Ever since the Al Qaeda massacre of Sept. 11, 2001, American Muslims have been under attack. They have been vilified as murderers, accused of conspiring to take over the United States and impose Shariah religious law, described as enemies of women, and subjected to hundreds of violent hate crime attacks. A major party presidential nominee has even suggested that America ban Muslim immigrants. Best muslim beard styles.
Fueling this hatred has been the propaganda, the vast majority of it completely baseless, produced and popularized by a network of anti-Muslim extremists and their enablers. These men and women have shamelessly exploited terrorist attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other things, to demonize the entire Islamic faith.
Sadly, a shocking number of these extremists are seen regularly on television news programs and quoted in the pages of our leading newspapers. There, they routinely espouse a wide range of utter falsehoods, all designed to make Muslims appear as bloodthirsty terrorists or people intent on undermining American constitutional freedoms. More often than not, these claims go uncontested.
A coalition of four research and civil rights groups — the Southern Poverty Law Center, Media Matters for America, the Center for New Community and ReThink Media — banded together to prepare this manual. Our hope is that journalists and others will use it as a guide to effectively counter these extremists and their damaging misinformation. These propagandists are far outside of the political mainstream, and their rhetoric has toxic consequences — from poisoning democratic debate to inspiring hate-based violence.
The Columbia Journalism Review has said as much, pointing out that misinformation and falsehoods in media “may pollute democratic discourse, make it more difficult for citizens to cast informed votes, and limit their ability to participate meaningfully in public debate.” It advises reporters to “[u]se credible sources, don’t give credence to the fringe,” and sharply criticizes “the politicians and pundits who seek personal and ideological gain by starting or spreading false memes.”
To give an example: One of the extremists profiled in this guide has said that 480 million to 640 million Muslims “support the notion that it’s okay to bomb the World Trade Center”, another claimed that 180 million to 300 million Muslims “are willing to strap a bomb on their bodies … and blow us all up.” In fact, terrorism expert Peter Bergen polled other extremism experts in 2014 and concluded that the real number of Muslims in terrorist groups was between 85,000 and 106,000. That means that fewer than one in every 15,000 Muslims is part of such a group.
It doesn’t stop there. The anti-Muslim extremists profiled here have, between them, claimed that Islamic extremists have infiltrated the CIA, FBI, Pentagon and other agencies, asserted that there are “no-go zones” in Europe where non-Muslims including police are afraid to enter, suggested that there is a Muslim plot to impose Sharia religious law on U.S. courts, and claimed that President Obama is a secret Muslim. These claims, along with many others, have been shown conclusively to be false.
This misinformation and hateful rhetoric have consequences. When huge numbers of Americans believe that a majority of Muslims are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers, it can hardly be a surprise that some percentage of them engage in hate crime attacks. After all, they learned of the threat they believe Muslims pose from sources who were presented by the media as authoritative experts.
This country faces an array of complex and daunting problems, the threat of terrorism indisputably among them. Let’s not make them worse by allowing self-described “experts” to propagandize our fellow Americans with defamatory and frightening falsehoods. Our media, in particular, has the opportunity to present an objective picture that illuminates, rather than distorts, reality.
Ann Corcoran, a Maryland-based activist who started the blog Refugee Resettlement Watch+ (RRW) in 2007, is fond of describing immigrants as “migrant hordes,” wants a moratorium on Muslim immigration, claims there is a Democratic plot to bring in Muslims to create new party voters, and accuses immigrant-run stores of illegally trafficking in food stamps. Corcoran also routinely links to white nationalists like Jared Taylor, the editor of American Renaissance* who once said black people are incapable of sustaining civilization, and lauds European anti-Muslim extremists like France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders. She has published essays in the racist journal The Social Contract,and the Council of Conservative Citizens*, which has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity,” ran a live feed of her articles on its home page. Corcoran also loathes Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, saying in 2016 that they had a “lust for more third worlders to be resettled in small town America!” Corcoran’s main thrust is the government’s “grievous error” in taking in Muslim refugees, who she accuses of engaging in “civilizational jihad” aimed at imposing Shariah religious law on the U.S. with a worldwide caliphate as the final goal. “They are using our Constitutional freedoms and American good will to push a quiet form of jihad in towns and cities, large and small, right under our noses,” she wrote in her 2015 screed, published by the far-right Center for Security Policy* and entitled “Refugee Resettlement and the Hijra [Migration] to America.” In the biography of her Twitter page, she warns that “[i]mmigration (legal and illegal), if not slowed in 2017, will destroy America.”
In an Aug. 4, 2016, post on RRW, Corcoran wrote: “Go to any seedy neighborhood (like the ones I saw in Toledo [Ohio] recently) and there is an immigrant-run convenience store it seems on every block. There is no way they are all making a living selling bread, milk and cigarettes. My guess is that many are participating in what is known as trafficking in food stamps.”
Corcoran issued a warning in a Sept. 17, 2015, radio interview that Obama and others were seeking to alter America: “There’s going to be a demographic examination of your town to see how diverse you are, and you will be rewarded if you’re sufficiently diverse and you will not be rewarded with government grants and so on and so forth if you’re insufficient in the diversity area. It is really, he [Obama] is changing America by changing the people.”
“All the vetting in the world isn’t going to save us from the toddlers coming in with Mom and Dad from Africa and the Middle East who thumb their noses at the ‘good life’ and become radicalized 20 years down the road,” Corcoran wrote on Nov. 17, 2015, warning against allowing any refugees into the U.S. “The only true solution is a complete moratorium on Muslim immigration.”
On May 8, 2015, Corcoran told Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson that refugee resettlement programs were part of a Democratic plot to gain votes. “I think that it is partly driven by progressives looking for reliable left-wing Democrat voters, that’s a driving force,” she said. “I think there’s a certain amount of wanting to rub diversity in the noses of conservative communities and places where there isn’t a lot of diversity and just bringing them in and push the whole multicultural meme of us.” She added that refugee resettlement is “an existential threat” to America that is more dangerous that terrorist attacks.
Corcoran called for a national debate on refugees and immigrants, focusing on the alleged dangers of Somalis, in a Nov. 19, 2009, RRW post. “Frankly, we have made a grievous error in taking the Muslim refugees, Somalis in particular, who have no intention of becoming Americans,” she wrote in that piece. “They are here to change America. Unfortunately, political correctness and a worshipful attitude toward multiculturalism have blinded us.”
In a July 6, 2014, blog post, Corcoran compared refugee resettlement workers to people with too many pets. She said: “These people remind me of animal hoarders with a psychological ailment who fill their homes with cats, don’t have the finances to care for them properly, and don’t know when to stop.”
Calling for her readers to back Donald Trump in an Aug. 7, 2016, blog post, Corcoran warned, “If he loses, the flood gates will open to the third world like we have never seen before. And you will be silenced!”
On the RRW page headlined “Diversity,” Corcoran offers as a resource a link to “The Myth of Diversity” by white supremacist Jared Taylor. In the essay, Taylor calls diversity “one of the most obviously stupid propositions ever to see the light of day” and adds, “Explaining why diversity is bad for a country is a little like explaining why cholera is bad for it, the trick is to understand how anyone could possibly think it was good.” On the same page, Corcoran links to other white nationalist essays like “The Age of White Masochism,” and anti-multicultural stemwinders such as “Plan to Destroy America.”
