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.”
Ingraham Provides King Platform To Push Dubious Claim That “80 Percent” Of U.S. Mosques “Are Controlled By Radical Imams”
King On Ingraham: Kabbani “Thought Over 80 Percent Of The Mosques In This Country Are Controlled By Radical Imams”; Calls Claim “Accurate.” On the January 24 broadcast of The Laura Ingraham Show, King claimed:
RAYMOND ARROYO (guest-host): Congressman, how widespread do you think this radical jihad sentiment is in US mosques? How many mosques do you think are infected?
KING: The only real testimony we have on it is from Sheikh Kabbani who was a Muslim leader during the Clinton Administration, he testified back in 1999 and 2000 before the State Department that he thought over 80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical Imams. Certainly from what I've seen and dealings I've had, that number seems accurate. [The Laura Ingraham Show, 1/24/11 via Think Progress]
King's Claim Is The Latest Example Of A 10-Year-Old, Unsubstantiated Smear. King's claim that “80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical Imams” is the latest example of a smear that began in 1999. The claim, which is based on a single, unsubstantiated statement by California cleric Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, has been repeated by conservatives and anti-Islam activists for more than 10 years, despite a complete lack of evidence to back it up, and Kabbani's admission that his criteria for extremism was “a focus on the Palestinian struggle.”
1999 -- The Myth Begins
- Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani Claims, Without Any Evidence, That “80 Percent” Of Mosques Are Influenced By “Extremist Ideology.” In January 1999, the State Department conducted an open forum on “Islamic Extremism: A Viable Threat to U.S. National Security.” It was during the forum that Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi cleric from California, appeared to have first made the claim that Muslims with extremist ideology had taken “over more than 80% of the mosques that have been established in the US”:
KABBANI: The third major problem that is now going on is that you have many mosques around the United States and there is not an organized government or policy to look over the mosques like in Muslim countries where you cannot open a mosque by yourself, and you cannot open a charity by yourself. It has to be done according to the structure of the Islamic religion. That's why in the Muslim countries, you cannot find extremist ideology. As soon as you find the extremist ideology they kick them out and bring in traditional Islamic scholars. The extremist ideology comes from the street so the extremists don't know what they are talking about. So they form small circles in different homes or different basements or in different areas and they begin to brainwash the people. That's why we find this kind of movement is becoming big now, especially when the idea is that we have a struggle between us and the United States. “United States is not supporting us,” “United States is supporting someone else,” they find that United States is not supporting Afghanistan, as Congressman [Dana] Rohrabacher [R-CA] said. The United States supported Pakistan, the United States supported Egypt, the United States supported PLO and the peace treaty, the United States supported Saudi Arabia, the United States supported Kuwait. The United States is supporting whomever they can, but sometimes it is out of reach that they can support everyone. So they cannot be blamed. The United States cannot be blamed for something that they cannot control.
The most dangerous thing that is going on now in these mosques, that has been sent upon these mosques around the United States - like churches they were established by different organizations and that is ok - but the problem with our communities is the extremist ideology. Because they are very active they took over the mosques; and we can say that they took over more than 80% of the mosques that have been established in the US. And there are more than 3000 mosques in the US.
So it means that the methodology or ideology of extremist has been spread to 80% of the Muslim population, but not all of them agree with it. But mostly the youth and the new generation do because they are students and they don't think except with their emotions and they are rebellious against their own leaders and government. This is the nature and psychology of human beings. When we are students in university or college we always fight the government, whether they are right or wrong, we have to attack the government. This is how they have been raised.
In this way we see that the extremist ideology, and this is the fourth danger, is beginning to spread very quickly into the universities through the national organizations, associations and clubs that they are establishing around the universities. Most of these clubs - they are Muslim clubs and the biggest is the national one - are being run mostly by the extremist ideology that they do not understand other than to say that America is wrong and they are right. You can find this on the Internet; you can find it everywhere on homepages and websites that they are against the United States. This is where we don't know how far it goes, and how far it is out of hand. This might affect the whole university system in the United States. Through the universities there will be the most danger. If the nuclear atomic warheads reach these universities, you don't know what these students are going to do, because their way of thinking is brainwashed, limited and narrow-minded. [State Department Forum, 1/7/99]
Kabbani was later asked about the statistic and continued to claim that “80% of” American mosques “have been being [sic] run by the extremist ideology, but not acting as a militant movement.” He claimed that “the board of trustees of these mosques is being run by these extremists.” He again provided no evidence to back up his claim:
Question. (continued) One other question that is about the mosques in this country. You say that 80% of them are run by the extremists, I wonder what you mean by that.
Shaykh Kabbani. 80% of them have been being [sic] run by the extremist ideology, but not acting as a militant movement. We don't know if this will lead in the future to be more in the hands of militant extremism or not. There are two kinds of extremism: there is the extremism ideology and there is the extremist militant movement. In the future some of them might be working or affiliating themselves with such kinds of militant extremism.
Question (continued) You said, on the other hand, that most American Muslims are peace loving, yet their mosques are being run by these extremists?
Shaykh Kabbani. Muslims, in general, are peace loving and tolerant. And a Muslim likes to go and find a place to go and make his service, make his worship and go and doesn't interfere. So the board of trustees of these mosques is being run by these extremists. [State Department Forum, 1/7/99]
March - May
- Major Muslim Groups Condemned The Statement, And Kabbani Later Said He Had No Knowledge Of Mosques' Financial Ties To Terrorism. A March 2, 1999, Washington Times article (accessed via Nexis) reported that Kabbani's comments “prompted six major Muslim organizations, 'with heavy hearts,' to ask Sheik Kabbani to reverse his comments on American Muslims.” In a May 1, 1999, article, the San Jose Mercury News interviewed Kabbani and noted that Kabbani's comments ignited outrage among Muslim groups. In the interview, the reporter said to Kabbani, “You've said some very harsh things about the American Muslim community. This is what people who don't like Muslims like to hear, isn't it? They like to hear that the mosques are led by extremists, that people are soliciting money for non-profit organizations that finance terrorist activities.” Kabbani replied, in part, “I don't know where they collect their money, where they send their money.” From the interview:
You've said some very harsh things about the American Muslim community. This is what people who don't like Muslims like to hear, isn't it? They like to hear that the mosques are led by extremists, that people are soliciting money for non-profit organizations that finance terrorist activities.
