Roundup of anti-Muslim events and activities: 7/18/2018

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

National Group Activity

Florida newspaper reveals U.S. congressman attended conference featuring speakers defending sexism and promoting anti-Muslim rhetoric: The Naples Daily News published an article on June 22 that reported U.S. congressman Ron DeSantis and his wife attended a conference organized by the David Horowitz Freedom Center* on November 17 and 18, 2017. The newspaper pointed out that the 2017 conference featured speakers such as fired Google engineer James Damore, who wrote a memo claiming that women were less likely to be in high-level tech jobs because of biology, not discrimination. The 2017 conference also featured other anti-Muslim figures like Robert Spencer and Daniel Greenfield. In 2011, according to the newspaper report, the conference also featured Bruce Thornton, a professor at California State University at Fresno, who said in a 2011 television interview, “Muslims always say, ‘We love death more than we love life.’ Then why don’t we just give them what they love?”

Center for Security Policy (CSP)* releases its latest publication on the Muslim Brotherhood : On June 28, CSP published a “Decision Brief” outlining why the U.S. Department of State should label the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. However, with anti-Muslim organizations like Frank Gaffney’s CSP largely pushing for the designation, experts believe the motivation has less to do with foreign policy and more do with domestic politics. Terrorism expert J.M. Berger, a researcher affiliated with George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, told Buzzfeed in 2016, “Let me be extremely clear[,] [t]his initiative is concerned with controlling American Muslims, not with any issue pertaining to the Muslim Brotherhood in any practical or realistic sense.”

Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) moves ahead with its legal attack against federal refugee resettlement: On July 5, TMLC issued a press release saying that three days earlier it submitted a brief to appeal a lower court ruling, issued on March 19, which struck down the Center’s lawsuit against the federal government’s refugee resettlement program. TMLC’s lawsuit — filed on behalf of the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee General Assembly and state legislators John Stevens and Terri Lynn Weaver — sought to challenge the refugee resettlement program in Tennessee. TMLC claims the program violates, “the Tenth Amendment’s state sovereignty principles and the Spending Clause of the United States Constitution.”

Middle East Forum (MEF) reveals support for far-right UK provocateur Tommy Robinson: A July 8, 2018 press release issued by MEF, a think tank run by anti-Muslim figure Daniel Pipes, revealed that the organization has been providing financial and logistical support for Robinson, who was jailed for violating a court-ordered restriction on media reporting of an ongoing criminal trial. MEF’s press release says it is supporting Robinson in “three main ways,” including contributing to his legal defense fund, organizing political pressure to “ensure Mr. Robinson’s safety and eventual release” and logistically organizing and funding rallies supporting Robinson.

Michigan political campaign hosts webinar on “Immigration and the States,” featuring far-right anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists: Patrick Colbeck, a right-wing candidate for Michigan’s governor seat, hosted a webinar on July 9, featuring Philip Haney and Trevor Loudon. Haney is a retired U.S. Department of Homeland Security official who has previously claimed the Obama administration was infiltrated by Muslim extremists; Loudon is a far-right conspiracy documentarian who in recent years has been pushing the myth that a “Muslim-Marxist” alliance exists which seeks to overthrow the U.S. government.

Local and Regional Activity

Webinar on “Islamist Censorship”: On June 21, Florida-based group The United West* and Sharia Crime Stoppers, run by Michigan-based anti-Muslim activist Dick Manasseri, co-hosted a webinar that featured Deborah Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy. The topic of discussion was “Islamist Censorship – Its Roots, Purpose & Role in the 2018 Michigan Governor’s Race.” Manasseri’s Sharia Crime Stoppers presentations are full of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories such as U.S. Muslim political candidates being secret Muslim Brotherhood operatives.

Lashing out against interfaith dialogue : On June 24, anti-Muslim Christian pastor Shahram Hadian, who runsTruth in Love Project*, held a webinar with the Ohio state chapter of ACT for America on “The Trojan Horse of Interfaith Dialogue.” In his presentation, Hadian claims that Muslims seek to infiltrate, divide and undermine Christian churches in the U.S. Hadian gave talks on the same theme on June 26 and 28, in Caldwell and Boise, Idaho.

Honoring conspiracy theorists : On June 28, the American Freedom Alliance* hosted its annual “Heroes of Conscience Awards” dinner. This year’s event featured, among others, far-right conspiracy theory filmmaker Trevor Loudoun from New Zealand. Loudoun has spoken at several anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim events this year.

Anti-Islam preacher presenting in New York City : On July 6, Tony Costa, along with Acts 17 Apologetics, a project of the Bronx-based Foundation Advocating Christian Truth (FACT) organization, delivered a three-and-a-half hour seminar that included discussing “The Dangers of Cultural Marxism’s Impact on Society & The Church.”

Former Muslim comes to Pennsylvania, preaching hate : On July 9, the Pennsylvania Pastors network invited Mark Christian — a Muslim convert to Christianity who runs the Global Faith Institute* — to speak at their event. Christian discussed “how Islam has infiltrated our culture, what the implications are, and what pastors and churches must know to respond appropriately.”

