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Anti-Muslim round-up: 3/26/18

The following is a list of activities and events of anti-Muslim organizations. Organizations listed as anti-Muslim hate groups are designated with an asterisk (*).

National groups

A number of anti-Muslim groups supported the move by President Trump to appoint former CIA director Mike Pompeo to a cabinet-level position as Secretary of State. Pompeo is a longtime ally of anti-Muslim hate groups including ACT for America* and Center for Security Policy (CSP)*. Ryan Mauro, writing for his organization the Clarion Project* asserted that Pompeo “gets it” on the issue of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Such a move would amount to a powerful political win for America’s anti-Muslim movement, whose leaders have worked tirelessly to smear American Muslim civic organizations, in particular the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), by calling them  “fronts” for the Brotherhood, who anti-Muslim groups claim are involved in a grand plan for “civilization jihad” ––  a clandestine effort to overthrow America from within. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch* called Pompeo’s appointment, “very good news,” in a blog post that concluded, “The swamp needs draining indeed. Maybe Pompeo will start this all-important work.”

On February 27, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC)* published an amicus curiae (“friend of the court) brief in support of Trump’s “extreme vetting” policy. The brief was drafted by AFLC’s legal counsel David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise and included several petitioners who have advocated on behalf of anti-Muslim hate including Frank Gaffney, Andrew C. McCarthy, William “Jerry” Boykin and others.

CSP released two monographs recently, on February 28 and March 13. The first, titled, The Islamist Influence in Hollywood, was penned by Deborah Weiss, a longtime Gaffney ally. The monograph promotes a regular CSP conspiracy theory, namely that the Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to subvert all aspects of American society from within, including Hollywood, as part of its grand plan to overthrow the United States government. The second monograph, The Coming North American Nuclear Nightmare, was authored by CSP vice president for policy and programs, Fred Fleitz. On March 14, Fleitz, Gaffney and CSP’s Clare Lopez announced the findings of the book in a live stream on Facebook. Fleitz’s book focuses on CSP’s “peace through strength” agenda, praising president Trump for his policy decisions regarding North Korea to date, while lambasting the Obama administration for being “weak.”

The first half of March has seen several high-profile anti-Muslim voices hitting the speaking circuit. Understanding The Threat’s* Chris Gaubatz, who is notorious for stealing thousands of pages of legal documents from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights organization, while posing as an intern, spoke in New York state on March 5.

On March 10. CSP’s Clare Lopez spoke at the fourth annual Palmetto Panel, an annual conservative gathering in South Carolina where Rep. Jeff Duncan spoke. Duncan has recently made anti-Muslim statements online, as well as previously participated in ACT for America’s* national conference. That same day at a separate event, Kamal Saleem, a self-proclaimed “ex-terrorist” turned anti-Muslim speaker, spoke in Glendale, Arizona, and, among many other things in his presentation, claimed that “Islam is at war with Christians/Jews.”

From March 12 to 14 anti-Muslim speaker and Christian pastor Shahram Hadian, head of the anti-Muslim Truth in Love Project* spoke at the Chafer Theological Seminary to discuss Islam. According to the event webpage, the purpose of Hadian participation was to inform attendees, “about Islam and the direction of modern Islamic movements. It is vital for Bible-believing Christians to be informed for the dual purpose of evangelism, as well as the political and civil decisions that must be made in relation to Islamic immigration.”

Local groups

On March 4, two individuals with ties to a local group called Patriot Movement AZ (PMAZ), Elizabeth Dauenhauer and Tahnee Gonzales, filmed themselves and children accompanying them, trespassing at a local mosque in Tempe, Arizona, and taking literature from a gated-off area of the facility, constituting a burglary. At the time of the incident, PMAZ had considered Dauenhauer to be a member, but not Gonzales, who, in a previous incident, had harassed Deedra Abboud, a candidate for U.S. Senate who happens to be Muslim.  

