Roundup of anti-Muslim events and activities 8/9/2018

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

Frank Gaffney attends religious freedom ministerial. Anti-Muslim figurehead and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney attended the U.S. State Department’s first-ever “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom” on July 24-26 in Washington, D.C. Gaffney, who heads the Center for Security Policy*, attended the event on behalf of the Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition, another group he is involved with. Gaffney is at the forefront of efforts to spread fear and suspicion of Muslims in America. Raising concern about persecuted Christians around the world is an extension of his efforts to bash the Islamic faith and frame it as an intolerant ideology. Gaffney has had a cozy relationship with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who organized the event. Over the years, Pompeo has appeared on Gaffney’s radio show at least two dozen times. Ahead of the ministerial, Pompeo appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, head of the anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council, to preview the event. Perkins has his own history of stoking anti-Muslim sentiment.

CAIR to Fox News: pull employees from anti-Muslim conference: On July 24, the Muslim civil rights group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release calling on Fox News to pull their employees from an upcoming conference hosted by ACT for America*, the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate group. Three Fox News personalities, Tomi Lahren, Jeanine Pirro and Lisa Daftari, are slated to speak at the anti-Muslim group’s annual national conference in Arlington, Virginia, next month. ACT’s founder and president Brigitte Gabriel, who is a regular guest on Fox News, has previously said a practicing Muslim “cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.” In the press release, CAIR’s Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw stated: "If Fox News wishes to be viewed as a legitimate media outlet, it cannot allow its representatives to take part in events designed to promote bigotry and religious hatred."

Tommy Robinson freed on bail, garnering further support from U.S.-based anti-Muslim groups. English anti-Muslim provocateur Tommy Robinson (aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was released on bail August 1 after successfully appealing a 13-month prison sentence. Robinson’s release delighted his international far-right supporters, including those in the U.S. The Middle East Forum (MEF), a think tank run by longtime anti-Muslim figure Daniel Pipes, issued a press release the day Robinson was freed calling the decision “extraordinary.” MEF claims to have “activated” its “full resources” to “free Mr. Robinson.” Pipes’ group sponsored two “Free Tommy” rallies in London on June 9 and July 14. MEF also contributed funds to his legal defense.

Other U.S. anti-Muslim groups welcomed the news. Frank Gaffney wrote on his website to “Keep Tommy Free!” ACT for America relayed the news on social media. ACT’s Brigitte Gabriel previously referred to Robinson’s arrest as “the direct result of cultural suicide and a rejection of western Judeo-Christian values.”

New Jersey ICE spokesperson has ties to anti-Muslim groups and figures: An August 6 editorial published by The Star-Ledger exposed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson Emilio Karim Dabul’s connections to prominent players in the anti-Muslim movement. According to the report, Dabul previously worked as an editor for ACT for America. He has also penned an article in 2007 for FrontPage Magazine, a virulently anti-Muslim web publication run by the David Horowitz Freedom Center*. In the article, Dabul expressed admiration for Steven Emerson, a longtime anti-Muslim agitator who has peddled the debunked myth of Muslim-only “no-go” zones in Europe and claimed the Oklahoma City bombing had “a Middle Eastern trait.” Dabul described Emerson as a hero for his work countering so-called “Islamists.” ICE did not comment on Dabul’s past contributions to anti-Muslim groups.

Local and Regional Activity

Chapters of the anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America held “Back the Blue” rallies in Philadelphia and St. Cloud, Minnesota, on August 4. The pro-law enforcement rallies were a bit of a departure from ACT’s usual Muslim bashing. Under its “Back the Blue” campaign, ACT has expressed support for ICE and its draconian policies. Thomas Homan, the former acting ICE Director, is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the group’s national conference in September. This is not the first time ACT has sought to court law enforcement. In 2013, ACT partnered with former FBI agent turned anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist John Guandolo to launch a web-based counter-terrorism resource for local police. The website was unsurprisingly riddled with anti-Muslim bias.

