Family Security Matters
Family Security Matters (FSM) started in 2003 as a de facto extension of the anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy (CSP), before becoming an independent organization in 2005. Like CSP, FSM has a long history of espousing anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and painting Muslims as criminals.
For example, a 2016 article on the FSM website stated bluntly, "Fighting and attacking others with knives and other sharp objects appears to be in the Muslim DNA." FSM's longtime president Carol Taber was also a vocal proponent of the racist "Birther" conspiracy theory.
In its own words
“It is estimated that, by the end of this century, in the absence of some unforeseen divine intervention, Muslims will exceed 50 percent of the world's population. But long before that time, it is reasonable to assume that most of 21st century Western civilization will have become unraveled and our descendants will find themselves facing a squalid 7th century lifestyle.”
— Paul Hollrah, FSM contributor, March 13, 2017
“This is understandable because, given the penchant of Muslims for hacking, stabbing, or slashing non-Muslims with knives, axes, machetes, and other sharp instruments, it's only natural that Ms. Muhammad would gravitate toward the fencing competition. Fighting and attacking others with knives and other sharp objects appears to be in the Muslim DNA.”
— Paul Hollrah, FSM contributor, August 17, 2016
“Even if Islam is temporarily chastened by the loss of millions, they will lick their wounds for a time and then they'll be back with even greater bloodlust than before.”
— Paul Hollrah, FSM contributor, March 2, 2016
“For over two years, I have been privy to private investigators' files, have seen private investigations of other private investigations, have done my own research -- and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are two crucial problems with President Obama's life documents.”
— Carol Taber, FSM President and contributor, April 19, 2011
“The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead.”
— Philip Atkinson, FSM contributor, August 3, 2007
- FSM serves as a repository for the writings of key players in the anti-Muslim movement, including Frank Gaffney and Brigitte Gabriel many who represent hate groups.
- Published alongside works by these hate group leaders are pieces by members of anti-LGBT hate groups and one known white nationalist, Robert Weissberg. Columns by some of FSM's regular contributors contain blatant anti-Muslim hate speech that is heard more often in white nationalist circles. FSM's ties to white nationalism are a microcosm of the larger anti-Muslim movement.
- FSM contributors often amplify and reinforce the talking points and issues de jour of the broader anti-Muslim movement, such as opposing Syrian refugee relocation to the United States and vocally supporting President Trump's attempted Muslim bans.
Founded in 2003, Family Security Matters (FSM) began its institutional history closely tied to the anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy (CSP). Although billed as a “partnership,” CSP’s relationship with FSM was, in fact, one-sided; FSM was created with the initial intent to amplify CSP’s ideological narrative. As the CSP’s 2003 annual report read:
The Center for Security Policy has established a partnership with the Family Security Group (FSG) led by Carol Taber, one of the Nation’s premier publishing professionals … The goal is to empower the public to play the role it must if the United States is to be made as secure as possible in an increasingly dangerous world. It will do so via: an interactive website, a newsletter entitled Family Security Matters, aggressive research, polling and public relations and community-oriented outreach programs. Through the effective use of such tools, the CSP-FSG team has the potential to add enormously to the policy impact of the Center’s educational mission.
Carol Taber, FSM’s longtime leader, described how the “partnership” apparently came to fruition in a 2004 piece on the FSM website: “Last year, I heard its president, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. (a former Assistant Secretary of Defense) give a speech that deeply inspired me to serve my country by using my experience as a publisher of women's magazines to communicate to American women what we need to know. The truth is that America does need to ensure our national security by hunting down these truly evil extremists and destroying them. Defensive action alone simply cannot protect our children and the free society we want them to inherit."
The benefits to the “partnership” for CSP seemed obvious. Gaffney’s think tank would be able to tap into the “security mom” demographic — which was credited with helping the GOP make huge gains in the 2002 midterm election. Taber was a prominent voice in these circles and appeared on Fox News in 2004 where she defined a security mom: “When they go to the polls, they have the number one concern: the safety and security of their children. And they're going to be voting on this issue.”
In August of 2004, CSP described FSM as “a new organization dedicated to informing women about the issues and solutions concerning our national security, and how women can enhance our country’s efforts to keep our children and families safe and secure.”
In reality, however, at least in the initial years, FSM was a front group for CSP. Both CSP and FSM shared an address and, according to Media Matters for America, a phone number. James DeGraffenreid, the former chairman of CSP’s board and who served on it until late 2017, is currently listed on FSM’s board of advisors. When the group formed, Amanda Bowman served first as executive director of FSM’s parent company, Family Security Network, before joining the FSM board. She also worked as a consultant for CSP.
Gaffney’s group was already 15 years old by the time the FSM “partnership” was formed. Initially, CSP was seen as a fringe hawkish organization that favored the so-called “peace through strength” doctrine popularized by President Reagan. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the CSP never left its Cold War mentality, and instead shifted its focus from battling Communism to fighting Islam writ-large, not just violent extremists claiming to act in its name.
