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A Neo-Nazi On Campus By: Gamaliel Isaac
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 16, 2003


Last week, two Philadelphia universities became the home of a growing, disturbing alliance of radical Muslims and white anti-Semites. The Muslim Student Association, a Wahhabi Islamist front, invited Dr. Bill Baker to speak at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University on the similarities between Christianity and Islam. Baker had recently been fired from Rev. Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral after California media revealed Baker was the founding chairman of an anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi political group, the Populist Party. To make matters worse, UPenn paid Baker $5,000 for his insights.

 

Thanks to FrontPage Magazine and some local activists, the invitation did not go unnoticed. On Thursday, October 9, Steve Feldman, executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, sent out an email alert to ZOA members. He forwarded the text of Jonathan Calt Harris’ FrontPage Magazine article on Baker, “Muslim Students at Penn Sponsor a Nazi." It demonstrated that the speaker the Muslim Student Association, (MSA) was bringing to campus that night, Dr. Bill Baker, was no well-meaning country parson on a mission of healing, but a man with a long history of involvement with neo-Nazis.

 

I condensed the FrontPage article to a single page, added two links to articles about the persecution of Christians under Islam and ran off a few hundred copies in the campus copy store. I then called Penn security to tell them that I would be handing out fliers at the Muslim event and asked them to show up in case exercising my First Amendment rights led to violence. (At one point, a Penn security guard would in fact show up, cycle once around the building and leave.)

 

After handing out fliers to people walking into the event, I went into the room and walked down each aisle, handing out fliers. The action went well, until one of the organizers spotted me and asked me to leave.

 

I was then approached by a member of the MSA, who asked me, "Why are you doing this?" He then asked me why I hadn't told the MSA a couple of weeks in advance that the speaker was a neo-Nazi instead of distributing fliers at their event. He said the MSA had new visitors at the meeting and were afraid my revealing the Nazi background of the Islamist group’s invited speaker might make a bad impression on them.

 

I calmly replied, "If I had told you who Bill Baker was two weeks ago, would you have cancelled the invitation?" He did not answer.

 

I continued that I did not know who Baker was myself until that day, but it's the MSA’s responsibility to know who they are inviting to campus in their name, not mine.

 

I then suggested that if the MSA wanted to clear the whole thing up, they could write a letter to the Daily Pennsylvanian saying that they didn't realize that their speaker was a neo-Nazi; they had simply wanted to promote good relations between Muslims and Christians brought into this charlatan’s rhetoric. If they would say they made a mistake, were sorry, and repudiated all forms of anti-Semitism and bigotry, the campus would forgive them (this time).

 

The MSA did not take my advice. When Daily Pennsylvanian reporter Margherita Ghiselli asked Muhammad Mekki, president of the Muslim Students Association, about the neo-Nazi allegations, Mekki replied that "the speaker's alleged anti-Semitic position" was "irrelevant to the discussion."

Instead, he covertly turned the fire on those who would expose Baker’s neo-Nazi history. Mekki continued, “There can be misunderstandings, but criticism must be raised in a civilized manner.”

 

In other words, when a group with ties to extreme fundamentalist Islam invites a neo-Nazi to campus it’s no big deal. When mainstream students expose MSA’s alleged “misunderstandings” by informing an audience of their speaker's bigoted past, they are not acting “civilized.” Dehumanization: a tried and true Nazi technique.

 

This is certainly a far cry from the apology that I suggested the MSA make.

 

Steve Feldman, who was not forcibly ejected, stayed to hear the speech and said Baker smoothed over concerns about Islam and alleged it was compatible with Christianity – but left Judaism out of the lovefest.

 

Baker said, "Terror, murder -- that's not what Islam teaches.” He continued that "It wasn't Muslims crashing into the World Trade Center; it was haters and extremists." He also taught that Christianity is peaceful. "You can't be a Christian and firebomb a school bus because they're Muslim. It's not in the Bible or the Torah or the Koran," Baker explained.

 

"There should never be a pretext for Muslims and Christians to go to war ever again," he asserted. Good as far as it goes, but what about Muslims going to war against Jews? This is more to the point, since the war between Muslims and Jews has raged for more than 50 years. He remained oddly silent. Yet he assured the crowd Christianity and Islam must learn about one another.