Might be . . . I don't know where they collect their money, where they send their money.
It's been argued that your words bring the whole Muslim community under unjust suspicion.
It is better to stand up . . . and say, “There is something wrong here. Let us investigate it.”
They are accusing me, as if I am helping the non-Muslim community to think badly about the Muslims. But the leaders of the Muslims are not doing anything to tell their own people what their agendas are. I asked them, “Why don't you stand up and denounce terrorism?” Why don't you say, “We do not support the organizations that have been defined internationally as terrorist organizations. We denounce them.”
Then the Muslims are safe. They refuse. No one is doing that. That's why the Muslim community doesn't know whom to support, so they are giving (their money) to everyone . . .
But I have decided that it's worthless to speak, because people don't want to listen. So let them find their own destiny and face their own problems. [San Jose Mercury News, 5/1/99, accessed via Nexis]
- Anti-Islam Writer Daniel Pipes Promotes Kabbani's “Courageous” Claim. On July 16, 1999, anti-Islam writer Daniel Pipes promoted Kabbani's claims in a Forward article titled, “Needed: Muslims against terror.” Pipes promoted Kabbani's claim, calling him “courageous”:
Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a leader of the Naqshbandi Sufi order in the United States and the founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, has established himself as a leading spokesman for moderate Islam and anti-terrorism. Mr. Kabbani earned his stripes the hard way, by taking on nearly the entirety of the radicalized Muslim organizations America. He gave a courageous speech at the State Department in January 1999 in which he accurately noted that extremists had “taken over 80% of the mosques” in America. In response, more than 100 mosques and organizations signed a petition condemning Mr. Kabbani and calling for a boycott of him and his organization. [Forward, 7/16/99]
2001: Following 9-11, Right-Wing Media Rediscover Kabbani's Statistic
- Spectator's Schwartz Cites Kabbani To Argue That “80 Percent Of Mosques” In The U.S. “Are Estimated ... To Be Under The Control Of Wahhabi Imams.” In a September 22, 2001, Spectator essay, Stephen Schwartz attempted to explain the “Islamofascist ideology of Osama bin Laden” and wrote:
And that is the point that must be understood: bin Laden and other Wahhabis are not defending Islamic tradition; they represent an ultra-radical break in the direction of a sectarian utopia. Thus, they are best described as Islamofascists, although they have much in common with Bolsheviks.
The Bengali Sufi writer Zeeshan Ali has described the situation touchingly: 'Muslims from Bangladesh in the US, just like any other place in the world, uphold the traditional beliefs of Islam but, due to lack of instruction, keep quiet when their beliefs are attacked by Wahhabis in the US who all of a sudden become “better” Muslims than others. These Wahhabis go even further and accuse their own fathers of heresy, sin and unbelief. And the young children of the immigrants, when they grow up in this country, get exposed only to this one-sided version of Islam and are led to think that this is the only Islam. Naturally a big gap is being created every day that silence is only widening.' The young, divided between tradition and the call of the new, opt for 'Islamic revolution' and commit themselves to their self-destruction, combined with mass murder.
The same influences are brought to bear throughout the ten-million-strong Muslim community in America, as well as those in Europe. In the US, 80 percent of mosques are estimated by the Sufi Hisham al-Kabbani, born in Lebanon and now living in the US, to be under the control of Wahhabi imams, who preach extremism, and this leads to the other point of vulnerability:
Wahhabism is subsidised by Saudi Arabia, even though bin Laden has sworn to destroy the Saudi royal family. The Saudis have played a double game for years, more or less as Stalin did with the West during the second world war. They pretended to be allies in a common struggle against Saddam Hussein while they spread Wahhabi ideology everywhere Muslims are to be found, just as Stalin promoted an 'antifascist' coalition with the US while carrying out espionage andsubversion on American territory. The motive was the same: the belief that the West was or is decadent and doomed. [The Spectator, 9/22/01, accessed via Nexis]
- Wash. Times Cited Kabbani's Statistic In An Article On Wahhabism. In an October 11, 2001, article on Wahhabism, The Washington Times reported that "[i]n a State Department hearing, [Kabbani] said that 80 percent of the nation's mosques had been taken over by imams (Islamic clergy) with Wahhabilike loyalties." The article quoted two Islamic scholars disputing Kabbani's claim. [The Washington Times, 10/11/01, accessed via Nexis]
- Schwartz Claims That Wahhabism “Influences Up To 80 Percent Of Mosques, Mainly Through Financial Subsidies.” In an October 25, 2001, National Review article, Schwartz again cited Kabbani's stat to argue that “Wahhabism is not dominant in the soul of Islam today, but exercises immense power in the Islamic world community -- including in the U.S., where it influences up to 80 percent of mosques, mainly through financial subsidies.” However, Kabbani had previously admitted that he did not “know where” the alleged radicalized mosques “collect their money, where they send their money.” [National Review, 10/25/01, accessed via Nexis]
- NYT Profiles Kabbani, Reports That His Estimate Was Based On Visiting 114 Mosques, And His Definition Of An “Extremist Mosque Was A Focus On The Palestinian Struggle.” An October 28, 2001, New York Times article profiled Kabbani and his claim, noting that “Sheik Kabbani's profile and motivations, in reality, are a complex intertwining of religious and political rivalries. Even experts and policy makers who admire him say he has undermined his message with hyperbolic claims about the influence of Islamic extremism in the United States.” The article quoted Institute for Global Engagement president Robert Seiple saying, "[H]is comments about 80 percent of the leadership of Islam in America being extremists are irresponsible and terribly unfortunate."
The article further shed some light on the basis for Kabbani's statistic, which he suggested he came to after he had visited 114 mosques and found that " 'Ninety of them were mostly exposed, and I say exposed, to extreme or radical ideology' based on their speeches, books and board members":
Sheik Kabbani said that he stood by his claim in his State Department speech that 80 percent of American mosques had been taken over by extremists, because of the 114 mosques he first visited in the United States, ''Ninety of them were mostly exposed, and I say exposed, to extreme or radical ideology,'' based on their speeches, books and board members. He said that a telltale sign of an extremist mosque was a focus on the Palestinian struggle. [New York Times, 10/28/01]
- US News & World Report Notes That Muslim Leaders And Scholars Say Kabbani's Estimate “Is Exaggerated.” An October 29, 2001, U.S. News & World Report article reported that many Muslim leaders and scholars questioned Kabbani's estimate, saying that it was “exaggerated” and that they didn't “know where he came up with that” figure. From U.S. News & World Report :
Connections? But while diversity may naturally include the extremes, the question on many people's minds has been what exactly the relationship is between American Islam and the kind of terror and anti-Americanism that came so horribly into focus last month under the guise of religious zealotry. One moderate American Islamic leader, Sheik Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, told a State Department forum in 1999 that 80 percent of the nation's mosques are headed by clerics who espouse “extremist ideology”--which Kabbani associates with Wahhabism, an Islamic fundamentalist movement that began in Saudi Arabia in the 18th century. But Kabbani, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, added that “a majority of American Muslims do not agree” with the extremist ideology.
Other American Muslim leaders say Kabbani's estimate of Wahhabi influence in U.S. mosques is exaggerated. “I don't know where he came up with that,” says Ingrid Mattson, a Hartford Seminary professor and vice president of the Islamic Society of North America. African-Americans alone account for a third of the mosques, she notes, “and they clearly are not Wahhabis.” The CAIR-Hartford study found that about 20 percent of mosques say they interpret the Koran literally, but 7 in 10 follow a more nuanced, nonfundamentalist approach. [U.S. News & World Report, 10/29/01, accessed via Nexis]
- Muslim Public Affairs Council Claims Kabbani Didn't Respond To Requests To “Prove” His Claim. On the October 31, 2001, broadcast of CNN International's Q&A, then-Muslim Public Affairs Council senior adviser Maher Hathout was asked about Kabbani's claim, to which he responded by saying that he “disagree[d]” and that "[w]e had requested him to prove them or to retract them, he did neither." [CNN International, Q&A, 10/31/01, accessed via Nexis]
- Pipes Promotes Kabbani's “Reliable Estimation” In Commentary. In the November 2001 edition of Commentary magazine, Pipes claimed that “the major Muslim organizations in this country are in the hands of extremists,” citing “Kabbani's reliable estimation.” From Commentary:
Whether and to what degree the community as a whole subscribes to the Islamist agenda are, of course, open questions. But what is not open to question is that, whatever the majority of Muslim Americans may believe, most of the organized Muslim community agrees with the Islamist goal--the goal, to say it once again, of building an Islamic state in America. To put it another way, the major Muslim organizations in this country are in the hands of extremists.
One who is not among them is Muhammad Hisham Kabbani of the relatively small Islamic Supreme Council of America. In Kabbani's reliable estimation, such “extremists” have “taken over 80 percent of the mosques” in the United States. And not just the mosques: schools, youth groups, community centers, political organizations, professional associations, and commercial enterprises also tend to share a militant outlook, hostile to the prevailing order in the United States and advocating its replacement with an Islamic one. [Commentary, 11/01]
- Schwartz Again Highlights Kabbani's Claim To Rail Against Wahhabism. In a November 5, 2001, Weekly Standard article, Schwartz again cited Kabbani's claim, writing: “Sheikh Hisham Kabbani of the Islamic Supreme Council of America is one critic of Wahhabism who falls into neither of these problematic categories. He is an eloquent public opponent of Wahhabi efforts to regiment American Muslims; and he fully supports American democratic values, as well as a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict. In 1999, Kabbani warned that 80 percent of mosques in the United States are subject to Wahhabi manipulation, through financial subsidies.” [Weekly Standard, 11/05/01, accessed via Nexis]
- Wash. Times Op-Ed Cites Kabbani's Statistic To Argue That “Large Numbers” Of People In The U.S. Share “Bin Laden's Joy.” In a Washington Times column, titled, “Bin Laden's joy,” Mona Charen discussed Osama bin Laden's videotaped response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and wrote:
Daniel Pipes, in Commentary magazine, quotes Mohammed Hisham Kabbani, an American Muslim leader, who estimates that “80 percent of the mosques” in the United States have been taken over by “extremists.” They believe a Muslim cannot legitimately live among unbelievers unless his goal is to convert them. Nor can radical Islamists live comfortably in a pluralistic society in which church and state are separated.
With plentiful excuses and politically correct explanations, several newspapers have reported that Islamic schools in places like Jersey City, N.J., and Potomac, Md., are teaching their kids to sympathize with radical Islam and despise the United States.