On March 8, David Bores, a retired law enforcement officer with a history of anti-Muslim hate speech and activity, was scheduled to give a training to officers at the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia. The ACLU of Georgia noted that Bores’ presentation, which had been delivered elsewhere and approved by the Georgia state Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council, “was riddled with misrepresentations of Muslims and Islam, unsubstantiated statistics and images of nonwhite men, representing them as ‘rapists’ or ‘violent’”. In the midst of public outcry, the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office, reversing an earlier promise to open the training the public, sought to bar CAIR, the ACLU, and Muslims from attending the event. The day after the training was held, POST executive director Ken Vance said Bores’ training would be re-evaluated and that it would not count toward credit. Not surprisingly national anti-Muslim hate group CSP sought to weigh in on the controversy and defend Bores’ training.

On March 13, the U.S. Department of Justice announced they arrested and charged three men, Michael B. Hari, Joe Morris, and Michael McWhorter with the 2017 bombings of a Minnesota mosque, as well as an Illinois women’s health clinic. One of the suspects, Hari, appears to be the leader of a group called “White Rabbit Three Percent Illinois Patriot Freedom Fighters Militia,” a reference to the far-right anti-government Three Percenter militia movement.

State legislation

Earlier this year Idaho state representative Eric Redman re-introduced a so-called “anti-Sharia” bill he has tried and failed to pass on two prior occasions. An SPLC investigation first published on February 12, uncovered ties between Redman and anti-Muslim groups such as ACT for America, Center for Security Policy and American Public Policy Alliance*. The 2018 version of Redman’s anti-Sharia bill, HB 419, passed the House chamber on February 20 and currently remains in the Senate.

On February 5, the SPLC published an investigation uncovering ties between Maine state representative Heather Sirocki and the anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America, and their support for Sirocki’s anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) bill. Since then, Sirocki’s bill has met substantial resistance from lawmakers and the broader Maine public. As recently as February 26, lawmakers heard testimony in favor and against the bill. However there has been no reported activity related to the bill since then.

In their own words

  • Deborah Weiss, author of the recent CSP monograph, Islamist Influence in Hollywood: “The West is in a war with the Global Jihad Movement. It is primarily a war of ideas, and the mind is the battlefield. Muslim Brotherhood front-groups have targeted Hollywood as one of many vehicles through which to conduct its civilization jihad. That they have left no sphere of society untouched and no stone unturned is evidence of the thoroughness of their strategy to subvert western society from within. Islamist influence in Hollywood abounds, and it would be a grave mistake to assume that it is innocuous. Its impact will have a reverberating and deleterious effect for generations to come unless it is acknowledged, confronted and countered.”
  • AFLC amicus curiae brief in support of President Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” policy: “The Court must recognize that Islam, while it has plenty of diversity, has a mainstream strain — sharia supremacism — that is less a religion than it is a totalitarian political ideology hiding under a religious veneer.”
  • ACT for America circulated an email, with the headline, “RISE AND ALIGN: A Defense of Western Civilization,” to its supporters on March 10 attacking those on the left and sounding a number of racist dog whistles. “They’re in it for the end goal of one, open borders, leftist utopia, and the total destruction of the Judeo-Christian values that Western civilization was built upon.” The email later went on to say, “we’re going to rise not just in defense of this Nation, but for the values and way of life our enemies are seeking to destroy.” The use of anti-immigrant, McCarthyite, and “civilizational crisis” rhetoric of the email is a somewhat watered-down version of the “white genocide” narrative that white supremacist movements use to say that the white race is under attack due to immigration and changing demographics in Western nations.

Upcoming events

On March 27, U.K.-based far-right anti-Muslim provocateur and former Daily Mail newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins will be giving a talk at the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC). Hopkins had left the Daily Mail “by mutual consent” after giving an inflammatory and anti-Muslim speech a few months earlier at the DHFC, calling London Mayor Sadiq Khan the “Muslim mayor of Londonistan,” said U.K. political institutions were controlled by a “Muslim mafia,” and called for people to “commit to arm ourselves, not just with the help of the NRA.”

On April 21, Will Johnson, a far-right activist and founder of Unite America First, will be organizing an event in Dearborn, Michigan, to speak about the “unconstitutionality, lawlessness, and infiltration of Sharia Law” in the United States. (Dearborn has one of the largest Middle Eastern and Muslim populations in the United States.) The event will feature a line-up of high-profile anti-Muslim speakers, including Aynaz “Anni” Cyrus, Usama Dakdok, Farrah Prudence and Sandra Solomon.

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