Pieces on the FSM website certainly sought to supplement CSP’s vocal support of the war. “The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead,” wrote FSM contributor Phil Atkinson in a piece that was later scrubbed from the FSM website. In 2004, one of the earliest archived versions of the FSM website contains a section titled, “The Truth About Iraq and Al-Qaeda” which was complete with articles from around the web in favor of the invasion of Iraq with titles such as, “The ‘Bush Lied’ Crowd is Way Off Base.”
Also in 2004, FSM joined CSP’s “Divest Terror” campaign. According to a press release on the CSP website, the campaign is “a nationwide grassroots divestment campaign aimed at some 400 public companies worldwide that are providing revenues, technology and moral cover to governments that sponsor terrorism. The primary objective of this campaign is to call on America’s public and private pension plans, college endowments and individual investors to divest themselves of all publicly traded companies that operate in terrorist-sponsoring states.”
Additionally, CSP launched a report claiming that some $200 billion was invested in companies that “prop up terrorist-sponsoring regimes,” such as Siemens and Hyundai. Taber backed the report in a CSP press release, stating, "Our time has come. Women are saying they want to help, just as their own mothers and grandmothers did during WWII. This initiative has given them their venue. While we are shocked to learn what’s in this Report, this is an issue that will galvanize women because it provides them with an opportunity to actually DO something that will cripple the terrorists who wish to do us harm. We want to get the information out to women and urge them to take action now." It appears the campaign was largely unsuccessful, with apparently only the state of Missouri changing its investment portfolio.
In the 10-plus years since establishing itself as a non-profit, FSM has slowly built up a significant roster of anti-Muslim figures and published thousands of pieces by these and other authors. Some in the list below have less than a half-dozen pieces to their fame on the FSM website, while others have many more. Frank Gaffney, for example, has at least 175 pieces published on FSM’s website, where the list of authors reads like a “who’s who” of the established anti-Muslim movement in the United States.
Anti-Muslim authors on the FSM website include:
- Frank Gaffney, founder of CSP, who is the mastermind behind the conspiracy that the Muslim Brotherhood is actively seeking to infiltrate all areas of American society. In a 2013 FSM column, he wrote, “We know for a fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has as its mission the worldwide imposition of Islam's toxic, brutally repressive and anti-constitutional supremacist doctrine known as Shariah. And yes, it means here, too.”
- Daniel Greenfield, a blogger supported by anti-Muslim funder David Horowitz. As Greenfield wrote in November 2017 on the FSM website, “A typical excuse is that Muslims will use "Allahu Akbar" to celebrate a good event. What this excuse misses though is that Islam is a supremacist religion. And Muslims believe that the good event that they are celebrating is due to being the only ones who truly worship "Allah". That's a common religious belief. And they are entitled to it. But the problem is that this relationship rests heavily on Jihad.”
- Clare Lopez is another CSP staffer who trains law enforcement. Lopez also has a long and sordid history of anti-Muslim sentiments. In a 2011 column on the FSM website, Lopez refers to the TV series “All American Muslim,” writing, “The program’s storyline is also problematic on multiple levels. It at once promotes the all-American image of Islam that TLC is looking for and yet subtly reinforces basic Islamic fundamentals. For instance, one of the main characters is the former Roman Catholic, Jeff McDermott, who converts to Islam so that he can marry Shadia Amen, Suehaila’s sister and daughter of one of the five families featured in the program. Not made clear is whether McDermott actually understands that his new faith commands him to wage jihad against his former one. Nor does the program address what would happen to him if he ever has second thoughts about his conversion or decides he’s made a mistake and wants to return to the Catholic faith.”
- Ryan Mauro, a former national security analyst and contributor to FSM until 2014 who now works at the anti-Muslim hate group Clarion Project. In a 2012 article on FSM’s website, Mauro propagated the “no-go zone” conspiracy theory, writing, “There are at least 751 Muslim-majority "Sensitive Urban Zones” in France, designated by the government for their instability. These areas are known for their overreactions often including destructive rioting. Even emergency personnel like firemen require police backup before entering.”
- Robert Spencer is the founder of “Jihad Watch,” one of the most popular anti-Muslim blogs online. Jihad Watch is supported by the anti-Muslim hate group David Horowitz Freedom Center. In April of 2014, Spencer decried a move by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for ending large-scale spying on American Muslims by the New York Police Department. Spencer quipped, “As I show in my book Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We're In, this NYPD program had been under fire for several years for "profiling" Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey - that is, for operating on the assumption that communities of Muslims might be more likely to plot a terror attack than, say, communities of Amish, or bowling leagues. Despite cries of rage from leftist and Islamic supremacist groups, this was a sensible assumption, born of long experience.”