So while bin Laden's obscene tape sears the hearts of good listeners, there are large numbers, even here in the United States, who will thrill to his message. [The Washington Times, 12/17/01, accessed via Nexis]
2002: The Lie Continues To Spread
- Chris Matthews, Jake Tapper Cite Kabbani As Saying, “The Extremist Theology Has Taken Over 80 Percent Of The Mosques” In The U.S. On the January 11, 2002, broadcast of MSNBC's Hardball, Jake Tapper, then with Talk magazine, appeared on the program to discuss an article in which he quoted Kabbani as saying, “The most dangerous thing that is going on now in these mosques is the extremist theology that has taken over 80 percent of the mosques that have been established in the U.S.” Tapper reported that “here in the United States, what they do is, they provide scholarships, they provide funding. And the quid pro quo, the strings that come attached with the money, is their radical brand of Islam, Wahabism.” [MSNBC, Hardball, 1/11/02, accessed via Nexis]
- Pipes Cited Kabbani To Claim That Muslims “Overwhelmingly Pursue An Islamist Agenda Far Outside That Mainstream.” In a background report for the Center for Immigration Studies, Khalid Duran and Daniel Pipes wrote:
Below the surface, however, a profound difference separates the two: Whereas the Jewish institutions are conventional ethnic organizations anchored to the mainstream of American political life, the Muslim ones overwhelmingly pursue an Islamist agenda far outside that mainstream. As one moderate Muslim leader, Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, has warned, extremists have “taken over 80 percent of the mosques” in the United States; another moderate refers to the Islamist leaders as “swindlers” and “radicals.” The main institutions of American Islam do not represent the interests and views of the moderate Muslims who are good American citizens. [Center for Immigration Studies, 8/02]
- Syndicated Columnist Mark O'Keefe Cited Kabbani's Claim In A Column About Relations Between The U.S. And Islamic World. In an August 2002 syndicated column, Mark O'Keefe cited Kabbani as saying that “Muslims in America, especially the immigrants, complain too much when back in many of their homelands they are not allowed to even open their mouths in criticism (of the government),” adding, “We have been discriminated against, of course. But that's to be expected after a situation like Sept. 11.” O'Keefe noted that Kabbani was “something of a lightning rod” and went on to report Kabbani's “estimate” that “80 percent of American mosques had been taken over by extremists” and cited several anti-Muslim right-wing media figures praising Kabbani. [Newhouse News Service, 8/21/02, accessed via Nexis]
- National Review Wrote That Kabbani Had “Persuasively Documented The Threat That Wahhabism Posed To America.” In an October 28, 2002, National Review article, Alex Alexiev, without citing a source, claimed that "[i]n the U.S. and Canada an estimated 80 percent of all Islamic establishments are said to be supported financially by the Saudis. The majority of Muslim Student Associations at U.S. colleges are dominated by Islamist and anti-American agendas, as are most of the numerous Islamic centers and schools financed by the Saudis." These claims echo those that Kabbani made in his 1999 State Department speech. Much later in the article, Alexiev mentioned Kabbani, writing: “As early as 1999, the Naqshbandi leader in America, Sheikh Hisham Kabbani, persuasively documented the threat that Wahhabism posed to America; his warnings were met with vitriolic denunciations by the Islamic establishment, and indifference on the part of the U.S. government.” [National Review, 10/28/02]
2003: The Claim Hits Fox, Washington Times
- Gaffney Takes Claim To Fox: “80 Percent Of The Mosques In This Country Are Believed To Have Sources Of Funding From Wahabist Quarters.” On the February 7, 2003, of Fox News' The Big Story, Frank Gaffney stated: “There is an effort to recruit on the campuses. There are some 500 Wahhabi chapters of something called the Muslim Student Alliance doing precisely that every day. And, by some accounts, as I'm sure you know, as much as 80 percent of the mosques in this country are believed to have sources of funding from Wahabist quarters. And this, in turn, translates into recruitment opportunities, indoctrination and, in some cases, I'm afraid, actual institutional settings in which worse can happen, perhaps even plotting of acts of terrorism.” [Fox News, The Big Story, 2/7/03, accessed via Nexis]
- Gaffney In Wash. Times: “Wahhabi-Saudi Funding ... Underwriting -- And, Therefore, Controlling -- As Many As 70-80 Percent Of The Nation's Mosques.” In a February 11, 2003, Washington Times column, Gaffney wrote: “Wahhabi-Saudi funding appears to have been instrumental in creating and sustaining a large number of organizations involved in such troubling activities as: prison recruitment of American felons, indoctrination of U.S. military personnel, proselytizing on more than 500 college campuses across the United States, charitable fund-raising for terrorists and, of course, underwriting -- and, therefore, controlling -- as many as 70-80 percent of the nation's mosques.” [The Washington Times, 2/11/03, accessed via Nexis]
- Spencer Cites 80 Percent Stat During A Debate With CAIR President Hooper. On the February 25, 2003, edition of MSNBC's Nachman, Free Congress Foundation's Robert Spencer debated the president of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Ibrahim Hooper. Spencer cited Kabbani to make the claim that “80 percent of the mosques in the United States are actually controlled by extremists.” When asked by guest-host Keith Olbermann to explain the claim, Spencer merely claimed Kabbani had “very good reasons for saying that.” From Nachman:
SPENCER: Actually, of course, it's laudable to show that Muslims are mostly people who are ordinary Americans going about their business. That's absolutely true and it's not in dispute. However, the fact is that Sheik Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, the Sufi sheik, said that 80 percent of the mosques in the United States are actually controlled by extremists.
HOOPER: First of all, I have to challenge this notion that 80 percent of American mosques are extremist. It's just a falsehood. It's one of those standard lines put out by hate mongers like Mr. Spencer.
OLBERMANN: Mr. Spencer, you suggested that was from an Arabic source. Could you explain a little bit further about that 80 percent number?
SPENCER: Well, yes. As I was saying, this is what CARE [sic] always does. Anybody who puts forth any criticism of Islam is immediately branded a hate monger and a bigot.
And so I want to emphasize that that figure comes from a Muslim, from Sheik Muhammad Hisham Kabbani. He has very good reasons for saying that. And the question is not -- why should we just take Mr. Hooper's word that this is not true or, for that matter, Sheik Muhammad Hisham Kabbani's words? What we need to do is investigate. What we need to do is be careful and see what exactly is going on in American mosques. [MSNBC, Nachman, 2/25/03, accessed via Nexis]
2004: Rep. King Takes Up Kabbani's Cause
- Spencer Used Kabbani's Claim To Defend King's Claim That “85 Percent Of The Mosques In The United States Have 'Extreme Leadership.' ” In a February 13, 2004, Jihad Watch post, Spencer attempted to defend King's claim that “85 percent of the mosques in the United States have 'extremist leadership.' ” King “based his belief on extensive conversations,” but Spencer defended King by again citing Kabbani's 1999 testimony: “King also could have referred to the 1999 testimony before a State Department Open Forum of Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi Muslim. As I detail in Onward Muslim Soldiers, Kabbani investigated American mosques (visiting them personally) and concluded that 80% were controlled by extremists.” [Jihad Watch, 2/13/04]
- Rep. King Claimed “The Situation Has Even Gotten Worse” Since Kabbani First Made His Claim. On the March 9, 2004, broadcast of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, host Joe Scarborough hosted King to discuss whether he still stood by his “statement, that 85 percent of the mosques in America are run by Muslim extremists.” King replied:
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Yes, Joe, I do. And it's not something I say with great any sense of pride, but I do.
I can give you just a few examples. Just several years ago, Shaykh Kabbani, who is the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, when he was speaking at the State Department, said that more than 80 percent of the mosques were controlled by extremists. And from all I've seen over the last four or five years, the situation has even gotten worse.
The mosque in my own area on Long Island, you have the interfaith director, who was always appearing on television, he was saying more than a month after September 11 that Mohamed Atta was alive, that his passport had been stolen, that the media should be looking at the Zionists -- the world Zionist network. He was saying that Muslim and Arabs could not have been involved in the World Trade Center, and not one Muslim rebuked him.