Anti-Muslim conspiracy theory group speaks in Washington State : On July 7, Understanding the Threat (UTT)* gave a presentation in Spokane, Washington. The event was hosted by the Spokane Conservative Republicans. Led by disgraced former FBI agent turned anti-Muslim hate peddler, John Guandolo, UTT has seen a number of setbacks in recent months, including cancelled shows and the departure of former business partner and anti-Muslim hate figure Chris Gaubatz to join high-profile Twitter troll Amy Mekelberg’s organization, Rise Align Ignite Reclaim, or RAIR Foundation USA.

Anti-LGBT group sponsors three-day tour of anti-Muslim hate in Illinois : From July 13 to 15, anti-Muslim speakers Aynaz “Anni” Cyrus and Philip Haney participated in a tour of Illinois, sponsored by the Illinois Family Institute, which is listed by the SPLC as an anti-LGBT hate group. Cyrus and Haney were joined throughout the tour by Samya Johnson, a Lebanese-born Christian who runs a media-based ministry that seeks to proselytize to and convert Muslims in America and around the world.

Radical right-wingers gather outside Islamberg, New York, for the third annual “National Ride for Security” : The organization behind the event is American Bikers United Against Jihad, whose founder Rami “Ram” Lubranicki, regularly posts anti-Muslim content on social media. Lubranicki is accused of a violent hate assault in 2017 against a man of Palestinian descent in Washington, D.C. Participants gathered to protest what they claim is a terrorist training camp run by Muslim extremists. A 2017 Associated Press report on Islamberg cited local residents, law enforcement officials and experts at the Anti-Defamation League who reject that claim. The protest was announced over Facebook by Lisa DeJong, a New Yorker affiliated with the American Patriot Three Percenters, a Three Percenter militia group whose chapters around the country have been labeled antigovernment extremist groups.

Legislation and Policy

SCOTUS upholds Muslim ban : On June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) upheld the Trump administration’s most recent executive order to bar individuals from entering the United States from five Muslim-majority nations (Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen), plus Venezuela and North Korea. When Trump first proposed the ban in December 2015 as a political candidate, he justified his proposal by citing a scientifically shoddy poll commissioned by the anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy. The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), co-founded by Robert Muise and anti-Muslim extremist David Yerushalmi, issued a press release that same day, stating that SCOTUS “agrees with AFLC,” which had submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the administration. Hatewatch previously reported that AFLC’s amicus brief relied on a flawed research publication co-authored by Yerushalmi that has been previously dismissed by outside experts as a “clownish pseudo-study.”

Upcoming Events

On July 17, the Southeast Michigan Tea Party will be hosting Philip Haney in Utica, Michigan. According to the event description, Haney “will give us his reasons why this is happening and also discuss the recent Supreme Court appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, his premise of a National Security Meltdown (and what can be done about it) and an update on the Michigan primary, as Philip has been an active supporter of Senator [Patrick] Colbeck for Governor.” Colbeck, whose gubernatorial campaign has trafficked in anti-Muslim rhetoric, has been condemned by Brian Dickerson, a Detroit Free Press newspaper columnist, as a “racist demagogue.”

On July 18, the Tucson chapter of ACT for America will be hosting Col. (ret.) John Gold. According to an event description, some of the topics Gold will cover include, “Islamist issues threaten American[s] - Immigration without assimilation is invasion. The first IFTAR dinner at the Trump White House was very different this year! What does that really mean?”

In their own words:

“The leftist elites don’t care if Islamization spells the end of our culture. That’s what they want also. So the steady incremental Islamization in schools will proceed apace with little opposition just as did the sexualization of the students. It will proceed apace because most parents can’t imagine that their local schools would cooperate in advancing the Islamic agenda while at the same time belittling the Western Christian heritage. For many parents, the first indication that something is wrong will come when, at some future point, their daughter returns from school wearing the mandatory hijab.” — William Kirkpatrick, in a July 1 article, “Islamization in the Schools,” for the Catholic publication Crisis Magazine.

“But today–as Donald Trump correctly pointed out and was savagely attacked for doing so–we have people almost exclusively from s–thole countries arriving on our shores every minute. They contribute nothing. They take, take, take. They come from extremist countries and lifestyles where it is okay to kill people for being Jewish or Christian, harass them for selling or eating bacon or speaking against the false alleged prophet mohammed, or for dating the ‘wrong’ person or for being raped. They demand that America bend over backwards for their every ridiculous religious and/or cultural adherence, including refusing to ring up frozen packages containing pepperoni pizza and wearing a headscarf or full-Ninja face-veil.” — Far-right media personality and anti-Muslim figure Debbie Schlussel, in a July 4 blog post.

“Remember that Mohamed Atta, about the plane he had hijacked on September 11, 2001, told passengers over the intercom: “Stay quiet and you’ll be OK.” The Catholic Church appears to have adopted that statement as its policy regarding Muslim persecution of Christians.” — Robert Spencer in July 7 article written on the website of fellow anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller.