[Editor's note: In a previous version of this article run on Jan. 31, 2007, the author claimed that Dr. Laura Schlessinger apologized to CAIR. This is not the case. In fact, Dr. Schlessinger has stood her ground against CAIR's attempts to intimidate her. We regret the error.]
Over the last two weeks, Muslim organizations with questionable ties to terrorist groups have unleashed criticism and a storm of verbal attacks against California’s U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, KRLA radio talk show host Dennis Prager, CNN television commentator Glenn Beck, and the FOX executives who make the hit television show “24.” All have been charged by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) with “Islamophobia” and anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice. The Muslim groups have claimed that Muslim civil liberties have been infringed and interfaith relations damaged as result of various actions and broadcasts.
These organizations have called for Sen. Boxer to reissue an award she rescinded to a Sacramento Islamic activist. They have requested that scheduled speaking engagements be restructured; they have organized a nationwide opposition campaign, and they have demanded censure of a TV program storyline. These four, recent efforts by ostensibly “mainstream” Muslim organizations to censure prominent public figures and edit media content is part of a pattern of activism that far exceeds the more reasonable efforts of other religious and civil rights groups. The efforts represent, not simply assertions of opposing views, but covert attempts to silence the discourse on Islam and squelch efforts to educate the public about terrorist activities and subversive organizations. They represent the subterfuge at the heart of radicalized followers of the Islam, which seek, not peaceful coexistence within a diverse society, but the destruction of democracy and all our religious freedoms in order to secure the dominance of their religion.
Attacks on Boxer
The first incident involving Sen. Boxer arose after the senator rescinded an award given to a CAIR chapter executive in early January. She had reviewed online accounts that linked the organization to terrorist entities. CAIR with 32 chapters nationwide and in Canada, bills itself as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group.” Sen. Boxer discovered that CAIR members have been sentenced to prison for conspiracy to support terrorist activities and that they have refused to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations.
Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national director, claimed that Boxer succumbed to right-wing pressure and that her actions amounted to guilt by association. He complained that it was unfair to hold the organization, “a proponent of civil rights for Muslim Americans,” accountable for the actions of a few individuals. Sen. Boxer met with a CAIR delegation last week but refused to reinstate the award. Although a CAIR press release said that the group and Boxer will continue to work together to encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties and build coalitions for justice and mutual understanding, staff members at four of Boxer’s offices declined to confirm whether the senator plans to work with CAIR.
Despite attempts to portray itself as a moderate, mainstream organization, CAIR has a long-standing history of support for terrorism. In 1993, FBI surveillance uncovered that CAIR founders attended an organizational meeting to assist fundraising efforts for the Hamas terrorist group. In 1998, CAIR’s co-founder, Omar Ahmed, told an audience in Fremont, California, that “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.” “The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth,” Ahmed said then.
Also in 1998, CAIR co-hosted a rally at Brooklyn College in which radical leaders called for “jihad” and referred to Jews as “pigs and monkeys.” Today, CAIR routinely defends Muslims suspected of suspicious or illegal behaviors. The organization recently sought special state provisions to allow Muslim cab drivers to bar passengers carrying alcohol and those with seeing eye dogs. CAIR retained legal counsel and called for an airline boycott when Muslim clerics were recently removed from a U.S. Airways flight after their aggressive behavior aroused suspicions.
Attacks on Prager
More recently, CAIR joined MPAC in the second of four recent attempts to silence the discourse on Islam, this time focusing on a radio talk show host. Both organizations urged a Los Angeles-area Jewish group to invite a Muslim representative to “balance” an event featuring popular talk show host, Dennis Prager. CAIR and MPAC called Prager “Islamophobic,” because of a recent Prager opinion piece calling for newly-elected Congressman Keith Ellison, D-MN, to abide by the American tradition of being sworn into office using the Bible. Ellison, a Muslim, opted for the Koran.
Prager suggested both tomes should be used because of the symbolism inherent in the Bible. The Bible has been used for years in swearing in ceremonies to symbolize acceptance of Judeo-Christian values and principles that underpin U.S. laws, Prager argued. Any newly elected official of any religious faith unwilling to acknowledge the role of the Bible shouldn’t serve in Congress, he opined.
Although Prager focused on the symbolism of the Bible and didn’t specifically criticize Islam, CAIR and MPAC used this example to cast him as an “Islamophobe” and called for his removal from the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Prager “displayed an intolerance toward Islam that makes him inappropriate to serve on the council,” CAIR wrote.
A close look at Congressman Ellison’s background may explain why CAIR and MPAC have championed his cause and it raises legitimate concerns about his ties to the Nation of Islam, CAIR and the strength of his allegiance to the American constitution. Ellison admits to a brief involvement with the Nation of Islam, but his activities under the aliases of Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison, and Keith Ellison-Muhammad point to a more extensive period of activity with the anti-Semitic, radical group. Ellison appeared at an unpublicized fundraiser with CAIR executive director and Hamas supporter Nihad Awad and accepted financial support from CAIR for his campaign. He has been a recent speaker at annual conventions for the Muslim American Society, which is allied with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Circle of North America, which is allied with Islamic militant movements in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Furthermore, Ellison’s election success was cheered to shouts of “Allahu-Akbar” by his constituents, a phrase known to Westerners as a chant preceding the beheading of an infidel. Ellison’s use of Thomas Jefferson’s Koran for his swearing-in ceremony was a duplicitous publicity stunt in which he falsely proclaimed Jefferson’s religious tolerance. In fact, Jefferson owned the Koran to study the enemy during America’s first war with Islamic terrorists who robbed and enslaved European and American sailors in the late eighteenth century on the Barbary Coast.