Legislation and Policy

On July 30, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a “Religious Liberty Task Force” designed to “respect and protect religious liberty and political speech.” Currently, no anti-Muslim figures are reported to be involved with it. However, very few details are actually known about the task force, as highlighted by a report from Buzzfeed. Johnathan Smith, the legal director of Muslim Advocates, expressed unease about the newly formed task force and lack of transparency around it. “There is a concern that certain Christian and evangelical communities are being brought to the forefront, and others, particularly Muslim communities, are discriminated against and harassed,” he told Buzzfeed. “When you create a religious task force and you don’t have that detail and transparency, it raises a lot of questions about whether all communities will benefit from this government action.”

The Trump administration may set another record by potentially only resettling 25,000 refugees next year. The New York Times reported this is partly due to the influence of Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior policy advisor. In June, Hatewatch highlighted Miller’s connections to anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate groups, and his ideological alignment with them. The potential 40 percent decrease in refugees is being lauded by an anti-Muslim group which has been an outspoken opponent to the resettlement program over the years. “It begins…..”, blogged Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch*.

Upcoming Events

The Cleveland ACT for America chapter will be hosting a webinar on August 13 featuring Pastor Shahram Hadian of the Truth in Love Project* (TLP). According to an advertisement for the event, Hadian will present on "The Trojan Horse of Interfaith Dialogue," TLP’s flagship program. The ACT chapter is also advertising that during the webinar Hadian will be interviewed by anti-refugee author and activist Jim Simpson.

On August 25, ACT for America will host a “National Day of ACTion.” ACT members across the country will be holding events that will feature “petitions for backing the blue” and “securing our borders.” The upcoming Day of ACTion looks like it will be tamer than its nationwide “March Against Sharia” protests last summer that attracted a smattering of the American radical right including white nationalists and racist neo-Confederate activists.

Understand the Threa t * (UTT), the group run by anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist John Guandolo, is advertised to be holding a “Train the Trainer” program in August tailored to students ages 17 to 21. The training will “deepen their knowledge and understanding of the Islamic threat.” No additional specifics about where or when the event would take place have been provided. UTT has previously trained law enforcement and civilian groups, however, this would be the first training geared toward students. As is the case with UTT’s other trainings, this one is sure to be steeped in anti-Muslim bias and conspiratorial rhetoric.

In Their Own Words

"Mr. [Dean] Obeidallah's attempt to equate Christian practices with Sharia-supremacism is absurd. There is, after all, no counterpart in Christianity to such Sharia-condoned practices as female genital mutilation, honor killing or the imposition of a totalitarian theocracy. To the contrary, the Constitution of this country and laws promulgated pursuant to it have been built on a Judeo-Christian foundation, and guarantee unalienable rights prohibited by Islam's Sharia.” — Frank Gaffney in a July 9 interview with CBN News.

“All this and much more like it points to a fact that today’s political and media elites steadfastly refuse to recognize, and accuse anyone who notices it of “Islamophobia”: the Qur’an repeatedly calls upon believers to commit acts of violence against non-Muslims, and there is a direct connection between devoutness in Islam and violence. Not all who are devout in Islam will ever become violent – but virtually all jihad terrorists are devout Muslims.” — Robert Spencer at a column published July 16 by PJ Media.

“I came to understand and see how deeply they were embedded in our national apparatus, portraying themselves as nice, helpful [and] wanting to be patriotic. But … in fact, we could identify all the leaders of the Islamic organizations as members of the Muslim Brotherhood – and [identify] all of the key Islamic organizations in the United States as part of their network. And of these are the organizations that are primarily doing outreach to churches [and] law enforcement government agencies – including the Pentagon.” — John Guandolo in a July 19 interview with OneNewsNow.

“In Islam there is no humanity. You have the believer the Muslim and the non-believer, the kafir. And all the world is divided into this. And Allah, by the way, hates kafirs … a Muslim is never the true friend of a kafir. Now they can be friendly, particularly if it will advance Islam. But we must draw a big distinction here between being friendly and being a friend.” — Dr. Bill Warner in a July 24 interview with far-right YouTuber Stefan Molyneux.

“This is the program that the Islamic groups are following. Interfering with counter-terror efforts, claiming Islamophobia. Trying to establish mosques as bases from which to Islamize these areas surrounding mosques.” — Robert Spencer in an August 3 interview on Secure Freedom Radio.