And as I began to look into it, I found more and more statements like that being made. Now, I consider that to be extremist. I consider that to be irresponsible. In an area such as mine, where I had almost 400 people in the surrounding area of that mosque who were killed on September 11, and to have a very well known Muslim leader never being rebuked, talking about Zionists being behind it, talking about the FBI somehow being involved, all of these types of conspiracy, extremist rhetoric.
And, unfortunately, that's typical, all too typical, of what goes on in many Muslim organizations. And I go back to what Shaykh Kabbani said, where 80 percent back in 1999. I see no reason to think why that hasn't gone up over the past four or five years. [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 3/9/04, accessed via Nexis]
- Kabbani Claimed He Found “Wahhabism” Being Preached Wherever He Went In Interview With Singapore's Straits Times. In a December 2004 interview with Singapore's Straits Times, Kabbani noted that "[b]ack in 1990, arriving for his first Friday prayers in an American mosque in Jersey City, he was shocked to hear Wahhabism being preached. 'What I heard there, I had never heard in my native Lebanon. I asked myself: Is Wahhabism active in America? So I started my research. Whichever mosque I went to, it was Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi.' " Kabbani further claimed:
Most of the mosques in the US are influenced by Saudi teachings. Check the mosques, you'll find Saudi books, Saudi curriculum for the schools. If you speak against Wahhabism, your mosque will not get more funds. The people in the mosques have been brainwashed. [Straits Times, 12/12/04, accessed via Nexis]
2005: Spencer Keeps The Zombie Lie Alive
- Spencer Complained That No “Serious Investigation Has Been Mounted” Into Mosques To Prove “Whether Or Not” Kabbani Was Correct." In a March 3, 2005, Human Events post, Spencer argued that “to win this war” against terror, “we must fight it at its source.” He complained that "[i]t is now over five years since the Naqshbandi Sufi Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani testified at a State Department Open Forum that Muslims holding an 'extremist ideology' had taken over 'more than 80 percent of the mosques that have been established in the US.' What serious investigation has been mounted to determine whether or not he was correct? Corroborating evidence came just last month from Freedom House, which released a report revealing the extent to which American mosques are filled with jihadist material." He added, "[W]hy are such textbooks still used in American Muslim schools over five years after Kabbani's testimony?" [Human Events, 3/3/05, accessed via Nexis]
- Spencer Cited Kabbani To Claim, "[I]t Is Much More Likely That The Jihadist Sentiments Will Come From The Mosque Leadership." In a July 21, 2005, Human Events post, Spencer discussed the Muslim Public Affairs Council's (MPAC) condemnation of the July 7, 2005, London bombing and “terrorism in general” and attacked MPAC's “National Anti-Terrorism Campaign,” because, he claims, it doesn't recognize “that if a mosque is involved in or sympathetic to terrorist activity ... [i]t is much more likely that the jihadist sentiments will come from the mosque leadership -- as per the Sufi leader Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani's statement that eighty percent of American mosques were controlled by extremists. MPAC has dismissed Kabbani's words as 'an offhand remark ... in some obscure presentation.'” [Human Events, 7/21/05]
- Spencer Praised Jerusalem Post And AJC's Counterterrorism Expert Barsky's Revival Of Claim To Support Her Allegation Of Links Between American Muslim Groups And Saudis. On August 2, 2005, Yehudit Barsky, then-director of the American Jewish Council's Division on Middle East and International Terrorism, wrote a report alleging links between American Muslim organizations and Saudi funders. The report led to a December 5, 2005, Jerusalem Post article in which Barsky is quoted as claiming that " 'extremist organizations continue to claim the mantle of leadership' over American Islam. The power of the extremist Wahhabi form of Islam in the United States was created with generous Saudi financing of American Muslim communities over the past few decades. Over 80 percent of the mosques in the United States 'have been radicalized by Saudi money and influence.' " Barsky did not reference Kabbani, Spencer, or Pipes in the article or her report, but in a December 6 Jihad Watch post, Spencer wrote: “I'm glad the Jerusalem Post is noting this, but it is a bit late. I have only been saying this publicly for about three and a half years, and it has only been six years since Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani testified the same thing before a State Department Open Forum.” [American Jewish Council, 8/2/05; Jerusalem Post, 12/5/05; Jihad Watch, 12/6/05]
- Jacoby Praised Kabbani As “One Of The First Moderate Muslim Leaders ... To Publicly Denounce The Extremists.” In a September 25, 2005, Boston Globe op-ed, conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote:
[I]magine the reaction if Romney had said something not so obvious. Say, like this: “The most dangerous thing that is going on now in these mosques ... is the extremists' ideology. Because they are very active, they took over the mosques; and we can say that they took over more than 80 percent of the mosques that have been established in the US. And there are more than 3,000 mosques in the US.”
An American politician who uttered such thoughts would be smeared as a bigot. But it wasn't a politician who said them. It was a Muslim scholar and humanitarian, the Sufi sheik Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, speaking at a State Department forum in 1999. Kabbani was one of the first moderate Muslim leaders in the United States with the courage to publicly denounce the extremists. Unfortunately, his alarm didn't wake Americans from their pre-9/11 slumber. But what excuse can there be now for not taking seriously his warning that most US mosques are in the hands of a radical minority? As Romney says, “This thing is just common sense.” [Boston Globe, 9/25/05, accessed via Nexis]
2006: Right-Wing Media Rush To King's Defense As He Once Again Revives Stat To Smear Muslims
- Cavuto And Former Secret Service Agent Ron Williams Cite Kabbani's Claim In Story About Potential Threat To Bill Gates. On the April 27, 2006, edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, former Secret Service agent and Talon Executive Service founder Ron Williams speculated on a potential threat to Bill Gates. Williams claimed business leaders “have got to incorporate intelligence information, to keep on top of threats with FBI's InfraGard program. There are other significant intelligence services that provide information to keep on top of threats, because this isn't a safe world anymore. And Islamic radical fundamentalism is alive and well in all forms. Sheikh Kabbani, in 1999, said that 80 percent of American mosques are radicalized.” [Fox News, Your World, 4/27/06, accessed via Nexis]
- Zahn Hosts King To Again Claim That "[B]ased On The Radicalization Since" Kahan's Initial Speech, “85 Percent” Of American Mosques Are “Radicaliz[ed].” On the September 28, 2006, broadcast of CNN's Paula Zahn Now, host Paula Zahn hosted King to defend himself against accusations that he is “a Muslim hater.” King said that "[m]y basis for the 85 percent was Sheikh Kabbani, who's one of the leading Muslims in this country, back in the year 2000, said that he thought at least 80 percent of the mosques were taken over by extremist leaders, by radical Muslims. ... And I'm telling you I know of any number of mosques in New York where the police are very concerned about them, where there are radicals in there. And, absolutely, yes, I stand by that number. It was 80 percent back in 2000. Based on the radicalization since then, it has to be -- I have no doubt, I have problem at all in saying it's 85 percent. If it's not 85, it's still 80." Zahn did not challenge King's assertions. [CNN, Paula Zahn Now, 9/28/06, accessed via Nexis]
- Cavuto Pitches King A Softball To Defend Against Having “Been Labeled A Muslim Hater,” In Part For “Saying That 85 Percent Of Mosques In America Are Controlled By Extremists.” On the October 4, 2006, broadcast of Fox News' Your World, Neil Cavuto hosted King to respond to the “heat” he'd been receiving for “taking on an Islamic center in his community and for saying that 85 percent of mosques in America are controlled by extremists.” Cavuto said: “He has been labeled a Muslim hater. He has been attacked in the media. And now the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is here to try to set the record straight.” Cavuto said to King, “Man, you have been getting fired on.” Cavuto, who did ask King to provide evidence for his claim, said to King of Kabbani's stat: "[I]f you're right, that's pretty scary." From the interview:
CAVUTO: Yes, what the heck is -- you're -- the Muslim groups that came out attacking you, and then the way you have been portrayed in the media as Islamophobic, are you?
KING: No, not at all. And I really appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight here.
First of all, we're talking about a mosque which is right outside my district, the Islamic Center of Long Island. And what I have pointed out is this mosque, which I have very good relationships over the years -- I even got an award from them about 10 years ago. The president of the mosque, I went to his son's wedding. Another president, his daughter interned in my office, right? A very good relationship.
And after September 11, I was defending them, saying, you can't blame Muslims for what happened September 11th.
Then, I started seeing statements coming out from top officials that the Jews may have blown up the World Trade Center; that there was no real evidence that the Arabs did it or the Muslims did it; that the CIA and the FBI could have been involved. Mohamed Atta was still alive. All that was coming out, that the Jews were told to stay home on September 11.
And these were well-to-do, very sophisticated, very professional people. They've never taken any of that back. These were top people in the mosque saying that.
When I called them on it, they started coming back, saying that I was a Muslim hater. And I used the -- the term that 85 percent of American mosques in this country are controlled by extremists. I based that on by a statement by Sheikh Kabbani. He was one of the leading Muslims in the country back in 2000. He said more than 80 percent of the mosques have been controlled by extremists, not rank-and-file.
CAVUTO: But -- but that's a pretty broad brush. And, if -- if you're right, that's pretty scary.
KING: Yes. [Fox News, Your World, 10/4/06, accessed via Nexis]
- NYP Defends King From Critics, Claims That “Several Experts Essentially Agree.” In an October 5, 2006, editorial, the New York Post attacked CNN for “smear[ing]” King by hosting CAIR representatives to “refute King.” In the editorial, the Post wrote: “Meanwhile, a leading Muslim cleric, Sheik Hisham Kabbani, has estimated that 80 percent of U.S. mosques are run by extremists. Several experts essentially agree. And King says law-enforcement officials back him up.” [New York Post, 10/6/06, accessed via Nexis]
2007: Right-Wing Media Continue To Cite Claim To Smear Muslims
- Boston Globe's Jacoby Writes Another Piece Promoting Kabbani's Claim. In a January 10, 2007, Boston Globe column, Jacoby attacked the Islamic Society of Boston, again relying on Kabbani's claim for evidence of radicalism. Jacoby wrote:
Speaking at the State Department in 1999, Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi sheik and leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, sounded an alarm about Muslim houses of worship in the United States.
At the time, Kabbani's charges may have seemed little more than inside Muslim baseball. After Sept. 11, it became clear that mosques dominated by radical clerics were a potentially lethal threat. Many such mosques are funded by Saudi Arabia, which spends heavily to propagate Wahhabism, a fanatic and aggressive strain of Islam. [Boston Globe, 1/10/07]
- Geller Uses 80 Percent Claim To Attack Conservative Fundraiser Grover Norquist. In a March 9, 2007, Atlas Shrugs post attacking conservative fundraiser and activist Grover Norquist, Pamela Geller claimed, “Wahhabi Islam funding from Saudi Arabia appears to have been instrumental is [sic] creating and and sustaining a large number of organizations involved in such troubling activities as ... Providing financial support - and gaining control - of 70-80 percent of U.S. mosques.” [Atlas Shrugs, 3/9/07]
- Bauer In Human Events: “Experts Estimate That 80 Percent Of American Mosques Are Funded By Saudi Arabia.” In a June 1, 2007, Human Events article, Gary Bauer asked, "[H]ow will proposed immigration reforms affect our ability to fight terrorists and protect America?" He added: "[H]ow can we ensure that Muslim immigrants-who annually represent about 10 percent of our immigrants-and American-born Muslims embrace values that are consistent with those at the heart of American democracy?" Bauer cited unnamed “experts” to claim:
