Anti-Muslim roundup: 6/5/18

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

National group activity

On May 29, National Security Advisor John Bolton, the former chairman of the Gatestone Institute, an organization known for spreading anti-Muslim conspiracies, named Fred Fleitz as his new chief of staff of the National Security Council. Fleitz is a longtime staffer at the Center for Security Policy*, an organization whose members, including its president Frank Gaffney, have also peddled anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. As Fleitz said in a January 2017 interview on Breitbart radio:

It’s certainly true there are some communities in the United States that have not assimilated. I’m not concerned about Amish or Jewish communities, but I will tell you that there are enclaves of Muslim communities in Michigan and Minnesota that concern me. We know that in Minnesota there’s a rising rate of measles because the community has not assimilated into the rest of the community, and is not vaccinating their children. This is wrong. This is a big problem. The problem with these Muslim communities is that it is making them susceptible to this radical worldview that wants to destroy modern society, create a global caliphate and impose sharia law on everyone on Earth. These other communities aren’t trying to do that. They’re peaceful religious communities.

Local and regional activity

On May 14, former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employee and strident anti-Muslim voice Phil Haney spoke in San Antonio, Texas, at an event hosted by G416 Patriots*, a local anti-Muslim group created by the leader of ACT for America’s* now-defunct San Antonio chapter, Roy White. According to one event description, Haney is planning to return “late summer/early fall.” Since retiring from DHS in 2015, Haney has acted as a source for far-right figures such as former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who claimed the Obama administration was infiltrated by Muslim extremists.

Three days later, on May 17, Christian Reporter News, an online far-right news and commentary website largely targeting local conservative Christian audiences in the San Angelo, Texas, area, hosted Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a prominent figure in Austria and Europe’s anti-Muslim movement who works closely with one of ACT for America’s European chapters. In 2011 Sabaditsch-Wolff was found guilty in Austria of hate speech — a conviction that was upheld in 2013.

On May 19, the Florida-based anti-Muslim group The United West* hosted a webinar with far-right UK media personality Katie Hopkins, who has a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric. According to the event description, Hopkins had “provide[d] a firsthand account of the No-Go Zones from Sweden to Sicily, de facto Sharia in the U.K., a surge in terror attacks in London and even Imams selecting which police officers are allowed to patrol near their mosques. She will reflect on her current Michigan fact-finding tour, draw comparison that Americans need to hear, and ponder why Republicans and Democrats would prefer to act as if nothing is wrong.” In February, Hopkins participated in a panel discussion at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference where she claimed that the UK had “fallen” due to a “migrant invasion.”

Rising anti-Muslim figure Aynaz “Anni” Cyrus is continuing her cross-country tour. Her latest engagement was in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 19 as part of the nation-wide “March For Our Rights.” Cyrus spoke about the dangers sharia law and Islam pose to America. During her speech Cyrus was physically flanked by members of the Three Percenter militia movement — a subset of the antigovernment extremist militia movement — who were there acting as her personal security.

On May 29, an Iowa-based group called Cedar Valley Patriots for Christ hosted pseudo-historian Bill Federer, who gave a talk on “The Real Truth of Islam.” The event took place at the Waterloo Center for the Arts in Waterloo, Iowa.

Two days later, on May 31, G416 Patriots hosted a talk by Daniel Scot, a Christian missionary born in Pakistan who moved to Australia after fleeing religious persecution in his home country. Scot has a history of promoting anti-Muslim hate and has been interviewed by individuals such as David Wood, who runs Foundation for Advocating Christian Truth* which is the organization behind AnsweringMuslims.com, a Christian-based, anti-Muslim and anti-Islam website.

State/local legislation and policy

On March 19, 2018, a federal district court dismissed a case brought by the Tennessee State Assembly seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the federal refugee resettlement program and “permanently ban the federal government from forcing Tennessee to fund” it. The State Assembly was represented by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a Christian Right non-profit law firm. On May 10, TMLC announced it would appeal the lower court’s decision. In a press release, TMLC stated, “Tennessee has a history of supporting the Tenth Amendment and State sovereignty” and quoted its president and chief counsel Richard Thompson saying the lower court’s ruling was in conflict with “upholding State sovereignty against overreach by the federal government.”

