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Islamophobia Is Still a Republican Value

It is perhaps a given that the Republicans will draw all the wrong conclusions from their recent electoral defeat. They will, for example, likely support some kind of amnesty program euphemized as “immigration reform” for illegal immigrants in the mistaken belief that it will somehow reverse their dismal showing among Hispanic voters. It will only succeed in alienating their existing base of support.

For those of us who have been hoping that the light bulb might turn on regarding the ill-conceived preemptive foreign policy based on “American Exceptionalism” that has produced catastrophe after catastrophe while bankrupting the nation, it would appear that we will have to wait a bit longer based on evidence [1] coming in from New York City. On February 16th, the Women’s National Republican Club will be hosting a “Henrietta Wells Livermore School of Politics … evening with Frank Gaffney. Mr. Gaffney is the Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. The Center is a not-for-profit, non-partisan educational corporation established in 1988. Under Mr. Gaffney’s leadership, the Center has been nationally and internationally recognized as a resource for timely, informed and penetrating analyses of foreign and defense policy matters.”

Not quite true. Gaffney, consistently hawkish and pro-Israel, once described Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a “man of peace through restraint.” Gaffney has received significant funding [2] from California bingo king Irving Moskowitz, who supports numerous right-wing Israeli groups in the belief that peace talks between Israel and the Arabs are suicidal for Israel. Moskowitz has been linked to Likud politicians ever since Menachem Begin in 1960 and once compared [3] assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for supporting “appeasement policies” akin to those applied to the Nazis before World War II.

According to the Center for American Progress’s report [4] on Islamophobia, Fear, Inc., the Center for Security Policy is “… a central hub of the anti-Muslim network and an active promoter of anti-Sharia messaging and anti-Muslim rhetoric.” It identifies Gaffney’s group as “a key source for right-wing politicians, pundits, and grassroots organizations, providing them with a steady stream of reports mischaracterizing Islam and warnings about the dangers of Islam and American Muslims.”

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Gaffney’s overwhelmingly negative reporting on Islam and Muslims has included the book [5] Shariah: The Threat to America, of which he was a contributing author and the publisher. The book is purportedly a report produced by several “top security policy experts” challenging the federal government’s failure to confront the threat of “political Islam.” The report contends that the United States is threatened by “the totalitarian socio-political doctrine that Islam calls shariah.” Gaffney’s belief that the United States will soon be overwhelmed by “creeping shariah” is reflected in his call on Congress to revive the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in an effort to “root out” Islamist operatives.

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#1 Comment By Chad On December 12, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

Yikes, maybe they scheduled him to learn what not to do? …maybe?

#2 Comment By JoaoAlfaiate On December 12, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

During my seven years in the Middle East I must confess I never heard any Muslim say he wanted to bring Sharia law to Oklahoma.

#3 Comment By Thomas Cheeseman On December 12, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

Mr Giraldi,
While I agree that all of Islam is not inconsistent with America, nor do I believe that we are on the verge of creeping Sharia taking us over, what is your take on Islam’s impact in Europe? Specifically, do you think Muslim communities in the Netherlands and in Europe that refuse to integrate and refuse to follow the legal process with regards to women and gays pose a threat to the unity of those countries? Do you agree that these communities that seek to live by Sharia (in it’s current form) cannot accept Western values, such as religious tolerance and free speech? I’m not defending the reaction against all Islam as evil, but I am curious whether you think skepticism about the compatibility of orthodox Islamic beliefs with Liberal democracy is warranted.

#4 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On December 12, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

Those hoping to resurrect HUAC need to remember that HUAC began as a scourge of “The Right” only to turn on some of it’s leftist patrons. HUAC began its life investigating the KKK and the the American Nazi’s with the help of the left. It then on the left with a vengeance.

An HUAC investigation of pernicious foreign influences would find it hard to avoid identifying the Israel lobby and Gaffney himself.

One wonders what constitutes “un-American Activities” in our multicultural post-patriotic society? Is La Raza Un-American? How about AIPAC? Precisely who or what IS considered American now? Damned if I know any more.

#5 Comment By Philip Giraldi On December 12, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

Good question Mr. Cheeseman. I think the problem of Islam in Europe is that the immigration took place too fast and in too large numbers to assimilate, creating ghettos where it was no longer desirable or even necessary to become more like the French or Dutch. One might reasonably argue that uncontrolled Hispanic immigration into the US has created a similar problem, though without some of the cultural aspects. I believe that anyone who emigrates to another country must play by the rules of that country. Period. If a Muslim or anyone else who chooses to live under our laws tries to limit one’s free speech, a woman’s right to an education, or toleration of other religions he will be seen as breaking the law and should be sent back to his country of origin. I would note that Muslims in the United States often remain religious but have generally been very successful both economically and socially. I would also note that in my opinion fundamentalist religious views, be they Islamic, Christian, or Jewish, tend to lead to intolerance of other views so it is not a problem unique to Muslims. Note how many Christian evangelicals react to teaching evolution in schools.

