Multiple media outlets documented the Islamophobic and conspiratorial views of Frank Gaffney, the president and founder of the right-wing Center for Security Policy (CSP), after Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump cited a CSP poll to justify his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Citing Frank Gaffney's Center For Security Policy, Trump Calls For A “Shutdown Of Muslims Entering The United States”
Trump Campaign Press Release Cites Poll From Center For Security Policy In His Call For “Total And Complete Shutdown Of Muslims Entering The United States.” On December 7, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's campaign issued a press release demanding an end to Muslims entering America, citing a poll from Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy:
Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” [The Daily Caller, 12/7/15]
Media Explain Gaffney Is An “Anti-Muslim Extremist” And A “Notorious Islamophobe”
CNN Host Alisyn Camerota: Frank Gaffney Is “A Conspiracy Theorist” And "A Known Islamophobe." On the December 8 edition of CNN's New Day, co-host Alisyn Camerota criticized Donald Trump for citing a “wildly flawed” poll by Frank Gaffney, who she noted “has been rejected from conservative circles because he was a conspiracy theorist. He's a known Islamophobe”:
ALISYN CAMEROTA: What Donald Trump does so effectively, Michael, is he takes a germ of an idea or a fact and turns it and makes it his own. Such as with this -- he's basing all of this on this poll. And the poll that he's talking about is wildly flawed. As Chris told him, we would never use this poll in journalism. It's an online poll. It's not a representative sample --
CHRIS CUOMO: It's who did the poll also.
CAMEROTA: And it's who did the poll, a guy named Frank Gaffney, who has been rejected from conservative circles because he was a conspiracy theorist. He's a known Islamophobe. [CNN, New Day, 12/8/15]
CNN's Jeff Zeleny: SPLC Lists Frank Gaffney As “One Of The Top Hate Members Of The Islam Faith.” On the December 7 edition of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny noted that Gaffney has been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as “one of the top hate members of the Islam faith.” Zeleny reported that the SPLC said Gaffney's research is “not credible at all, actually. It's hate speech”:
DON LEMON (HOST): He is citing stats in this, Jeff, so what do you know about this Center for Security Policy, the group that he's citing about these poll numbers with Muslims?
JEFF ZELENY: Well, first, the group. The group of itself, you know, has such an innocuous-sounding name, the Center for Security Policy. It's actually run by a former official from the Reagan Defense Department, Frank Gaffney. And he is on the list of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in America. He is one of the top hate members of the Islam faith. They say that they are going to add his group on to their list in 2016 of top hate groups. So they denounce all of this. They denounce his research. They say that he simply has been pushing this agenda here. And Donald Trump said that he knows him, he's a friend of his. But using these numbers specifically in this speech, they sound good, but at least the Southern Poverty Law Center, which all we trust is a credible organization, says that it's not credible at all, actually. It's hate speech. [CNN, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, 12/7/15]
Washington Post: Frank Gaffney “Is Identified As An Anti-Muslim Extremist By The Southern Poverty Law Center.” The Washington Post's Philip Bump explained the flawed methodology of Gaffney's “very shoddy poll” and pointed out that the Center for Security Policy, which paid for the results, “likely sought poll numbers showing that a significant number of Muslims were supportive of violence against the United States.” Bump also noted that Gaffney has been “identified as an anti-Muslim extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center”:
The Center for Security Policy is an organization run by Frank Gaffney, who is identified as an anti-Muslim extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The survey Trump cites was conducted earlier this year on behalf of the organization.
The organization conducting the survey matters. There is no question that the results of the survey -- which would certainly bear retesting if accurate -- were influenced by the organization that paid for it. The Center for Security Policy likely sought poll numbers showing that a significant number of Muslims were supportive of violence against the United States, and the center got what it paid for. [The Washington Post, 12/7/15]
BuzzFeed: Frank Gaffney Has Testified “That Islam Was Not A Religion” In Order To Prevent The Construction Of Mosques. BuzzFeed News reported that Frank Gaffney “has testified in court on behalf of those seeking to prevent the construction of mosques by arguing that Islam was not a religion” and once presented a report to Congress “implying that the Obama administration was 'promoting the same totalitarian ideology and seditious agenda as al Qaeda'”:
The Center for Security Policy is a conservative think-tank that has long alleged that American Muslims are a threat to U.S. security. Frank Gaffney, its founder and a former Reagan era-assistant secretary of defense, has testified in court on behalf of those seeking to prevent the construction of mosques by arguing that Islam was not a religion. He's also written that President Barack Obama “may still be” a Muslim, and was banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference for alleging that its founder, activist Grover Norquist, was an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Gaffney as “gripped by paranoid fantasies about Muslims destroying the West from within.”
Nevertheless, Gaffney has maintained some influence on Capitol Hill, particularly among some House Republicans who share his views on Islam. In 2010, Gaffney presented a report to several members of Congress arguing that “radical Muslims are using Islamic law to subvert the United States” and implying that the Obama administration was “promoting the same totalitarian ideology and seditious agenda as al Qaeda[.]” [BuzzFeed News, 12/7/15]
The Daily Beast: According To The SPLC Gaffney Is “Gripped By Paranoid Fantasies About Muslims Destroying The West From Within” The Daily Beast's Gideon Resnick described the CSP poll as a “bunk poll” and wrote that according to the SPLC, Gaffney is "'gripped by paranoid fantasies about Muslims destroying the West from within,' including the belief they want to institute Sharia law":
To back up his new outlandish claims, Trump cited vague or outright false polling data he claims demonstrates “there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.” Among the bunk polls he cites is one from a group called the Center for Security Policy, which is led by Frank Gaffney Jr., who has been referred to as a “notorious Islamaphobe” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Gaffney Jr. is “gripped by paranoid fantasies about Muslims destroying the West from within,” including the belief they want to institute Sharia law, SPLC reports.
Gaffney Jr. is perhaps best known for his public crusade against the supposedly creeping influence of sharia Muslim law in American politics. He and his cohorts peddle the conspiracy theory that leading conservative anti-tax warrior Grover Norquist and Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin are agents of the Muslim Brotherhood; and that President Obama himself is being advised by radical Islamists.
Trump echoes Gaffney almost word for word.
“Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won't convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women,” his campaign said in Monday's statement. [The Daily Beast, 12/7/15]
MSNBC: Gaffney Is Known “For His Leading Role In The Anti-Sharia Movement, Which Warns Of A Muslim Plot To Impose Radical Fundamentalist Law.” MSNBC reported that Gaffney's Center for Security Policy has “been labeled extremist” by the SPLC and that Gaffney is “known for his leading role in the anti-Sharia movement, which warns of a Muslim plot to impose radical fundamentalist law along the lines of Saudi Arabia.” MSNBC further reported that “Gaffney was banned in 2011 from the Conservative Political Action Conference” for “accusing its organizers of secretly plotting with the Muslim Brotherhood”:
In this case, Trump made the connection clear as day. His proposal to ban Muslim entry into the U.S. cited research from the Center for Security Policy, an organization led by conservative gadfly Frank Gaffney that's been labeled extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center and has repeatedly clashed with other conservatives over its views.
Gaffney is a longtime conservative activist, more recently known for his leading role in the anti-Sharia movement, which warns of a Muslim plot to impose radical fundamentalist law along the lines of Saudi Arabia. The movement is notorious for seeing Islamic conspirators behind every tree, and Gaffney was banned in 2011 from the Conservative Political Action Conference, the right's biggest activist showcase, after accusing its organizers of secretly plotting with the Muslim Brotherhood.
While Gaffney has been too hot for many Republicans to touch, Dr. Ben Carson and Trump both attended a summit with him this year along with Sen. Ted Cruz, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. [MSNBC.com, 12/8/15]
New York Times: Gaffney "Has Claimed That President Obama Is Aligned With The Muslim Brotherhood," Which Has “Infiltrated” Various U.S. Political Institutions. The New York Times reported that Gaffney “has claimed that President Obama is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood” and that Gaffney believes that “agents of the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated the U.S. government, the Republican Party and conservative political organizations.” [The New York Times, 12/7/15]
BBC News: Gaffney Has “Called For Muslims To Be Investigated By A 'New And Improved' House Un-American Activities Committee.” In a December 8 article, BBC News reported that the Center for Security Policy is “not very highly respected” and that Gaffney has been called “one of America's most notorious Islamophobes” by the SPLC." BBC News also noted that Gaffney has called for a "'new and improved' House Un-American Activities Committee" to investigate Muslims:
Mr Gaffney Jr served in the Reagan administration during the 1980s but left in 1988 to form the CSP, after his nomination as assistant secretary of defence was rejected by the Senate.
“Once a respectable Washington insider,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which monitors US hate groups and extremists, Mr Gaffney Jr became “one of America's most notorious Islamophobes”, the SPLC said.
Mr Gaffney Jr has repeatedly accused parts of America's Muslim population of what he calls “civilisational jihad”. He has also called for Muslims to be investigated by a “new and improved” House Un-American Activities Committee - a highly controversial Cold War-era body which questioned and blacklisted US citizens accused of being communists. [BBC News, 12/8/15]