
On Thursday, Senator Ted Cruz is set to announce his campaign's national security advisory team, and it includes many foreign-policy insurgents and a few more establishment types. The list includes conservatives who disagree on one of the most pressing issues facing the next president: defining and confronting radical Islam.
The first name on the advisory list that stands out is Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration Pentagon official who has emerged as a lightning rod in the Obama era, accused by the Southern Poverty Law Center of being one of the nation's leading Islamophobes.
When Trump proposed a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration, he quoted from a 2015 survey of American Muslims commissioned by the think tank Gaffney founded, the Center for Security Policy. It concluded that a quarter of U.S. Muslims supported violent jihad against the U.S. This led to speculation in the Washington press that Gaffney was advising Trump.
But Gaffney is a Cruz man. In an interview, he said that he met Cruz when he was running for Senate in 2012, and that he has briefed him on the FBI's investigation into a Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity known as the Holy Land Foundation and on how Sharia law is a threat to America. “I hope that some of that went into his decision to introduce legislation to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization,” Gaffney said. [BloombergView, 3/17/16]
Gaffney Leads A Hate Group And Has A History Of Pushing Anti-Muslim Conspiracies
SPLC Includes Gaffney's Center for Security Policy On Its List Of Hate Groups Active In 2015. On February 17, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published its list of active hate groups in the United States in 2015 and announced that the “Center forSecurity Policy is one of two anti-Muslim groups listed as hate groups for the first time in this year's report. The other is ACT! for America.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, 2/17/16]
Center For American Progress: Center For Security Policy Is “A Central Hub Of The Anti-Muslim Network And An Active Promoter Of ... Anti-Muslim Rhetoric.” The Center for American Progress (CAP) wrote in a 2011 report that Gaffney is a “misinformation expert” who “generate[s] the false facts and materials used by political leaders, grassroots groups, and the media” to spread anti-Muslim sentiment. CAP called the Center for Security Policy part of the “Islamophobia infrastructure” and “a central hub of the anti-Muslim network and an active promoter of anti-Sharia messaging and anti-Muslim rhetoric.” The report further noted that “the baseless accusations peddled by Gaffney and his think tank echo the tactics of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s” :
Gaffney and CSP use this money to promote an increasingly paranoid misrepresentation of the threats posed by Islam in America. The baseless accusations peddled by Gaffney and his think tank echo the tactics of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, who claimed that communists had thoroughly infiltrated the federal government of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. But Gaffney's tactics take a page from the radical religious right as well, conflating all of the followers of a non-Christian religion as enemies of the state and society and then providing talking points that marry the two nonexistent threats. Anders Breivik, the confessed Norway terrorist, cited Gaffney and CSP seven times in his manifesto.
Several examples of how Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy develop and deploy their incorrect academic research using the foundation's money to spread an increasingly shrill message of hate and fear prove these points.
[H]e is one of the lead engineers of the “anti-Sharia” movement sweeping the nation. His think tank released the 2010 report “Shariah: The Threat to America,” which reframed Sharia, or Islamic religious law followed by any practicing Muslim, as a “totalitarian ideology” and “legal-political-military doctrine.”
The American Civil Liberties Union summed up this nonexistent threat best in its concise, six-page report, “Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical 'Sharia Threat' to Our Judicial System,” in which it states that these claims of a Sharia infiltration are “wrong” and “based both on misinformation and a misunderstanding of how our judicial system works.” The report adds, “There is no evidence that Islamic law is encroaching on our courts. On the contrary, the court cases cited by anti-Muslim groups as purportedly illustrative of this problem actually show the opposite: Courts treat lawsuits that are brought by Muslims or that address the Islamic faith in the same way that they deal with similar claims brought by people of other faiths or that involve no religion at all.” The ACLU report points to the insidious purpose behind the crusade to ban Sharia: “Prohibiting [U.S.] courts from considering Islamic law serves only one purpose: to bar Muslims from having the same rights and access to the courts as any other religious individuals.”
Gaffney's Sharia report also erroneously suggests that every practicing Muslim engages in “taqiyya,” which CSP incorrectly defines as religiously mandated lying. This assertion suggests all practicing Muslims as unreliable and potential threats to America. In fact, taqiyya is an Arabic word that means concealing one's faith out of fear of death and is practiced by only a minority of Muslims. This practice equips Muslims past and present with a faithful “precautionary denial of religious belief in the face of potential persecution.” [Center for American Progress, Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America, [August 2011]
Gaffney Has Accused Prominent Republicans Of Being Muslim Brotherhood Operatives. Gaffney has accused prominent conservatives Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan of secretly acting on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. From SPLC's profile of the Center for Security Policy:
A year after CSP published the Team B II report, Gaffney's anti-Muslim conspiracy theories began to draw the ire of not only the left, but also the right. In January 2011, Gaffney penned a piece for the conspiracy-orientated website World Net Daily where he claimed that two board members of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) were secretly aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. Gaffney's evidence for such an accusation was that board member and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist's wife is Palestinian-American, while board member Suhail Khan is Muslim. Both were political appointees in the George W. Bush administration with long experience in conservative Republican Party affairs. [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 3/17/16]
SPLC: “CSP's Main Focus Has Been On Demonizing Islam And Muslims Under The Guise Of National Security.” From SPLC's profile of the Center for Security Policy:
For the past decade, CSP's main focus has been on demonizing Islam and Muslims under the guise of national security. Statements from Frank Gaffney and other CSP staffers, along with claims made in CSP publications, have become increasingly conspiratorial in nature, making such claims as Muslims are attempting to overthrow the US government from within, and that Shariah law is trumping the constitution in American courts.
In the late 2000's the anti-Muslim movement in America became more organized, and CSP quickly established itself as one of the movement's premier think tanks. Many of the other organizations making up this movement, such as the grassroots group ACT! for America, were young, but CSP enjoyed extensive contacts in Washington after almost 20 years working in the capital.Gaffney and CSP thus became a key player in the anti-Muslim movement almost overnight. [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 3/17/16]