- Brigitte Gabriel is the founder of ACT for America, the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the country, is listed as an FSM contributor. A screed co-authored with Frank Gaffney lambasts the American Muslim civil rights organization Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its vocal stance against the introduction of anti-Sharia bills in the United States. The article reads, “CAIR's real motivation, however, is not to safeguard the U.S. Constitution, but rather to promote the insinuation here of Shariah, a totalitarian Islamic political-military-legal doctrine. Shariah requires and enforces discrimination against women, children, homosexuals, atheists, members of other religions such as Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, as well as Muslims who repudiate the dictates of that doctrine.”
- Walid Shoebat is an extremist on the fringes of the anti-Muslim movement due to his outlandish conspiracy theories and runs the anti-Muslim hate group the Shoebat Foundation with his son, Theodore. Shoebat claimed in one FSM piece that Muslims were in fact behind the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the murder of Michael Brown. “The Ferguson riots as we shall see here were pushed and organized by Muslim fundamentalists in America,” read the Shoebat piece.
FSM’s contributor list also contains white nationalist Robert Weissberg, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Illinois. According to the FSM website, Weissberg has contributed a total of 67 articles dating back to 2009. Weissberg is a regular speaker at white nationalist events, including the annual American Renaissance (AMREN) and H.L. Mencken Club conferences. AMREN is run by Jared Taylor, one of the most influential white nationalists of the past three decades. In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, Taylor wrote in the now-defunct AMREN journal, "Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears." Weissberg, for his part, has referred to African Americans as “the stupid Black,” at the 2000 AMREN conference, and in 2012, he was fired from The National Review after it was revealed that he had spoken at the 2012 AMREN event where he “delivered a noxious talk about the future of white nationalism,” according to editor Rich Lowry. Weissberg is a regular at the Baltimore-based H.L. Mencken Club, co-founded by “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer.
While FSM functions as a group, with a board and advisory board, it as of late does not hold events and the organization goes little beyond its website. The site, however, followed the trajectory that the anti-Muslim movement has taken since the late 2000s, serving as a mouthpiece for the agendas of key anti-Muslim figures.
Stoking anti-Muslim hate during the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy
In 2010, when anti-Muslim bloggers Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller sounded the alarm about the creation of an Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan, pieces began to pop up on the FSM website decrying the idea. In June of 2010, contributor Edward Cline penned a piece titled, “The Insidious Ground Zero Mosque.”
In August of 2010, another FSM contributor, Gabriel Garnica, Esq., wrote, “Could it be that most Americans are against a Ground Zero mosque because it is a slap in the face to the memory of those who died there? Might the reason most Americans think that Obama is a Muslim stem from the fact that they see him defending, praising, justifying, and favoring this religion over all others, especially Christianity, and even over a basic respect for American patriotic values?” Also in August, FSM’s editor published an archive of 30 articles on the “Ground Zero Mosque” dating back to May that year.
Around the same time, CSP began pushing conspiracy theories that the Muslim Brotherhood attempting to overthrow the US government from within, and that Shariah Law is trumping the constitution in American courts. Not surprisingly, articles backing the CSP claims appeared on the FSM site in droves. Titles of these pieces included, “Is Sharia Law Inevitable in the West and America?,” “The Sharia-Math of Public Beheading,” and “Sharia Isn't Creeping Anymore. It's Galloping!”
Attacking Refugees and Advancing the Sharia “No-Go Zone” Myth
In recent years, as anti-Muslim groups spoke out against the relocation of Syrian refugees to the United States, capitalizing on increased media coverage of ISIS atrocities in the Middle East and Europe, and attempting to portray refugees as secret ISIS agents, FSM duly backed these claims. FSM contributors certainly haven’t been shy about their loathing of Syrian refugees. "The Syrian Refugee Crisis is Not Our Problem," “Uncle Sam’s Screening of Syria refugees is a pathetic joke,” and, “NATO Commander: ISIS 'Spreading Like Cancer' Among Refugees,” are just three titles of FSM pieces deriding Syrians.
In March, 2017, FSM columnist Paul Hollrah, writing about the “Trojan Horse” of “terrorism,” gave his twisted view of the future of the West due to refugees, “It is estimated that, by the end of this century, in the absence of some unforeseen divine intervention, Muslims will exceed 50 percent of the world's population. But long before that time, it is reasonable to assume that most of 21st century Western civilization will have become unraveled and our descendants will find themselves facing a squalid 7th century lifestyle.”
Though not all anti-Muslim figures were convinced about Donald Trump at the start of the 2016 election campaign, their support increased, and they rejoiced at his victory in November. FSM columnists followed suit both during the campaign and since, notably praising Trump’s Muslim bans and other nativist policy decisions. In fact, some in the Trump administration are actually FSM contributors. Walid Phares, who sat on Trump’s National Security Advisory Committee, contributed nearly 150 articles to FSM between 2008 and 2017. Pete Hokestra, the former congressman tapped by Trump to serve as his Ambassador to the Netherlands, has contributed 13 pieces to FSM. As ambassador, Hokestra was forced to apologize after a Dutch journalist confronted him with his anti-Muslim lies about so-called “no-go zones” in that country.