 

"Ignorance is the enemy of truth," he said. "As long as you are ignorant, you can be manipulated." Manipulated by whom? 

 

Baker quickly cleared up what he meant by demonizing the Jews. "Non-Christians and non-Muslims are fomenting hatred for political purposes," he said. Non-Christians and Non-Muslims, eh? Wonder who that leaves?

 

Baker then blasted pro-Israeli Christian leaders Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham because they've criticized Muslims or Mohammed.

 

During his speech, Baker spoke about his time as an archaeology student on digs near the Temple Mount. In light of the suspect nature of his other claims, we can't assume that he was ever an archaeology student or present at the Temple Mount. Nonetheless, he asserted that he was on such a dig at one of Judaism’s holiest sites, a site at which Muslims have been discovering lots of Jewish artifacts. Baker made no mention of any Jewish artifacts, instead referring to the Temple Mount as "the third holiest site in Islam" – entirely omitting its Jewish importance.

 

Baker also predictably condemned America's toppling of Saddam Hussein – much like David Duke, Aryan Nations, Willis Carto (Baker’s old boss in the Populist Party) and other assorted nutcases like the ones Baker used to recruit. The good “reverend doctor” accused America of colonialism, receiving roars of leftist support when he said, " My America is not colonialist."

 

After the speech Steve Feldman approached Baker and asked him, "This mission you're on to bring Muslims and Christians together, did you come up with this before, during or after your anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi work for the Populist Party?"

 

Baker did not answer directly, instead claiming that the FrontPage Magazine article was fraudulent and concocted by the demonic Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

 

Then he claimed that contrary to the article, he was not fired by the Crystal Cathedral. On Monday, October 14, I called up Dr. Schuller's Crystal Cathedral Ministeries and spoke to John Charles, the Director of Public Relations for the Cathedral. He said that they didn't fire Baker; they just terminated his stipend, stopped giving him office space and disassociated themselves from him. (Thanks for the distinction; clearly no rebuke in that!) Charles said after the allegations of Baker’s anti-Semitic history surfaced in the California media, they were not able to confirm any of Baker’s alleged credentials.

 

The day after the speech, Margherita Ghiselli wrote about Baker’s talk in the Daily Pennsylvanian. This reporter, who is taught by her profession to be insightful and skeptical of authority, wrote about how "1997 Nobel Peace Prize nominee" Bill Baker lectured on the similarities between Christianity and Islam and the possibility of building bridges between the two religions.

 
Margherita Ghiselli, was told that Mr. Baker was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.  An article in the Orange County Register said that "In 2000, he boasted to an Orange County Register reporter that he had been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, yet anyone can nominate anybody to the Nobel committee ("Hour of White Power," Orange County Weekly, Feb 15-21, 2002).  I went to the Nobel website to find out if there was any record of him being a Nobel Peace Nominee and read the following tidbit:
 
"According to the Statutes of the Nobel Foundation, nominators must not make public the names of the nominees nor inform nominees privately of the proposals. Even invitations to propose names are confidential. Proposals received for the award of a prize, and investigations and opinions concerning the award of a prize may not be divulged. The names of the nominees are classified as confidential information for at least fifty years."
 
This demonstrates that there is no way for anyone outside of the Nobel committee, including Mr. Baker, to know if he is a Nobel nominee. Given Baker's notorious history of lying about his credentials and anti-Semitic connections, we should chalk this up as another of his many lies, all too often accepted by the media.

 

Ghiselli reported that students swallowed Baker’s message, too. Ghiselli quotes senior Sarah Matthews as echoing Baker, saying, "It's important to recognize that conflicts in the world are not based on religion.” At least, not on radical Islam, right?

 

The next day Steve Feldman, talked to a Jewish student from Penn who attended the talk. The student told frustrated Mr. Feldman that he didn't see anything wrong with the speech.

What’s wrong with the speech is that a seemingly unrepentant neo-Nazi, a professional anti-Semitic recruiter with apparently no verifiable credentials lectured a room full of impressionable young adults about the glories of two of the world’s three great monotheistic religions while reviling the third – on the university’s dime. If those students leave the speech accepting Baker’s views, that is their right; we are on campus to discuss and debate ideas, even ideas that are repugnant. But at least thanks to a few of us and the people at FrontPage Magazine, those students will know who the salesman is before they decide to buy.




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