On May 15, community members in O’Fallon, Illinois, expressed their outrage and called for school board member Steve Springer to step down. Initial anger came when Springer stated his opposition to a library hosting a reading of a children’s book on civil rights and social activism, saying it “provided a platform for social indoctrination.” Many interpreted Springer’s position as racially prejudiced. Subsequent information came to light showing Springer also expressed anti-Muslim and anti-transgender views in emails to other school board members, further intensifying calls for his resignation. In one email, Springer said, “It seems you have decided to change the God-given biological makeup of this student without input from a court, the (board of education) or God. The child is a girl. She needs to be referred to as a girl. I am sad she is having such problems and is confused. But confused is the status, and confusion is not a reason for the district to stand on it’s head!” In the same email he continued, “Next up?? Yes, next will be a place for Mohamed to wash his little feet and face Mecca three times during the school day.”

On May 16 the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) announced it would rescind any credit given to over 30 officers who attended a course taught by anti-Muslim extremist John Guandolo in which he claimed Muslim groups wanted to overthrow the U.S. government and implement Islamic law.

Upcoming events

On June 14, Anni Cyrus will be speaking in Laguna Woods, California, where she will be hosted by the local ACT for America chapter. The next day she heads to Michigan for a two-day tour with other prominent anti-Muslim figures including Farrah Prudence, Phil Haney and the head of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney. The first speaking engagement, on June 15, will be hosted by the American Decency Association, a religious far-right organization based in Fremont, Michigan.

The next day, June 16, the anti-Muslim quartet will travel east to Bloomfield Hills where The United West will also be hosting the event online as a webinar. According to The United West’s description, the panel, which includes local Christian pastor Don McKay, will look at the dangers of Michigan becoming a multi-cultural sanctuary state and being infiltrated by sharia if gubernatorial candidate Abdul Sayed, who identifies as a religiously observant Muslim, is elected to office.

In their own words:

  • "The recent arrest of Tommy Robinson is the direct result of cultural suicide, and a rejection of Western Judeo-Christian values, in place of political correctness, and radical Islamic appeasement." — ACT for America founder Brigitte Gabriel, in a May 28  tweet, defending Tommy Robinson, a UK anti-Muslim extremist who recently jailed for violating a court-ordered restriction of media reporting on an ongoing criminal trial  
  • “If such crystal-clear warnings from the most pro-Islam U.S. president to ever occupy the Oval Office are not sufficient reasons for Zuckerberg to suspend dinners with Somali pirates, then only two conclusions are possible: Zuck is either woefully ignorant of reality, or he is cynically using his Jewish heritage to conceal a profit-driven embrace of radical Islam.” — John Griffing, in a May 22 column for the far-right extremist media outlet WorldNetDaily.
  • “... in certain Muslim-controlled areas of Paris and London and Sweden, Western women are spat at or called white trash for not covering themselves. It seems like these thoughts that are taught in the mosque spill over onto our streets despite us having Western laws in place to protect us. And that’s what worries me about places like this, the Islamic Center of America. It is a kind of friendly, tolerant Islam stripped of the barbarism of the Islamic extremists and yet the underlying beliefs are taught and still there.” — Katie Hopkins on the Islamic Center of America, one of the largest mosques in the U.S., in a May 23 video.
  • “Bomb-making class gone awry? Another one of those “gas leaks” that have become so common in Europe and the U.K. in recent years? Some other form of diversity and cultural enrichment? No telling. It could be an accident. It could be jihad. That’s the exhilarating aspect of Ramadan!” — Robert Spencer, speculating on a warehouse fire that has not been reported by authorities as a terrorist attack, in a blog dated May 15.
  • “In all likelihood, the Somali Muslims in Minnesota believe they are likewise entitled to the money of non-Muslim American workers. So they rip off American taxpayers, stuff suitcases with cash, and send the money winging to Islamic terrorists abroad.” — Far-right Canadian author Lloyd Billingsley in a May 16 article for FrontPage Magazine, a publication run by the David Horowitz Freedom Center*.

Kessler falls flat in D.C., but the radical right marches on