#6 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 12, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

Well, evolution is not a fact – but a theory. That is of course another matter.

I have spent several years amongst the Muslims and there is one recurrent theme. And I find that theme troubling. They seem particularly concerned that Mohhammehd, be treated with a respect, not even used to protect God himself.
I have yet to address the matter of Mohhammehd, without some critique or correction about – giving Mohhamehd his due as the founder of Islam. When so offended, these conversations begin with, “Don’t you think that proper respect for Mohhamehd should be observed by all —?”

Uhhhh . . . Only by those who want to so demonstrate respect.

This theme is consistent and persistent. And while, I am not afraid of Muslims per se, it seems, one needs to make it clear to them — In te United States, Mohhamehd and his folowers are going to have to take their blows just as Jesus, Buuhhdda, and other holy leaders and their followers take theirs.

And byu the Welcome to the United States — We’re wonderful people — but we can be an offensive lot — and it’s legal, ” . . . and likely to remain so . . .”

#7 Comment By Tom Browne On December 12, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

Fascinating. “Islamophobia” occurred in a vacuum ? Is it treatable ? Should it be treated ? Is it phobia, or neurosis ? Following the air piracy, and mass murder, promulgated by Islamic practitioners, and a plethora of examples of endemic barbarism, we are accused of mental disorder ? Forgive me for not buying into it. The comparison of fundamental Islam to fundamental anything else doesn’t wash, and a healthy suspicion of anything Islamic doesn’t rise to the level of a phobia. It’s a position founded on observation, and body count, and it’s been unfolding in front of our eyes for a long time. Phobia ? Really ?

#8 Comment By Philip Giraldi On December 12, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

Tom – I suppose it would be naïve on my part to suggest that there is a certain cause and effect operating here where repeated interventions, bombings, border realignments and regime changes initiated by the west and Israel might just have resulted in a violent reaction from those who are being bombed, realigned,and intervened against? What would you do if you were on the receiving end? I suppose that in your mind they are only doing it because Islam gives them a certain malignancy that folks like Anders Breivik and Baruch Goldstein do not share because they are respectively Christian and Jewish. Blaming whole groups of people for crimes committed by the few is convenient but it is also ultimately a cop-out and self-defeating. If you don’t want to call its political manifestation a phobia that is your call. You might want to instead consider it a form of racism.

#9 Comment By Paul Emmons On December 12, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

I’ve yet to see a convincing debunking of Bruce Bawer’s reportage, although his first book on the subject (While Europe Slept) is not as well footnoted as one would like. His narrative is alarming, at least as concerns Europe.
I’d urge caution, admitting Muslim (or probably Muslim) immigrants in digestible numbers and ensuring that assimilation in fact occurs.

As suspicious as Bawer is of Islamists, he also explains that the Dutch’s problems are partly of their own making, in that they do not expect assimilation as we do in America. The policy is “pillarization”, which is like saying “you’re welcome to live among us, but don’t expect ever to become one of us.” It might have been a good adaptation to more local circumstances; but applied to such an exotic people as Middle-Eastern Muslims, its combination of live-and-let live masking a determined stand-offishness and snobbery (which not even a European or American immigrant can ever fully overcome) allows incompatibilities to fester. Hence it is apparently not at all unusual there to speak of a “third-generation immigrant” a term which would probably elicit double-takes in the U.S. That would include my own mother (from Germany), but she never thought of herself as German, or even German-American. She was American, from birth and full stop.

We expect anyone moving to America permanently to become an American, and at our best we sincerely and totally accept them when they do so, or at least keep trying.
It might sound like an arrogant and imperialistic approach, but there is great charity underneath. In some European countries the charity is all on the surface, and when one scratches it one finds an implacable contempt. I like our way better, and dare to hope that it will continue stand us in good stead.

#10 Comment By Clamdigger On December 12, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

I would guess Tom isn’t aware that the Muslims in the United States seem to live quite well with everyone else, similar to other immigrants and various groups.

Gee, I don’t see Dearborn in the news every night for riots and bombings. Am I missing something?

I would echo ‘You might want to instead consider it a form of racism’.