Steve Emerson is a self-described “expert on terrorism” who has claimed that the Obama administration “extensively collaborates” with the Muslim Brotherhood, asserted that Europe is riddled with “no-go zones” and is “finished” because of Muslim immigration, and stated that 480 million to 640 million Muslims “support the notion that it’s okay to bomb the World Trade Center,” among other things. A reviewer for The New York Times Book Review said a 1991 book he co-authored on terrorism was marred by “a pervasive anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian bias.” Despite this sorry record, Emerson, a former journalist who started the Investigative Project on Terrorism in 1995, has been repeatedly interviewed on Fox News, testified on several occasions to Congress, and been cited by government officials as an authority. But Emerson’s reputation took a huge hit in January 2015, when he claimed that Birmingham, England, was a “no-go zone” for non-Muslims and that in parts of London “Muslim religious police... actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone” not wearing “religious Muslim attire.” British Prime Minister David Cameron responded by calling Emerson “clearly a complete idiot,” and Ofcom, which regulates the British media, said the comments were “materially misleading.” In 1997, Emerson was accused of giving The Associated Press documents he claimed were from the FBI but were really written by him. The Tennessean reported in October 2010 that in 2008, Emerson’s nonprofit Investigative Project on Terrorism “paid $3,390,000 to [Emerson’s for-profit firm] SAE Productions for ‘management services.’ Emerson is SAE’s sole officer.” The paper quoted Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, saying, “Basically, you have a nonprofit acting as a front organization, and all that money going to a for-profit,” he said. “It’s wrong. This is off the charts.”
In a Jan. 7, 2015, interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Emerson expounded at length on his baseless claims about “no-go zones.” “Throughout Europe, Sean, you have no-go zones. … This goes on in Belgium, this goes on in Sweden, in France, it goes on it Italy, it goes on throughout Europe. So there are no-go zones,” he told Hannity. “These are semi-autonomous countries within countries, in which the federal governments there have basically surrendered their autonomy, surrendered their authority.”
In the same Jan. 7, 2015, interview with Fox News, Emerson claimed that Department of Homeland Security officers in overseas U.S. embassies have “been told to look away” when foreign visa applicants have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, “even to ISIS,” and to allow them to come to the United States despite those links. “I can tell you that personally,” Emerson insisted without evidence, calling the alleged practice “Orwellian.”
“I think they’ve reached critical mass, frankly,” Emerson said of Europe in the same Jan. 7, 2015, Fox News interview. “I think Europe is finished."
Emerson promoted his film, “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception” in a Sept. 23, 2012, Fox News interview, saying it “show[ed] the extensive collaboration between the Obama administration and the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. It’s pretty shocking.” He continued: “I think Mr. Obama is not necessarily a Muslim, I don’t believe that, I think he’s pro-Islamist.”
In a bizarre March 17, 2011, comment to TV host Glenn Beck, Emerson claimed without evidence that “in Mexico today, they’re teaching Palestinian militants how to dig tunnels that will evade detection in Gaza.”
On Jan. 11, 2015, Emerson told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, who wholeheartedly endorsed his claims, that “these no-go zones exist not only in France, but they exist throughout Europe,” describing them as “zones where Shariah courts were set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where the police don’t go in, and where it’s basically a separate country almost.” He went on to claim that in Britain, “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go. And [in] parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire.” In fact, Birmingham is about 22% Muslim, and the no-go zone claim was entirely false. In the end, Fox News apologized four times on air and Emerson said he’d committed a “terrible error.” Neither mentioned that he had made similar claims repeatedly, including four days earlier on Fox.
On Sept. 7, 2011, speaking on the “Truth That Transforms with Jerry Newcome” radio show, Emerson said that “at least 30% to 40% [of Muslims] support cultural jihad. That is, at least, they support the notion that it’s okay to blow up a bus of Israelis, it’s okay to bomb the World Trade Center, it’s okay to impose the Shariah, the code of Islamic law, it’s okay to beat women or wives as part of Shariah.” With 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, Emerson was claiming that 480 million to 640 million Muslims support Islamist terrorism, an exponentially overblown assertion, according to several serious polls.
On April 19, 1995, the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, Emerson claimed that the attack had “a Middle Eastern trait” and added that Oklahoma City was “probably considered one of the largest centers of Islamic radical activity outside of the Middle East.” He was entirely wrong on both counts.
The founder of ACT for America* in 2007, Brigitte Gabriel has been described by The New York Times Magazine as a “radical Islamophobe,” and it’s not hard to see why. In a 2007 course at the Department of Defense’s Joint Forces Staff College, she said that any “practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah … who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen of the United States.” The same year, The Australian Jewish News quoted her saying, “Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim.” Four years later, ACT published a claim on its website that “[t]ens of thousands of Islamic militants now reside in America, operating in sleeper cells, attending our colleges and universities.” Also in 2011, Gabriel was quoted claiming that Islamist radicals had "infiltrated us at the CIA, at the FBI, at the Pentagon, at the State Department."
On Sept. 27, 2014, Gabriel told an audience at the conservative Values Voter Summit that “180 million to 300 million” Muslims are “radical Islamists who are willing to strap bombs on their bodies and walk into this room and blow us all up to smithereens.” The same month, Peter Bergen, a real terrorism expert with the New America think tank, surveyed other experts and concluded there was a global total of 85,000 to 106,000 Muslims belonging to jihadist groups — at the most, then, about 0.006625% of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.
Gabriel told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Jan. 7, 2015, that Muslims were invited to Europe to help it rebuild after World War II, then “started multiplying” even as they refused to assimilate. Europe, she said, is “paying the price” because it “ignored the cancer growing in its body when it was at Stage Two.” “Today,” she added, “Europe and its cancer is at Stage Four.”
Gabriel claimed on Fox News’ Jan. 8, 2015, edition of “The Kelly File” that Muslims’ “ideology … forbids them to assimilate” to European culture. She also described the Muslims who have come to Europe as “not educated.”
On Sept. 26, 2015, Gabriel told the right-wing radio program “Breitbart News Saturday” that because of Muslim immigration, “Europe will no longer be Europe by 2050. Europe has already become Eurabia. Europe is Eurabia right now.” Addressing the Syrian refugee crisis, she claimed most of the refugees weren’t Syrians and weren’t fleeing war: “They are people trying to suck off of the people in the West. They know they can get a free ticket for money.”
In her 2006 book, Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America, Gabriel asserted that “the Arab Muslim world, because of its religion and culture, is a natural threat to civilized people of the world.”
In a March 7, 2011, New York Times article, Gabriel was quoted warning that jihadists were subverting government agencies. “America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America,” she said. “They have infiltrated us at the CIA, at the FBI, at the Pentagon, at the State Department.”