Experts estimate that 80 percent of American mosques are funded by Saudi Arabia, which, according to a recent study by Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom, disseminates propaganda though American mosques that teaches “Nazi-like hatred of Jews” and Christians and spreads the radical Wahhabist ideology shared by Osama bin Laden and the 9-11 attackers. Freedom House also found that many American mosques “promote contempt for the United States because it is ruled by legislated civil law rather than by totalitarian Wahhabi-style Islamic law.” [Human Events, 6/1/07]
2008: Emerson's Investigative Project On Terrorism Keeps The Claim Alive
- Investigative Project On Terrorism Cites Kabbani's Statistic In Series Attacking CAIR. In an April 2, 2008, series on the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the right-wing security group Investigative Project on Terrorism -- founded and directed by Steve Emerson - attacked CAIR by claiming it has “sought to squelch moderate voices.” As evidence, Emerson cited CAIR opposition to Kabbani's claim “that extremists dominated the leadership of more than 80 percent of U.S. mosques.” [The Investigative Project on Terrorism, 4/2/08]
- Boston Globe quotes Charles Jacobs as claiming “it's been estimated that 80 percent of mosques are radicalized.” In a September 15, 2008, article, The Boston Globe reported on a controversy surrounding people protesting the recent opening of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. The article quoted Charles Jacobs, who the Globe described as the “leading critic of the mosque” as saying, " 'it's been estimated that 80 percent of mosques are radicalized' but that 'it's very difficult for American citizens to speak about these things, because they don't want to be labeled as bigots or Islamophobes, so that has allowed these connections to go much unspoken and unreported.' " Jacobs had recently left his position at The David Project Center -- which protested the mosque. [Boston Globe, 9/15/09, subscription required]
- John Birch Society's William F. Jasper: “According To Government And Media Reports” ISNA Controls “50-80 Percent Of The Mosques In The United States.” Writing in the New American, the John Birch Society's William F. Jasper claimed that “according to government and media reports,” the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) controls “50-80 percent of the mosques in the United States. ISNA has achieved this lock on so many mosques, reportedly, through the North American Islamic Trust, with funding provided by the Muslim Brotherhood and the government of Saudi Arabia.” [New American, 2/2/09]
- Radicalislam.org: “According To Muslim Estimates, Up To 80 Percent Of Mosques In The U.S.” Are Saudi-Controlled. In a May 9, 2009, post, RadicalIslam.org claimed that "[a] large majority of mosques in the United States are led by Wahhabi clerics. Wahhabism is an extreme brand of Islam practiced dominantly in Saudi Arabia. According to Muslim estimates, up to 80 percent of mosques in the U.S. are owned, operated and led by Wahhabis." [StopRadicalIslam.org, accessed 1/31/11]
- Spencer Again Uses Kabbani To Defend Rep. King. In an April 17, 2009, post defending Rep. King against criticism of his claim that “you could say that 80-85 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists,” Spencer again used Kabbani's claim from 1999 to claim that King “is on very firm ground here.” [Jihad Watch, 4/17/09]
- WND's Farah Cites Claim To Attack Pastor Rick Warren. In a July 3, 2009, column, WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah attacked Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren for speaking to the ISNA. Farah wrote: “While millions of other Americans will be celebrating Independence Day weekend, Rick Warren, often called 'America's Pastor,' will be serving as the keynote speaker for a Saudi-backed Muslim group that promotes a radical strain of Wahhabi Islam in about 80 percent of U.S. mosques.” [WorldNetDaily, 7/3/09]
- Allen West Writes In Human Events: “We Have Saudi Arabia Funding Close To 80% Of The Mosques In The United States.” In a November 9, 2009, Human Events article, Lt. Col. Allen West -- now a Florida congressman -- reacted to the Fort Hood shooting by attacking leaders who are “paralyzed and refusing to confront the issue, Islamic terrorist infiltration into America.” West also wrote:
The recent incidents in Dearborn Michigan, Boston Massachusetts, Dallas Texas, and Chicago Illinois should bear witness to the fact that we have an Islamic terrorism issue in America. And don't have CAIR call me and try to issue a vanilla press statement: they are terrorist apologists, not a civil rights organization.
We have Saudi Arabia funding close to 80% of the mosques in the United States, one right here in South Florida, Pompano Beach. Are we building churches and synagogues in Saudi Arabia? Of course not. Because they aren't allowed by the Saudi government. [Human Events, 11/9/09]
- Charles Jacobs Cites Kabbani To Claim “Islamic Hatred Has Indeed Come To America.” In a December 31, 2009, Jewish Advocate opinion article, Charles Jacobs, president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, wrote: “Islamic hatred has indeed come to America. In 1999, Sufi Sheikh Hisham Kabanni, head of the Supreme Islamic Council, testified to the State Department that 80 percent of American mosques are in the hands of radicals.” [Jewish Advocate, 12/31/09]
2010: Bogus Stat Sees Widespread Revival In The Year Of Islamophobia
- NY Post: “No New Mosque In Brooklynstan.” In a January 27, 2010, New York Post op-ed, Shavana Abruzzo attacked plans to build a mosque in Brooklyn. Abruzzo wrote:
Even advocates of the Sheepshead Bay mosque plan cannot deny the importance of knowing where its funding is coming from, which religious groups are its sponsors and in which language its sermons will be preached.
In January, 1999, Islamic Supreme Council of America Chair Muhammad Hisham Kabbani testified before the US State Department that his own investigation of 114 Muslim masjids revealed that extremists had taken over “more than 80 percent of the mosques in the United States.” [New York Post, 1/27/10]
- The Tennessean Reports Of Email Campaign Opposing Local Islamic Center, Which Claims That “In 80 Percent Of The Mosques In America Today...Anti-American, Seditious Propaganda” Is Taught. In a May 28, 2010, editorial lamenting the “intolerance” they claimed “played a major role in” a local Islamic center withdrawing its request to “build a 12,000-square-foot mosque,” in parts due to “critics” who claimed “that mosque leaders had ties to terrorist organizations.” The paper said, “You might call it a dirty tricks campaign,” and wrote that one email that “circulat[ed] among mosque opponents” claimed that a “mosque is a political center for education, indoctrination and in 80 percent of the mosques in America today, a place for anti-American, seditious propaganda. This propaganda is coordinated and funded through a web of networks that originates in Saudi Arabia.” [The Tennessean, 5/28/10]
- Geller: “The Muslim Brotherhood Front” “Is Funding 80% Of The Mosques In The US.” In a July 12, 2010, Atlas Shrugs post, Geller attacked New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for deciding not to investigate the funding behind Park51 by claiming, “Investigating funds that might be terror tied is 'unAmercian'? Who got to this tool? Is he nuts? Who funded 911? Who is funding 80% of the mosques in the US? The Muslim Brotherhood front. ICNA is linked to Anti-American terror movement.” Geller has made this claim many times in her effort to attack the Park51 project. [Atlas Shrugs, 7/12/10, 5/29/10, 2/22/10, 1/25/10]
- Gaffney Writes In Newsmax: “80 Percent Of The Mosques In America” Are A “Wahhabi-Associated Facility.” In an August 9, 2010, Newsmax post, Gaffney attacked the Park51 project, claiming:
The mayor has a duty to know a lot more than he evidently does about Shariah. He certainly has an obligation to figure out whether -- as is true of, by some estimates, 80 percent of the mosques in America -- the ground zero mosque is going to fit the profile of a Wahhabi-associated facility.