I was recently re-watching some You-Tubes of national services at National Cathedral. Hmmm, Iman’s, Arab’s in headdress sitting cheek-by jowl next to Christians, Jews, non-believers. Giving prayers from the pulpit. Wow. That’s America, Tom. If you wish to be ‘phobic’ perhaps this isn’t the place for you.

#11 Comment By Globalmitch On December 12, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

@ EliteCommInc. “Well, evolution is not a fact – but a theory. That is of course another matter.”

This is a common misunderstanding (or distortion) of scientific language amongst those hostile to some of the conclusions science presents. Gravity is also just a “theory”…

#12 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 12, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

Excuse my biting at the apple . . . I hav no intention of straying further.

#13 Comment By Harry Beadle On December 12, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

I’m not sure reviving the House Un-American Activities Committee would be a good thing. But what even many conservatives don’t want to remember is that while Sen. Joe McCarthy was a drunk and a bully — he was also right.

#14 Comment By TomB On December 12, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

Of course Tom Browne has point about the extremism of some Islamists. But he misses another, bigger point entirely:

Almost invariably militant movements—and I mean them all, including for example the American revolutionaries opposing Mad King George—start with “extremists.” It’s only natural.

And it’s only natural the those who they attack try to distract from any legitimacy their claims may have by pointing at the extremists, and then saying that anyone and everyone on their side is extremist.

Both as a matter of strict logic and common sense though this can’t be right to any great degree: As opposed to all the American colonists willing to fight Great Britain being extremists, at some point they became the mainstream, right?

So what of our troubles in the Islamic countries? It is really just a small group of “extremists” we have trouble with?

I say … hasn’t that (self-serving) claim graduated from merely being blind to now being belly-laughable, especially by people like Gafney and other neo-cons.

After all, if our problem is just limited to a few, how come we had to damn near *flood* Iraq with troops, and then surge ’em again—all as per what the neo-cons *themselves* were saying was necessary to put the boot on the neck of the clearly hostile population.

And how come we’ve been having this wee bit of trouble all over that sizable chunk of real estate called Afghanistan? (Not to mention NW Pakistan?) How come it hasn’t just been a police action to clean up the few baddies?

And then, gee, we’re told that these supposedly small-numbered extremists are so numerous we gotta be drone-and-otherwise-whacking ’em in … Yemen, and Somalia, and Pakistan, and the Sudan, and God knows where all else. (Not to mention near nuking Iran.)

With all due respect, Tom, taking your perspective just one step further is the absolutely classic way that countries and peoples have put their hands and arms and indeed whole bodies into meat grinders: View one’s enemies as few, and as not being reflective of any popular support or sympathy. And exaggerate one’s own friends and allies, particularly those close to the action.

All the Tommy’s, remember, marching happily off to what was gonna be that short little war with the Kaiser. Those few Green Berets at first, all that was gonna be needed to handle that teensy little conspiracy of North Vietnamese, particularly with the help of all those South Vietnamese who were gonna so be our friends and fight so valiantly beside us.

Or .. all those “friendly” Afghan forces, shooting our guys in the back and lobbing grenades into their tents at night.

Of course in the face of the massive anger/hatred/whatever of the U.S. in the Islamic world the Gafneys and the neo-cons have had to shift their rhetoric a bit: Listen with a close ear and it’s no longer just “extremists” we are supposed to fight, it’s *Islam* itself, and by definition all moslems.

Well well well, I think one might then reasonably ask: Just who are the “extremists” now? *Not* the Gafney’s who go about studiously ignoring the fact that for damn near the entire history of the U.S. we got along fine with the moslem world, and indeed were admired by it for our anti-colonial stance?

*Not* the Gafney’s who go about also studiously ignoring the express words of people like bin Laden, and too the pleas of the more moderate moslems to simply modify our policies?

After all it’s *they* who are out there essentially urging the U.S. be at war with a full 26% of the world’s population, spread all over the globe, with our only ally being … tiny Israel, who it seems we can never actually *use* in our fights with Islam because we want pretend that no, we are not carrying its water.

Who then are the real extremists now, Tom?

#15 Comment By William Dalton On December 12, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

Today I got email from Rand Paul soliciting funds to assist his fight to stop foreign aid being given to Morsi’s Egypt, waving the bloody flag of Shariah law as something Morsi is “imposing” on the Egyptian people in his new Constitution. I understand Rand Paul’s aversion to foreign aid, but the proper basis is grounded in the philosophy of his father – who recognizes that foreign aid is used by American governments to influence events in the countries of the recipients, the first step in an inevitable progress that results in military interventions when events in countries in which we “have invested” do not go to our liking.