Frank Gaffney Jr. is a former Reagan administration defense official who is gripped by paranoid fantasies about Muslims destroying the West from within, suspicious that Barack Obama was actually born in Kenya, and a proponent of a new version of the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee to root out suspected Muslim subversives. In 1988, Gaffney founded the Center for Security Policy* (CSP), which has gone in recent years from a hawkish think tank on foreign affairs to a promoter of baseless conspiracy theories and groundless accusations, not to mention terrible data. (The CSP organized a wildly unscientific “poll,” cited by Donald Trump, that claimed that 25% of Muslims agreed that violence against Americans in service of jihad was justifiable. Reputable polls show vastly lower numbers.) Gaffney claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has massively infiltrated the government (and, without any evidence at all, that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is an agent of the group). In 2011, he accused prominent conservatives Grover Norquist and Suhail Kahn, who directed Muslim outreach efforts for the Bush White House, of infiltrating the government for the Muslim Brotherhood. As a result, the Conservative Political Action Conference — run by the American Conservative Union, on whose board Kahn sat — temporarily banned him.
In a June 9, 2009, column in The Washington Times, Gaffney said: “With Mr. Obama’s unbelievably ballyhooed address in Cairo … there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.” His “evidence” included the fact that Obama mentioned the “Holy Koran,” knew some things about Islam, and used the phrase “peace be upon them” when mentioning Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
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In the same 2009 Washington Times column, Gaffney said Obama “has aligned himself with adherents to what authoritative Islam calls Shariah — notably, the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“We’re witnessing not just the violent kind of jihad that these Islamists believe God compels them to engage in, but also, where they must for tactical reasons, a more stealthy kind, or civilizational jihad as the Muslim Brotherhood calls it,” Gaffney said in an Oct. 24, 2011, article in Newsmax. “We’re witnessing that playing out, not only in places in the Middle East but also in Europe, in Australia, in Canada and here in the United States as well.”
On the Jan. 12, 2015, edition of Fox News’ “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” Gaffney claimed that President Obama is “engaged in basically trying to enforce Shariah blasphemy laws” and added that “most of those who are being brought here” — a reference to Muslims — are bringing “no-go zones” as their “preferred practice.” No responsible authority believes that there are no-go zones, or places non-Muslims supposedly fear to venture, in America.
“Another question yet to be resolved is whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States,” Gaffney wrote in the Oct. 14, 2008, Washington Times when Obama was first running for president. “Curiously,” he added, “Mr. Obama has, to date, failed to provide an authentic birth certificate.”
In the same 2008 Washington Times column, Gaffney claimed that “the latest indication [is] that the Democratic candidate [Obama] hopes to win the White House by relying, in part, on the Jihadist vote.” He warned that “between $30 million and $100 million” of the money Obama had raised in small donations, not requiring donor disclosure, came from places where “Islamists are active.” According to the Federal Election Commission, “Foreign nationals are prohibited from making any contributions or expenditures” in U.S. elections.
When asked at the 2015 Western Conservative Summit about Somali refugees, most of whom are Muslim, working at meat processing plants in the U.S., Gaffney responded: “I don’t know about you, but it kind of creeps me out that they are getting jobs in the food supply of the United States.”
In an Aug. 2, 2016, post on his website, Gaffney said: “Incredibly, this repressive Shariah doctrine is being insinuated into this country not just by Islamists. They are being aided and abetted by some on the political left — a reality made all the more bizarre, and outrageous, given the fact that women, gays and Jews are among the left’s principal constituencies.”
Attacking a law requiring public assistance agencies to offer voter registration opportunities in November 2013, Gaffney said that Obama was “promoting creeping socialism.” He continued: “The process lends itself to abuse and fraud. And allies of the President say the goal is to register 68 million, most low-income voters. If successful, expect a permanent majority demanding government handouts — and the end of America as we have known it.”
Pam Geller is probably the best known — and the most unhinged — anti-Muslim ideologue in the United States. She is the movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead and a woman who is relentlessly shrill and coarse in her denunciations of Islam. Aside from the more absurd claims on her old Atlas Shrugs* website, like the assertions that President Obama is the “love child” of Malcolm X and that he was “involved with a crack whore,” Geller is known for statements like the one she made on Fox Business in 2011: “Islam … is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.” Geller, the co-founder of the American Freedom Defense Initiative* and Stop Islamization of America*, made her name opposing the Park51 project in New York City in 2010, labeling it a “victory mosque” being raised by Muslims on “conquered land” to celebrate the 9/11 attacks and insinuating without evidence that its financing might be tied to terrorists. Geller has a special hatred for Obama, who she says is “a third worlder and a coward” who seeks to “appease his Muslim overlords,” “a muhammadan” who “wants jihad to win.” Geller, who is Jewish, was once scheduled to speak to a neo-fascist group in Germany and has invited a notorious British nationalist group, the violently inclined English Defence League (EDL), to speak at a rally. In 2013, she and Robert Spencer were banned from entering the United Kingdom to speak to an EDL rally for fear of stirring “inter-community violence.” In 2015 in Garland, Texas, Geller sponsored a “Draw the Prophet” cartoon contest — an obvious provocation aimed at Muslims, who regard graphic depictions of Muhammad as blasphemous — which drew two angry U.S.-born jihadists who were killed when they attacked the event. An ardent defender of Israel, Geller has described the press there as largely “Jewicidal.”
After it was revealed that Anders Breivik —who in 2011 murdered 77 people he believed were facilitating Muslim immigration into Norway — had cited Geller 12 times in his manifesto, Geller shrugged off any responsibility. “If anyone incited him to violence,” she said, “it was Islamic supremacists.”
In an April 29, 2011, post on Atlas Shrugs* (now PamelaGeller.com), Geller wrote, “President Obama is indeed a bastard, literally and figuratively.”
On the May 9, 2014, edition of Fox News’ “Hannity,” Geller said, “Obama has sided with jihadists at every turn.” She concluded a list of claims there with, “He sided with Al Qaeda and [the] Muslim Brotherhood in Syria.”
On Feb. 14, 2011, Geller told the host of Fox Business’ “Follow the Money” that Arabic “is the language of Islam and it is a spearhead of an ideological project that is deeply opposed to the United States of America.”
Geller compared the proposed Park51 Islamic center in lower Manhattan to celebrating the Ku Klux Klan on the Aug. 11, 2010, edition of Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “Would you build a Ku Klux Klan [sic] at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama?” she asked, referring to the black church in Birmingham where a 1963 Klan bombing left four young girls dead.
In another attack on Park51, Geller said on the May 15, 2010, edition of Fox News’ “Huckabee” show that the proposed project “basically embodies the very ideology that inspired those attacks on 9/11.” She said it was “an outrage, an insult,” that would be “humiliating to the families and to all Americans.”
A previous version of this report claimed Geller spoke to a neo-fascist group in Germany, in fact, she was scheduled to speak but did not attend.