- Morris Attacks Park51 By Claiming “80 Percent Of The Mosques ... Teach Sharia Law As The Main Event.” On the August 19, 2010, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Dick Morris cited a study by the Center for Security Policy that he claimed said “80 percent of the mosques ... teach Sharia law as the main event at their mosques.” Morris later claimed that Park51 will be used to “study and promote and train and recruit Sharia law advocates, which, who become terrorists.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/19/10]
- Morris Cites Gaffney's “Study” To Claim “80 Percent” Of U.S. Mosques “Are Filled With Violent Literature”; Gaffney Cited Kabbani For Stat. In an August 25, 2010, FrontPageMag post attacking Park51, Morris cited Gaffney's Center for Security Policy study to claim “80 percent” of mosques in the U.S. “are filled with violent literature, Sharia teachings, and promotion of jihad and its inevitable concomitant -- terrorism.” Morris continued: “There can be no doubt that any mosque organized and run by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will be based on Sharia law and will serve as local branch office of the pan-Islamic terrorist offensive against the west.” The study, when it was released in September, cited Kabbani's 1999 speech to back up this claim. [FrontPageMag, 8/25/10]
- CBN's Stakelbeck Cites Claim To Attack New York City Islamic Community Center And “Mega Mosque Projects Coast To Coast.” On the August 25, 2010, broadcast of Fox Business' Money Rocks, Christian Broadcasting Network correspondent Eric Stakelbeck argued against Park51 and other mosque proposals throughout the country and claimed: “Look, there are over 1200 mosques in the United States. There are over 100 mosques in the five areas of New York. This is not a religious freedom.” When guest and Fox News contributor Alan Colmes challenged Stakelbeck by saying, “You're trying to scare people. ... That's what you're doing,” Stakelbeck responded: “No, Alan, there's a question of funding, Alan. Where is the money coming from? Alan, are you concerned that up to 80 percent, Alan, Alan, let me finish. I didn't cut you off, Alan, let me finish. Are you concerned that up to 80 percent of all American mosques have Saudi funding behind them? Does that concern you, Alan?” Colmes replied, “No,” but did not challenge Stakelbeck's claim. [Fox Business, Money Rocks, 8/25/10, accessed via Nexis]
- PajamasMedia: “80 Percent Of The Nation's Mosques Were Under Radical Influence Or Outright Control.” In an August 26, 2010, Pajamas Media post, Michael Ledeen claimed that mosques and schools were responsible for terrorists and wrote:
We're not talking about a handful of mosques, and the schools associated with them. As of 9/11, there were at least 1,200. Most are radical. The American Sufi leader Sheik Hisham Kabbani, who founded the Islamic Supreme Council of America to combat the influence of radical (Saudi) Wahhabis in the United States, testified at a State Department hearing that 80 percent of the nation's mosques were under radical influence or outright control. [Pajamas Media, 8/26/10]
- David Horowitz Uses Claim To Attack Park51. In an August 30, 2010, FrontPageMag article entitled, “David Horowitz Debates the Ground Zero Mosque,” Horowitz claimed: “The same silence over genocidal intentions blankets virtually all the mosques in America, at least 80 percent of which are funded by the rulers of Saudi Arabia, the most bigoted promoter of jihadism and its Jew-hating ideology in the world today.” [FrontPageMag, 8/30/10]
- Center For Security Policy Issues “Study” Which Relies Exclusively On Kabbani's Testimony to back up 80% claim. A September 13, 2010, report issued by Gaffney's Center for Security Policy claimed:
In 1973, the Saudis created an important new enabler of Brotherhood operations in the United States and domination of American Muslim communities: the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). NAIT “controls” approximately 80 percent of the titles/deeds to the mosques, Islamic organizations and Islamic schools in this country.
The claim was backed up by a footnote which cited Kabbani's 1999 testimony. [Gaffney Center For Security Policy, 9/13/10]
- Weiss Repeats Claim In Washington Times Op-Ed. In a September 9, 2010, Washington Times op-ed, conservative columnist Deborah Weiss attacked Sharia law, claiming that “Shariah law is nonetheless spreading, based on a movement to expand the ideology worldwide”:
Despite Saudi Arabia's claim that it is “clamping down” on religious extremism, it remains the largest exporter of Wahhabi Islam, arguably responsible directly or indirectly for “homegrown radicalization” in the West. Indeed, some terrorism experts assert that as many as 80 percent of the mosques in America are heavily influenced by Saudi money and preach some sort of hatred. [The Washington Times, 9/9/10]
- On This Week, Spencer Declares That “Three Separate, Independent Studies” Found That “80 Percent Of Mosques Are Preaching Hatred And Violence.” Spencer, who for a decade has been advancing Kabbani's statistic, claimed on the October 3, 2010, broadcast of ABC News' This Week that “three separate studies” found that, in the Daily Beast's Reza Aslan's words, “80 percent of mosques are preaching hatred and violence.” Aslan challenged Spencer for “go[ing] around” spreading this claim, and Spencer replied: “Well, actually, I didn't say that. There are three separate studies that said that. ... And so you are pretending that I am originating this when in reality, these were three separate, independent studies that came to this figure of 80 percent. They all came to it in 1998.” Aslan replied, “Those studies have already been bunked by everybody.” [ABC News, This Week 10/3/10, accessed via Nexis]
- Geller Cites Stat To Promote Norwegian Ban Of Saudi Financing Of Mosques. In an October 19, 2010, Atlas Shrugs post, Geller wrote:
The Norwegian foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, will not allow Saudi Arabia to finance or build any mosques in Norway because of the laws in Saudi Arabia that deny basic religious freedoms. This also includes money from Saudi citizens.
America ought to take a serious look at such an approach. Not even from the religious aspect, but from the terror perspective and the obvious advanced civilizationist jihad that is advancing on a grand scale. 80% of the mosques in America have been radicalized by the Saudis. [Atlas Shrugs, 10/19/10]