Shariah law has been part of the Constitution of every Egyptian government in the modern era. It is to Muslims peoples what the English Common Law is to the people of the U.K., the U.S.A., and the nations of the British Commonwealth. Shariah law is historically and philosophically the equivalent of the Mosaic Code and the Code of Hammurabi, both of which are considered to be among the foundation stones of the American Legal System. The acknowledgment of Shariah law in any Arab Constitution is no more a warrant for the imposition of religious codes in the Muslim East today than is the acknowledgment that the Old Testament is the Word of God leads devout Christians and Jews in America to impose on themselves the statutes of Leviticus.

However, the more the West seeks to make a fight over Shariah and other Muslim traditions, the more they will be adhered to and defended, just as we resurrect and reinforce our old traditions when they are attacked. No one wants someone else telling them what to do, and they will resist doing so, even those things to which they might otherwise be well disposed.

#16 Comment By TomB On December 12, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

EliteComminc wrote:

“I have spent several years amongst the Muslims and there is one recurrent theme. And I find that theme troubling. They seem particularly concerned that Mohhammehd, be treated with a respect, not even used to protect God himself….”

Having just unburdened myself of too long screed already I still can’t help observing that some of us—including some non-believers like myself—wish that we could discern *any* theme much less a recurring one of mainstream Christians in *this* country demanding respect for their religion.

As opposed, that is, to essentially accepting the constant, implacable and yet still welcomed and applauded ridicule that we’ve seen expressed towards it since the Sixties (really getting its head of steam up with the abortion issue) from a rather large slice of the cultural/media/entertainment world in this country.

(P.S.: And as Globalmitch observed, evolution is a fact; it’s the mechanisms of same—including even the vastly-evidenced idea of natural selection that Darwin hit upon—that are theories.)

#17 Comment By Thomas Cheeseman On December 12, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

Mr. Giraldi,
I certainly agree that in the US, Muslim have integrated. My question is, when you say Islamophobia is a Republican Value, what do you mean exactly? Are you saying opposing Islam in the US and claiming that it is currently a threat is Islamiphobic? If so, then I don’t disagree at all. However, if you are saying that Islam in it’s current manifestation in the Middle East shouldn’t be viewed with a skeptical lens, then I would like a little more information. Would you disagree with the position that the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamism are conducive to superpowers of the left? That is to say, would you disagree that Turkey is becoming less secular and that governments in Libya and Egypt, unless met with substantive resistance, are likely to produce Totalitarian regimes that would like to spread Sharia? Look at what has occurred in Egypt, which in some ways is similar to the French Revolution, in that what some viewed as a pleasant change towards liberty may result in a more extreme dictatorship. Is this in any way traceable to Islam in it’s current manifestation? As long as interpretations are frozen in the tenth century, rather than embracing the interpretations of Arabic Aristotelians, the Middle East is not compatible with Liberal democracy. So my question is, should a realist be very skeptical about political movements in the Middle East given the current historical context. In this sense, people like Geert Wilders, who are normally called Islmaophobes, do have a point. I disagree with Geert Wilders, in that I believe Islam could be changed over time to fit better with liberal democracy and that it would probably be in a different for than Western Liberal democracy, but none the less I am very skeptical about Islam now and don’t trust their political motives in the Middle East. Does that make me an Islamophobe according to your definition?

#18 Comment By Good and Plenty On December 13, 2012 @ 12:22 am

“Gaffney’s belief that the United States will soon be overwhelmed by “creeping shariah” is reflected in his call on Congress to revive the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in an effort to “root out” Islamist Operatives.”

Gaffney and many of his associates would be natural targets for a revived committee on un-American affairs. I can’t believe he doesn’t realize that.

#19 Comment By Philip Giraldi On December 13, 2012 @ 6:52 am

Mr. Cheeseman: I agree with nearly everything you have written. Everyone should be skeptical of nearly all political “movements” because they have a tendency to merely exchange one group of autocrats for another. By all means we should be careful about what we are getting with the Arab Spring. And, indeed, liberal democracy is a value that might not fit well with many of those engaged in political Islam because their view of the proper role of religion within the state is dramatically different than the western concept. My point about the Republicans is that they are massively ignorant about foreign policy in general, leading them to latch on to and magnify foreign threats as rallying points. Slamming Islam and Sharia seem to be the current fashion.