John Guandolo came to anti-Muslim extremism after a stint in the Marines and another in the FBI, where he moved into anti-terrorism work after the 9/11 attacks. But he quit the FBI in December 2008, just as he was about to be investigated by the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility — a married man, Guandolo had admitted to having affairs with female FBI agents and a confidential source he was assigned to protect during the corruption case of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), he also solicited that witness for a $75,000 donation for an anti-terrorism group. Since starting work in that year as vice president of the Strategic Engagement Group, Guandolo has developed a reputation for making outlandish accusations. Most remarkably, he claimed in 2010 that John Brennan, then President Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA, was a secret convert to Islam who had aided the Muslim Brotherhood. Snopes, a fact-checking service, said that that was “unfounded” and referred to Guandolo’s “demonstrated inclination to make claims without factual basis.” Similarly, National Public Radio reported in 2011 that Guandolo, in one of many seminars he offers to law enforcement, had suggested to a Columbus, Ohio, class that Omar al-Omari, a college professor who worked with local and national officials to do Muslim outreach, was tied to terrorism — a claim rebutted by officials of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Columbus police department. In 2012, Guandolo created Understanding the Threat+, a consulting company meant to spread his message to law enforcement officials and others. In remarks over the years, Guandolo has said that 80% of U.S. mosques were run by the Muslim Brotherhood, which he claimed “has organizations in every locale across the United States,” and should therefore be shut down by the authorities, charged that Obama had purposely placed “communists, Marxists and jihadists … inside our system”, and said, despite the Constitution’s clear wording to the contrary, that mosques “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.”
Speaking at a Tennessee church in November 2011, Guandolo said local mosques were fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood. Of mosques in general, he said, “They do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.”
On a June 18, 2016, radio show, Guandolo said Americans would soon see “dozens of jihadis doing multiple operations in conjunction with the Marxist and socialist groups like Black Lives Matter, which will be, you know, burning and looting cities like they did in Ferguson [Mo.] and Baltimore.”
When one of his law enforcement trainings was canceled after criticism from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Guandolo wrote a June 2, 2016, article accusing CAIR of being a “terrorist organization.” He added: “Suit wearing jihadis are no less dangerous than ISIS soldiers on the battlefield.”
On a June 13, 2016, radio show, Guandolo told Virginia host Rob Schilling that Democrats were bringing “tens of thousands of jihadis” into the country as refugees. He added derisively that Democrats are then “shocked or feign shock when something like what happened in Orlando [Fla.] happens,” a reference to the murder of 49 people a day earlier.
Guandolo told WorldNetDaily on April 3, 2016, that the U.S. should arrest “all of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the U.S., shutting down their organizations and all Muslim Brotherhood mosques, which is 80% of them.”
On Feb. 8, 2013, Guandolo told a radio show that John Brennan, who would soon be confirmed to head the CIA, had “interwoven his life professionally and personally with individuals that we know are terrorists and he has given them access” to top federal officials, according to Salon. He added that “Mr. Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in an official capacity on behalf of the United States when he served in Saudi Arabia,” and that that “was the culmination of a counterintelligence operation … to recruit him.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born activist who says she endured female genital mutilation and fled civil wars and an arranged marriage in Africa. She then moved to the Netherlands and became a parliamentarian for a time. But key parts of the story she told Dutch immigration authorities and the public there turned out to be false — she had never witnessed any civil war, attendees said she was at her wedding despite her claim to have not been present, and her husband paid her way to Europe and later granted her a divorce. Leaving the Netherlands after quitting its Parliament in disgrace, Hirsi Ali became a citizen of the United States, accepting an invitation to join the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Although she now positions herself as an ex-Muslim champion of women’s rights, her anti-Muslim rhetoric is remarkably toxic. In 2007, she told Reason magazine that the West should “defeat” Islam and that “we are war with Islam.” The same year, she said that Islam was “the new fascism” and a “destructive, nihilistic cult of death” in an interview with The London Evening Standard. In 2014, Brandeis University withdrew its offer of an honorary degree for her, saying that it had been unaware of her vitriolic attacks on Islam. While in the Netherlands, she wrote the script for a short and provocative film about women and Islam directed by the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was murdered in the street by a jihadist a short time after its release. The murderer left a note threatening to also kill Hirsi Ali pinned to his victim’s body with a knife.
In her 2007 interview with The London Evening Standard, Hirsi Ali “advocated the closing of Islamic schools in the West and said that ‘violence is inherent in Islam,’” according to a later account in The New York Times.
In her 2007 Reason interview, she said, “There comes a moment when you crush your enemy” militarily, and added, “There is no moderate Islam. … [T]here’s really only one Islam, defined as submission to the will of God. There’s nothing moderate about it.” And she told her interviewer that it wasn’t only “radical Islam” that needed to be defeated, saying, “No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.” She also told the journal that she had sought to “get rid of” all Islamic schools in the Netherlands while living there.
In a July 11, 2009, essay for the online World Post, Hirsi Ali criticized President Obama for denouncing “Islamic extremism without once associating Islam with extremism.” She threw cold water on the idea of the U.S cooperating with Muslims in order to battle jihadist extremism.
In an Aug. 18, 2010, Wall Street Journal op-ed, “How to Win the Clash of Civilizations,” Hirsi Ali said that Islam “is at war with America” and wrote that Western civilization “needs to be actively defended” against Islam.
Appearing on the March 23, 2015, edition of “The Daily Show,” she said, “If you look at 70% of the violence in the world today, Muslims are responsible.” Experts said the claim appeared to be bogus, and she later amended it to say 70% of fatalities “were in wars involving Muslims,” including civil wars.
David Horowitz is a former hardline Marxist who, with all the customary zeal of the converted, has made a career of maligning supposedly left-wing scholars, accusing an array of enemies including prominent conservatives of being agents of the Muslim Brotherhood, and publishing reckless attacks on “the American left, whose agendas are definitely to destroy this country,” as he told Al Jazeera in 2008. He added, “The American left wanted us to lose the Cold War with the Soviets and it wants us to lose the war on terror.” After his repudiation of leftist politics, Horowitz started the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, a group meant “to establish a conservative presence in Hollywood,” which was rebranded as the David Horowitz Freedom Center almost two decades later. The center publishes the online FrontPage Magazine, edited by Horowitz, and in recent years it has also become the premier financier of radical anti-Muslim extremism. In 2006, Horowitz wrote The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, a McCarthyist book that was pilloried by Free Exchange on Campus, a coalition of 10 influential groups including the American Association of University Professors, in a major study called Facts Count. The study concluded that “Horowitz’s research is sloppy in the extreme” and rife with “inaccuracies, distortions and manipulations of fact.”
Horowitz told the Columbia Spectator for its Oct. 15, 2007, edition that “somewhere between 150 million and 750 million Muslims support a holy war against Christians, Jews, and other Muslims who don’t happen to believe in the Quran according to Bin Laden.” As noted above (see Brigitte Gabriel), respected terrorism expert Peter Bergen surveyed other experts in 2014 and concluded that the global total of extremists belonging to jihadist groups was somewhere between 85,000 and 106,000 of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.
Horowitz’s center placed an ad in an April 2008 issue of a campus newspaper, The Daily Nexus, claiming that the Muslim Student Association was “founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the godfather of Al Qaeda and Hamas, to bring jihad into the heart of American higher education.” In fact, it had worked with Jewish campus groups, according to faculty members.
Speaking on May 12, 2008, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after running his April Daily Nexus ad attacking the Muslim Student Association, Horowitz said, “There is a movement for a second Holocaust of the Jews that is being supported on this campus by the Muslim Student Association!” He also described the traditional Arab keffiyeh headdress for men as a symbol of terrorism, according to a report in the Santa Barbara Independent.
In his 2006 book, The Professors, Horowitz defended the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, saying, “It is now known … that McCarthy underestimated the extent of Soviet infiltration in American government and that virtually all individuals called before congressional committees were involved in a conspiratorial network controlled by the Kremlin.” As pointed out in Facts Count, it is false that all or most of those who were called were involved in such a network. It is also untrue that McCarthy’s wild accusations were an underestimate.
In just one example of the propaganda in his book, The Professors, Horowitz wrote of widely respected Reconstruction scholar Eric Foner, “Professor Foner participated in an anti-war ‘teach in’ at Columbia University, where he invoked Communist Party icon Paul Robeson as a model of patriotism.” In his attack on Foner, Horowitz also noted that another professor at the teach-in had maligned the U.S. military and said he'd like "to see a million Mogadishus." But at the teach-in, Foner cited Robeson, who also has been honored on a U.S. stamp, only by saying, "The patriot is the person who is never satisfied with his country" — hardly a pro-Communist slogan. And Horowitz also failed to mention that Foner had criticized his fellow professor's comment about the military on the very same day as the teach-in, calling it "reprehensible."
Horowitz told Fox News on Sept. 3, 2010, that university professors are “recruiting for radical parties, terrorist-supporting parties, no question.”
On March 24, 2005, Horowitz claimed “there are only a couple of degrees of separation between anybody on the left and the terrorists — and that includes people in the Democratic Party, even those who are anti-terrorist.”
Ryan Mauro is a “national security analyst” with the Clarion Project+ (formerly, the Clarion Fund), an organization known for making and distributing millions of DVDs of anti-Muslim films that portray, among other things, the threat of Islamism as akin to Nazism. One of them, “The Third Jihad,” was described by The New York Times editorial board as “a hate-filled film about Muslims” that “argues that the real agenda for Islamists in America is to infiltrate and dominate the country.” Earlier, while working at the LGBT-bashing Christian Action Network, Mauro was the producer of similar propaganda film, “Sacrificed Survivors: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Mega-Mosque.” (The Park51 development it attacked was in fact not a mosque and was not located at Ground Zero.) Mauro also is known for vigorously pushing the false claim of “no-go zones” in France. (Like other Muslim-bashers, he confused a government list of “sensitive urban zones” for a list of no-go zones.) He has accused Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of being “in bed” with the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2005, at age 18, Mauro wrote a book, Death to America: The Unreported Battle of Iraq, that its Amazon description boasts “reveals the truth about the existence of Iraqi WMD programs and their movement into other countries, Saddam Hussein’s role in helping Osama bin Laden attack the free world, and the ongoing treachery of so-called allies.” Such claims about Iraq have been conclusively debunked. Past and present members of Clarion’s advisory board include extremists Frank Gaffney, Walid Phares and Zuhdi Jasser, who narrated Clarion’s 2005 film, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” 28 million copies of which were distributed as newspaper inserts in swing states shortly before the 2008 election that first brought Barack Obama to office. Several investigators have reported that The Clarion Project+ long shared an office and staff with Aish HaTorah, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish outreach organization.
In a January 2015 appearance on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” Mauro showed a map showing 20 American cities that he said housed one or more “radical Muslim organization[s].” Concerned officials in Oak Brook, Ill., contacted the FBI but were told that the two groups there mentioned by Mauro were not jihadist and that there were “no threats or concerns,” a village official said.
In a July 9, 2010, article on Islamist Watch while he was still a Christian Action Network official, Mauro said, “The French government actually has a website where it tabulates 751 ‘sensitive urban zones,’ which have been accurately described as ‘no-go zones.’” Actually, there is no such thing as no-go zones, as even Daniel Pipes, the originator of the no-go zone myth, has admitted. The 751 zones were areas where urban blight and poverty were serious problems.
“Islamist groups are, as we speak, hard at work creating Muslim states-within-states in the U.S.,” Mauro claimed in the same July 9, 2010, article. He then referred to 22 Muslim enclaves, such as Islamberg, N.Y., and to allegations that they have been used for “paramilitary training.” Law enforcement officials in Islamberg and elsewhere have refuted these baseless claims, which Mauro nevertheless termed “a profound challenge to America’s constitutional order.”
In a Feb. 17, 2010, article in David Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine, Mauro wrote that the Muslim Public Affairs Council was “an organization whose extremism has been catalogued.” In fact, the group has worked to ensure that mosques are not used as bases for terrorism, among other things, and no responsible official has accused it of supporting jihadist violence.
In a fawning review of his Death to America book in American Thinker — a right-wing journal featuring writers like attack dog Ann Coulter — Mauro is characterized as “connect[ing] both [Iraqi] Republican Guardsman Hussein Hashem al-Hussaini and suspected Iraqi agent Ramzi Yousef to the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Witnesses saw al-Hussaini there with Timothy McVeigh, and Yousef taught bomb making to Terry Nichols during their simultaneous stay with the Philippines’ Abu Sayyef terror group.” In fact, no credible evidence — other than the wild theories of McVeigh’s defense attorney — backs either of Mauro’s claims.
Maajid Nawaz is a British activist and part of the “ex-radical” circuit of former Islamists who use that experience to savage Islam. His story, which has been told repeatedly in the British and American press and in testimony to legislators as well, sounds compelling enough — Nawaz says he grew up being attacked by neo-Nazi skinheads in the United Kingdom, spent almost four years in an Egyptian prison after joining a supposedly nonviolent Islamist group, but had a change of heart while imprisoned and then returned to England to work against the radicalization of Muslims. But major elements of his story have been disputed by former friends, members of his family, fellow jihadists and journalists, and the evidence suggests that Nawaz is far more interested in self-promotion and money than in any particular ideological dispute. He told several different versions of his story, emphasizing that he was deradicalized while in Egypt — even though he in fact continued his Islamist agitation for months after returning. After starting the Quilliam Foundation, which he describes as an anti-extremism think tank, Nawaz sent a secret list to a top British security official that accused “peaceful Muslim groups, politicians, a television channel and a Scotland Yard unit of sharing the ideology of terrorists,” according to The Guardian. The same newspaper reported that in 2009, a Quilliam official said that “gathering intelligence on people not committing terrorist offences … is good and it is right,” discounting civil liberties concerns. His Quilliam Foundation received more than 1.25 million pounds from the British government, but the government eventually decided to stop funding it. One of Nawaz’s biggest purported coups was getting anti-Muslim extremist Tommy Robinson to quit as head of the violence-prone English Defence League, trumpeting his departure at a press conference. But Robinson later said Quilliam had paid him some 8,000 British pounds to allow Nawaz to take credit for what he already planned to do. Shortly afterward, Robinson returned to anti-Muslim agitation with other groups.
In the list sent to a top British security official in 2010, headlined “Preventing Terrorism: Where Next for Britain?” Quilliam wrote, “The ideology of non-violent Islamists is broadly the same as that of violent Islamists, they disagree only on tactics.” An official with Scotland Yard’s Muslim Contact Unit told The Guardian that “[t]he list demonises a whole range of groups that in my experience have made valuable contributions to counter-terrorism.”