#20 Comment By NGPM On December 13, 2012 @ 8:14 am

My point about the Republicans is that they are massively ignorant about foreign policy in general, leading them to latch on to and magnify foreign threats as rallying points.

Obviously. But I think what is objectionable is the term “Islamophobia,” as though to be skeptical of the salutary effects of Islam were some pathological condition.

For the record:

– I think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were huge mistakes and stoked the flames of Islamic revival worldwide.
– I think intervention on behalf of democratic (i.e., popularly elected) militant Islamic movements in the Arab Spring was misguided.
– In general, the U.S. spends far too much money on foreign aid and military intervention.

On the other hand:

– I do not think it is possible or desirable for Western countries to “integrate” Muslim immigrants.
– I want a halt and so far as it is possible reversal of Islamic immigration in the West.
– While I believe our current frameworks make for leaders who lack the requisite courage, I do not believe we would necessarily need to set “worrisome precedents” by executing such discrimination and reversal (not anymore than Ferdinand and Isabella did, and certainly not anymore than what Muslims have done to Christians in Iraq–and yes, the U.S. may have provoked that, but the Muslims were the ones who did it, so let’s clean up our own conduct but not make excuses for savage behavior).
– I treat Muslims civilly in my day to day ongoings but I would never fully trust one and I would disinherit any child of mine who married a Muslim.

So am I an “Islamophobe”? Could someone prescribe CBT for that? (In the near future, who knows, it might become obligatory.)

Other points for consideration:

– Is Rand Paul wrong for opposing a regime change in Egypt that may well prove fatal for its besieged Coptic Christian minority on those grounds? Or must he oppose aid on the basis of some fantastical isolationist idealism (see below) and this reason ALONE and never cite the negative consequences for civilization other than the fact of U.S. getting sucked in?
– The U.S. has NEVER been an isolationist country. In light of the fact that we have aided and abetted rebellion in other European colonies against mother countries from the very beginning, it is both disingenuous and blind-sighted to retroactively re-interpret in an anachronistic fashion warnings against “entanglements in Europe” in the 20th and 21st centuries. There are many practical reasons to oppose much of current U.S. policy. Strict isolationists – especially those who go so far as to disavow the wisdom of U.S. participation in World War II – make a mockery of sensible notions.
– The idea that “the more the West seeks to make a fight over Shariah and other Muslim traditions, the more they will be adhered to and defended” ignores the fact that the West HAS bolstered Islamic revival DIRECTLY, many times over, since the 1970’s-1980’s debacle in Afghanistan. The policy seems to have been that democratic is preferable to undemocratic but secular to Islamic, although the former trumps the latter and the need to vanquish Communism trumped both. It was an unwise policy for many reasons.

#21 Comment By Scott Lahti On December 13, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

“I want a halt and so far as it is possible reversal of Islamic immigration in the West.”

I want a pony.

“I treat Muslims civilly in my day to day ongoings”

Mighty Christian of you, squire.

“but I would never fully trust one and I would disinherit any child of mine who married a Muslim”

At which point, I stopped reading and thanked the writer for saving me valuable time on future threads I’d otherwise never get back.

Every Thanksgiving, after the pumpkin pie and before the Candy Samples (on video, not in a dish) I like to kneel down before my Sean Hannity Shakes Hands With Jesus night-light and, wiping a tear from my middle eye, give thanks for the fact that we live in One Nation Under a Groove (I split my ticket right after my pants in ’92 in bending over forwards to cast my vote for George Clinton) whose commitment to free speech is so robust that one may say things about Muslims in broad daylight and with no Amish-style shunning whatever of sorts that, if said about Jews or blacks, would quite properly get the speaker ridden out of polite society on a rail for good and all, yea, unto the seventh son of a seventh son, and otherwise teased in perpetuity and without mercy every day this side of his eventual confinement to the psychotic ward at Bellevue.

#22 Comment By Scott Lahti On December 13, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

Mr. Giraldi deserves some kind of prize for having submitted his post at just the right minute. Now if he can just – in the presumed absence of a cure for death announced some time prior to the end of an ideally Barzunesque lifespan – get an heir to so post here again at 1:01 am on January 1, 2101, he’ll have the five-slot AmCon time-stamp slot machine in a virtual one-armed lock – until challenged the next time mere 397 days later, two hours and two minutes into the State of the Union blog for February 2, 2102.

#23 Comment By NGPM On December 14, 2012 @ 5:25 am

… and yet, Mr. Lahti seemed to think it worth his time to type such an intricate and convoluted response to/mockery of someone (me) he considers fit for the loony bin. I personally find that hilarious.