Ed Husain of the Quilliam Foundation said collecting intelligence on people not accused of crimes is “good and it is right” if the purpose is to “prevent people getting killed and committing terrorism,” according to an Oct. 16, 2009, story in The Guardian. He added that this kind of intelligence gathering outweighs civil liberties concerns. “That’s the name of the game,” he said. “It’s not about doing the right thing by Islamists or liberal do-gooders, it’s about creating a society where liberal do-gooders survive freely.” Nawaz backed up his colleague, saying, “Is it right to spy on Muslims? The hypocrisy of the pro-extremist, paralyzed guilt-driven reverse-racism brigade over the recent ‘spying’ controversy is repugnant to say the least. … [N]o one, least of all Quilliam, advocated a police state, or spying on Muslims en masse as a community.”
According to a Jan. 24, 2014, report in The Guardian, Nawaz tweeted out a cartoon of Jesus and Muhammad — despite the fact that many Muslims see it as blasphemous to draw Muhammad. He said that he wanted “to carve out a space to be heard without constantly fearing the blasphemy charge.”
In a March 23, 2015, opinion piece in The New York Times, Nawaz claimed that British academia was thick with Islamist radicals. “In fact,” he wrote, “academic institutions in Britain have been infiltrated for years by dangerous theocratic fantasists. I should know: I was one of them.”
Robert Muise is the senior counsel of the American Freedom Law Center* (AFLC) and also its co-founder, along with anti-Muslim ideologue David Yerushalmi. The main activity of the center, whose mission is “to fight for faith and freedom,” has been to push a model statute written by Yerushalmi prohibiting the imposition of Shariah religious laws on U.S. courts — an impossibility, in criminal law, under the Constitution. As a lawyer, Muise has defended anti-Muslim propagandists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s ads attacking the Muslim faith as protected free speech, and defended the owners of a Florida gun shop and an Oklahoma gun range who refused to serve Muslims. He also defended a retired Marine who was charged with breaking Camp Lejeune, N.C., rules banning offensive stickers by driving a vehicle emblazoned with “Disgrace My Countries [sic] Flag And I Will Shit on Your Quran,” among other things. Earlier, Muise was with the right-wing Thomas More Law Center, where as senior trial counsel he filed a suit against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 that contended that “the sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible … and [impose] long jail sentences to silence Christians” from describing homosexuality as a sin. The claim was ludicrous — the law actually included explicit guarantees of free speech and religious liberty. Muise also once gave a 40-minute interview to the blatantly anti-Semitic American Free Press.
In an April 8, 2013, AFLC press release, Muise said: “It is crucial that Americans understand the threat our Nation faces from sharia-adherent Islam, especially from stealth jihadists who covertly seek to perpetuate sharia into American society.”
In a July 5, 2012, interview with the National Catholic Register, Muise said, “Most people don’t know that 80% of the mosques in the United States distribute literature that promotes violence against nonbelievers.” He cited a study co-authored by fellow AFLC extremist David Yerushalmi.
“Secular progressives have an agenda and know that Christians and Christian principles are their main obstacle,” Muise, an observant Catholic, said in the same July 5, 2012, interview with the National Catholic Register. “They don’t want us to be able to fight back. At the end of the day, it’s a battle between good and evil.”
Muise told Fox News on June 29, 2010, that “[i]t’s probably not a coincidence in a city where you have the largest Muslim population in the United States that you have police who are persecuting Christians.”
Discussing his defense of the owners of a Florida gun shop and an Oklahoma gun range who refused to serve Muslims in a Feb. 17, 2016, Reuters article, Muise said, “The law does not require a gun shop or gun range owner — owners of an inherently dangerous business — to equip or train the next jihadist.”
Attacking the federal hate crimes law in 2010, Muise said that “opponents of Christianity” were “continuing to press and fight as long and hard as they can to ensure that, you know, their really deviant sexual behavior is elevated to a special protected class … and they … want to silence Christians who oppose it. … [T]hey really want to equate the biblical teaching of homosexuality with racist speech…. I mean, this is all part and parcel of a really grand plan.”
On May 23, 2014, Muise told TV host Glenn Beck that America was “the chosen nation” and that it was “founded on Judeo-Christian principles.” “We have many domestic enemies,” he said, “and we’re going to fight them.”
Daniel Pipes, who founded the Middle East Forum in 1990 and is still its president, has an apparently respectable background as a professor at leading schools including Harvard University, where his father once taught, and the University of Chicago. But he largely left academia in 1986, telling an interviewer for Harvard Magazine that he had “the simple politics of a truck driver, not the complex ones of an academic.” And that self-assessment does not seem off base. In 2010, Pipes attacked Feisal Abdul Rauf, who was trying to build an Islamic center in lower Manhattan, and his wife, calling them “unsavory Islamists” and saying “this initiative carries the unmistakable odor of Islamic triumphalism” and “should be barred from opening.” In fact, Rauf is a well-known moderate who conducted trainings for the FBI and the State Department after 9/11 and spent a career trying to improve relations between Muslims and the West. In 2002, Pipes organized Campus Watch, a website widely accused of McCarthyism after publishing dossiers on college professors he deemed “hostile” to America. In 2004, Pipes endorsed the internment of ethnic Japanese in American prison camps in World War II and held that up as a model for dealing with Muslims today. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Pipes also was the original source of the much-ridiculed claim that there are hundreds of “no-go zones” in Europe where Shariah law prevails and where non-Muslims, including police, are afraid to go — a claim Bloomberg described as “totally false.” In 2013, after visiting Europe, Pipes took it all back, saying he "regret[ted] having called these areas no-go zones." Pipes’ Middle East Forum is a major funder of Muslim-bashers even more radical than himself.
In a Sept. 10, 2014, article in The National Review, Pipes reacted furiously to President Obama’s “preposterous claim” that the Islamic State was “not Islamic” in nature. Contrary to Obama’s “idiocy,” he said, the infamous terrorist organization is “100 percent Islamic … profoundly Islamic.”
Pipes criticized the “hypocrisy” of authorities who say they are not profiling Muslims, calling it “best to be honest and open about necessary preventive actions, however distasteful they may be” in a Dec. 22, 2005, article.
In an April 21, 2013, article, Pipes speculated that jihadist attackers might soon dress in the full-body coverings worn by ultra-conservative Muslim women and called for their banning. “One must expect future non-suicide bombers to turn to niqabs or burqas,” he wrote. “But why wait for them to engage in more murders? Why close the barn door only after the horse has run away? Far smarter would be to ban whole-body covers in public places now.”
Pipes attacked The 99, a comic book with Muslim superheroes that was lauded by President Obama, in an April 17, 2012, article. “[T]o the Islamic indoctrination of Western children, already present in schools through textbooks … now add comic books and the many spin-offs,” he said. “The 99 might be fine for Muslim children … but non-Muslim children should not be exposed to missionizing propaganda of this sort,” he concluded.
One day after the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing, Pipes told USA Today: “People need to understand that this is just the beginning. The [Muslim] fundamentalists are on the upsurge, and they make it clear that they are targeting us.” In fact, the bombing was carried out by Timothy McVeigh, an antigovernment American extremist who had nothing to do with Islam.
Walid Shoebat is a Palestinian American who claims to have been a Palestine Liberation Organization terrorist and who now spends his time flinging crude insults at Muslims and smearing virtually anyone who disagrees with him on any point. But like so many on the “ex-terrorist” Muslim-bashing circuit, the claims from Shoebat, who is now an evangelical Christian, are extremely dubious, as shown in serious investigations by CNN, The Jerusalem Post and others. For instance, officials in Israel could find no evidence that he once bombed an Israeli bank or spent time in Israeli jails, as he claims. Shoebat, who has been used as a “terrorism expert” on CNN and elsewhere, has asserted that all Muslim organizations in America “should be the No. 1 enemy,” described Muslims in Brussels, Belgium, as “bearded boiling brussel sprouts that stink till high heaven,” and smeared the Muslim Gold Star father who criticized Donald Trump as an Islamist operative. Shoebat’s blog is filled with vicious attacks on Muslims and non-evangelical Christians from both Shoebat and his filth-spewing son, Theodore Shoebat. The younger Shoebat has called for “Those Who Refuse to Submit to Christian Society,” along with LGBT people, to be put to death, and boastfully referred to himself as a “proud fascist.”
Walid Shoebat has called Islam “the devil,” according to a June 26, 2010, Washington Post story that questioned his claim to have been a terrorist.
In an undated YouTube video, Shoebat said of President Obama, “If Islam is not playing the major role in Antichrist spirit, why do you think the devil wants to appoint somebody connected to Islam in the White House?”
In an Aug. 18, 2010, appearance on “Fox &, Friends,” Shoebat said of Feisal Abdul Rauf, who was then trying to build the Park51 Islamic center in lower Manhattan: “His support of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic jihad movement has been expressed by him in the Arabic language. … This is straight support for terrorism.” In fact, Media Matters consulted two scholars of Islamic movements, asking them to read the Arabic newspapers that Shoebat cited. One of them called Shoebat’s claims a “blatant misrepresentation” and the other said the articles citing Rauf did “not show any support for terrorism.”
Shoebat claimed in a May 26, 2016, appearance on the One America News Network that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight and the Egypt Air flight that had recently crashed were destroyed by Muslim pilots wanting to be jihadist martyrs. There was no evidence for that claim, and none has emerged since.
In the same May 26, 2016, interview, Shoebat said he had stopped flying as a result of fearing Muslim pilots. “I stopped flying even in the U.S. two years ago,” he said. “I completely — I flew 3,000 flights to get my message out to this country. Finally, I realized, I get into an airline where I see 20 Yemeni students, it’s terrifying. I do not know if the pilot is Muslim or not.”
“All Islamic organizations in America should be the No. 1 enemy,” Shoebat said at a 2010 speaking engagement in South Dakota, according to a July 14, 2011, CNN investigative piece. “All of them,” he added. The same story quoted Shoebat claiming that law enforcement could easily have stopped the 9/11 attacks by looking for “zabibahs,” or marks on the foreheads of Muslims caused by bowing their heads to the ground during prayers: “[H]ad we looked at the zabibah only, we would have deflected a suicide action of killing 3,000 Americans.”
On April 22, 2013, Shoebat blamed multiculturalism for the Boston Marathon bombing. “There will be more to come, as long as we keep observing the modern world’s sick obsession with multiculturalism,” he and his son wrote in an essay, “The Tsarnaev Brothers and the Coming Savage Empire of Islam.”
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Robert Spencer is commonly referred to as one of the few real intellectuals in the anti-Muslim movement, and it is true that he is the author of more than a dozen books, two of which made the New York Times Best Seller List. But Spencer is entirely self-taught in the study of Islam, he has partnered with a woman known as one of the least reasoned enemies of Islam in the country, and he is given to the same kinds of extravagant, and often provably false, claims that characterize most Muslim-bashers. Spencer has complained of “Shariah enclaves” and predicted that they will grow across America, referred to Barack Obama as “the first Muslim president”, claimed that Islam “mandates warfare against unbelievers” and said that “traditional Islam is not moderate or peaceful”, and even suggested that the media may be getting money to depict Muslims in a positive light. Spencer started his own anti-Muslim website, Jihad Watch*, in 2003. In 2010, he co-founded both the American Freedom Defense Initiative* and Stop Islamization of America* with Pamela Geller. In 2013, he and Geller were banned from entering the United Kingdom for at least three years because the pair’s views “foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.” Spencer wrote a Nov. 8, 2011, article in Crisis magazine with a recommended reading list that included such white nationalist books as Jean Raspail’s 1973 Camp of the Saints, an intensely racist novel that depicts France overrun by swarthy hordes of non-white immigrants from India. In his Crisis article, Spencer described multiculturalism as a “heresy” that is intent on “denigrating and ultimately destroying the Judeo-Christian West.”
Angered at news about the production of a new line of halal-certified soups, Spencer reacted on Oct. 5, 2010, with a blog post headlined, "Campbell's Soup goes halal with approval from Hamas-linked ISNA."
In a Jan. 14, 2006, post on Jihad Watch, Spencer wrote: “[T]raditional Islam itself is not moderate or peaceful. It is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers.”
After the Conservative Political Action Conference made it clear that it was not then welcoming anti-Muslim extremists like him, Spencer described the extremely conservative gathering as a “Shariah-compliant conference.” He was speaking to anti-LGBT radio host Bryan Fischer on March 14, 2013.
On Sept. 16, 2011, Spencer told radio host Janet Mefferd that the term “Islamophobia” was created to criminalize criticism of Islam. Muslims “had a big public relations disaster on 9/11,” he said. “They’ve turned it around with amazing skill and I can’t help but think that maybe media is getting some money for this.” In the same interview, he said freedom of religion shouldn’t be “considered absolute” because Islam “impinges upon our freedoms.”
Spencer linked “the left” to Islam in a Sept. 19, 2011, radio show. “[T]he left doesn’t really like America or Western civilization and so I think that they see in Islam another entity that doesn’t like Western civilization and so they see it, in it an ally, and that’s essentially what’s going on,” he said.
In a Jan. 9, 2015, appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Spencer said a “core principle” of Islam is “the idea of emigrating to a new place to conquer and Islamize it, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.” He said “Shariah enclaves” will “inevitably grow and continue to grow until, finally, that’s all there is.”
Spencer claimed at a Feb. 15, 2010, event that it is “absurd” to think that “Islam is a religion of peace that’s been hijacked by a tiny minority.”
On the Feb. 25, 2003, edition of MSNBC’s “Nachman,” Spencer cited a cleric to assert that “80% of the mosques in the United States are actually controlled by extremists.”
David Yerushalmi, a Hasidic Jew who is a veteran of the right-wing Israeli settlers movement, is not only one of the most vitriolic and vicious U.S. critics of Islam and of all Muslims — he is also an especially effective propagandist who has done far more than most to make life miserable for American Muslims. He is best known for writing, in 2010, the American Laws for American Courts model legislation that has been adopted in more than half a dozen states and considered in more than a dozen others. The law is meaningless — foreign laws cannot constitutionally trump U.S. criminal laws — a fact that Yerushalmi, a lawyer, virtually admitted, telling The New York Times that its purpose was “heuristic,” or meant to teach Americans about the perils of Shariah rather than deal with a real legal problem. In 2006, he founded the Society of Americans for National Existence, which proposed a law making “adherence to Islam” a crime punishable by 20 years in prison, ordering Congress to declare war on “the Muslim Nation”, declaring non-citizen Muslims in America to be “alien enemies”, barring Muslim immigration, and setting up “special criminal camps” to house undocumented immigrants. In 2012, he co-founded the American Freedom Law Center*, with Robert Muise, to “defend our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage in the courts.” And he is general counsel to the Center for Security Policy*, an anti-Muslim group run by extremist Frank Gaffney. But his radicalism is not limited to attacking Muslims. In a 2006 essay, “On Race: A Tentative Discussion,” Yerushalmi described black people (in New York, "at least") as “the most murderous of peoples,” claimed that “[m]ost of the fundamental differences between the races are genetic” and asserted that “[t]here is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.” He is also a critic of democracy both in the United States and Israel. According to a 1997 article in The Jewish Week, Yerushalmi “condemns democracy in the United States” and, in a June rally earlier that year, denounced Israel as a democratic state and called for it to “cast off the yoke of liberal democracy.”
In an Aug. 4, 2006, article in The Intellectual Conservative, “Is the War Against Terror Rational?” Yerushalmi wrote, “Islam seeks our destruction." He went on to cite "conservatives" who "recognize Islam is not a ‘religion’ in the Western tradition but rather a license to murder by the wretched of the world." He added, "Reality tells us that Islam is a World State ideology that seeks the destruction of the West and our national existence.”
Yerushalmi said political correctness forbids asking “hard questions” about why “blacks in NYC are 2.5 times more overrepresented as murderers than any other race,” a July 12, 2001, Jewish Daily Forward article reported.
In an April 27, 2006, article in the The American Spectator that was entitled “Newt’s a Little Too Smart,” Yerushalmi wrote: “Our greatest enemy today is Islam. The only Islam appearing in any formal way around the world is one that seeks a world Caliphate through murder, terror and fear.”
“Islam was born in violence, it will die that way,” Yerushalmi wrote in a Sept. 9, 2006, book review. “Any wish to the contrary is sheer Pollyannaism.” In the same review, published in The American Thinker, he said: “The more carefully reviewed evidence, however, suggests that because jihadism is in fact traditional Islam modernized to war against the ideological threat posed by the West against Islam proper, there is no way to keep faithful Muslims out of the war. If this is true, any Muslim who sticks his neck out of the mosque to yell some obscenity at the West should be considered an enemy combatant and killed or captured and held for the duration of the war.”
Addressing a June 1997 pro-Israel rally, Yerushalmi asked, “What interest does America have in a strong Israel?” according to the Aug. 23, 1997, edition of The Jewish Week. “If your answer is democracy in a liberal or western sense, know you have sided with the Palestinians of Hamas.”
In a March 6, 2006, essay in The American Spectator, Yerushalmi wrote: “Islamic civilization has turned away from what few moments of civilized behavior it has manifested for now hundreds of years." He concluded his essay with this: "The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.”
Anti-Muslim extremist groups count on the media to cover their efforts and messaging as fact-based and backed by the majority of Americans. Too often, television networks, newspapers and other media organizations turn to these groups’ spokespeople as credible sources on national security, immigration and religious liberty, and valid counterpoints to real issue experts. Typically missing from the coverage of and interviews with these extremists is critical contextual information about their defamatory and false rhetoric and their hate group associations.
News consumers need to know that these groups and their leaders are far outside the mainstream, and that their factual assertions are very often completely baseless. As the Columbia Journalism Review pointed out in “Countering Misinformation: Tips for Journalists,” political misinformation “may pollute democratic discourse, make it more difficult for citizens to cast informed votes, and limit their ability to participate meaningfully in public debate.” The magazine added, “Use credible sources, don’t give credence to the fringe,” and pointed out that the more false claims are repeated, the more difficult it is to undo their pernicious effects. In the case of anti-Muslim extremists, false claims about a whole range of issues have the effect of fueling hatred of Muslims and, ultimately, criminal hate violence against them.
Hosts, reporters and editorial boards should consider the following steps in order to avoid giving these groups and their spokespeople a façade of legitimacy.
1. Research the background of extremist spokespeople and consider other sources.
Before you book a spokesperson from an anti-Muslim extremist group or quote them in a story, research their background — detailed in this in-depth guide to 15 of the most visible anti-Muslim activists— and consider the consequences of giving them a platform. Relying on their spokespeople, even if they are countered by another guest or a quote from someone who disagrees, can introduce a troubling false equivalency in reporting. When there is no question about the facts in such matters — the claim that Shariah law can be imposed on American criminal courts, for example, is completely false, that is not possible under the Constitution — the he said/she said style of simply presenting opposing viewpoints is actively harmful. It is also worth noting that most of those profiled in this guide are self-described experts only, and have no formal or real-world expertise in the subjects they purport to know.
Consider alternative sources who are credible experts and leaders from a variety of backgrounds, including Muslim researchers, advocates and community leaders. They can provide essential context for who extremist speakers are and verified facts to illuminate the real-world effects of anti-Muslim hate fueled by these speakers’ rhetoric and so-called “research.” They also can provide a good reflection of the diversity and authenticity of American Muslim experiences.
2. If you do use anti-Muslim spokespeople, point out their extremism.
If you do choose to rely on an extremist group’s spokesperson in your reporting, make sure that readers or viewers know who they are, beyond their self-identified areas of expertise. Referring to a guest only as a “conservative blogger” or a “think tank director,” for example, suggests to audiences that the person’s views are legitimate and effectively hides their extremist positions. This guide offers extensive evidence of the extremist views of various spokespeople that can be cited as a way to counter this. You may also want to include the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has designated many of their organizations as hate groups. (In this guide, those organizations that are recognized as hate groups are marked with asterisks, three that will be listed as hate groups for the first time in 2017 are marked with a cross. The SPLC defines a hate group as an organization that has “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”) The SPLC also has an extensive collection of “Extremist Files” on its website, splcenter.org, that provide detailed profiles of hateful activists and organizations.
You may also consider highlighting the link between anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Muslim hate crime violence. In 2010, for example, anti-Muslim hate crimes shot up by 50 percent, according to the FBI. It seems clear that the reason for that surge was the controversies generated by anti-Muslim propagandists about a proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan (which they called the “Ground Zero Mosque”) and about an alleged Muslim conspiracy to impose Shariah religious law on American courts. More recently, the anti-Muslim rhetoric in Donald Trump’s 2015-2016 campaign for the presidency has almost certainly inspired anti-Muslim hate violence.
3. Prepare to challenge hateful rhetoric and misinformation.
The anti-Muslim extremists and groups profiled in this guide have long histories of hateful, harmful rhetoric targeting American Muslims, immigrants and other communities. Before interviewing their spokespeople, prepare yourself to challenge and fact-check their claims — both new and recycled. If, during the interview, they tone down their rhetoric in an attempt to reach a more mainstream audience, viewers and readers would benefit by knowing what they have said and done in the past.
Some additional resources you may want to consult are the Center for American Progress’ “Fear Inc., 2.0” report, which tracks the money trail of the “Islamophobia Network”, the SPLC’s “Extremist Files” profiles of extremists, and surveys of and about the Muslim community, conducted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, respectively.
4. Don’t rely on opposing guests to challenge extremists.
If an extremist spokesperson is booked for a show or quoted in a story, don’t rely solely on another guest or counterpoint source to refute their claims. Viewers and readers count on you to also provide appropriate context for who they are and the cold, hard facts that illuminate the problems in their rhetoric and research.