Attacks on Beck
Another attempt by Muslim activists to silence a broadcast commentator occurred Jan. 23, when MPAC and the ADC issued a press release opposing ABC’s decision to hire Glenn Beck as a regular commentator on “Good Morning America.”
Beck’s shows provide decidedly unconventional news analysis, eschewing political correctness and featuring up close and personal perspectives. Beck contends that explicit discussions about Muslim extremism are not taking place in America for fear of repercussions and charges of bigotry. He has shown clips of Muslim extremists spouting anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Jewish rhetoric; videos of suicide bombers preparing for martyrdom; and footage of children being groomed for jihad and indoctrinated in a culture of hate.
Beck has said that he fears Americans are not taking the threat of Islamic extremism seriously, that Arab and Muslim Americans are apathetic to terrorism, and that dire need for the kind of programming he provides exists. As a result, he is being targeted for educating viewers about the threat of radical Islam and the manifestations of jihad in the Western world.
Faced with the possibility of Beck appearing on national television, MPAC and the ADC requested a meeting with network executives. They accused Beck of demonstrating “an obvious anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice in his broadcasts through threats and blatantly inaccurate statements.” They deemed his hiring as tacit network approval of “dangerous and irresponsible” hate speech and providing of a platform for its expression.
Yet, criticism of Beck and his editorial content come from groups that do not fare well upon closer examination. MPAC presents itself as an organization that embraces American values and believes in peaceful coexistence with Jews and Christians. In fact, it is closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and espouses the radical ideology of Islam known as Wahhabism. MPAC falsely claims that Muslim extremists are no more numerous than fundamentalists in other faiths. The organization has referred to the terrorist group, Hezbollah, as a “liberation movement” and called the terrorist bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 a “military operation.” Further, MPAC has declared that Hamas is a political entity that provides social and educational programs. Hours after the 9/11 attacks, MPAC co-founder Salam Al-Marayati suggested on a Los Angeles-based talk radio program that the State of Israel could have been behind the attacks.
Meanwhile, the ADC, which purports to be a non-religious civil rights group, was a plaintiff in the first major legal challenge to the Patriot Act. It has depicted all Justice and Treasury Department anti-terrorism efforts as unfair and ethnically-biased discrimination. Since 9/11, the ADC has vigorously fought against racial profiling and has made public accusations of Israeli control of U.S. military operations.
Attacks on “24”
Finally, Muslim groups have not stopped with criticism of politicians and commentators. They have leveled their sights against entertainment offerings as well by focusing on the Fox Broadcasting network’s television show “24.”
Although the show depicts terrorists of many ethnic groups, CAIR recently criticized the show’s creators for fueling anti-Muslim prejudice with its latest storyline showing Islamic terrorists detonating a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles.
CAIR charged that such episodes encourage racial hatred and negatively affect viewer attitudes on civil liberties and religious freedom. Fox rejected the criticism, denied singling out any particular group as villains and will broadcast the season’s episodes as planned. But, though the series has featured terrorists who are Germans, Russians, Americans and Baltic Europeans, only Muslims are privileged with a disclaimer preceding each episode at CAIR’s insistence.
A pattern of attacks
These four incidents are just the latest in series of efforts by CAIR, MPAC, the ADC and other radical Muslim groups to effectively employ intimidation to shut down discussion, stop criticism and win special concessions for perceived “Islamophobia.” The groups have used the threat of legal action and concomitant negative publicity to browbeat media personalities, government officials and corporations into paroxysms of contrition. In this era of political correctness where a charge of bigotry trumps all crimes, they have won apologies from talk radio veterans like Paul Harvey and been instrumental in the firing of WMAL host Michael Graham.
CAIR and other extremist Muslim groups have used economic actions, including boycotts and pressuring of major advertisers. Prior to winning a public apology and recompense from U.S. Airways when the provocative behavior of six imams alarmed passengers, CAIR threatened to boycott the airline. When Muslim groups charged that featuring Serge Trifkovic’s book “The Sword of the Prophet” on National Review Online defamed Islam, they pressured the Boeing Corporation to revoke its advertising commitments from the online journal. Last year, fear of violence was sufficient intimidation to prevent U.S. publishing of European cartoons about Mohammed. Although other religions are routinely lampooned in political cartoons across the country, not a single major American news outlet dared to publish the caricatures of Mohammed.
The failure to stand firm against this type of subterfuge undermines our constitutional rights and ultimately our national security by silencing important discourse and questions about Islam. By not engaging in the debate that must take place to face this threat, we are aiding and abetting its cultural infiltration into all aspects of our society. The Islam of the Koran, as practiced by radical Muslims, is an intolerant religion which enforces a code of barbarism where women and non-Muslims are second-class citizens, homosexuals and adulterers are stoned to death, suspected thieves face amputations, daughters who “dishonor” their families are murdered, apostates are killed and religious practice is enforced by police.
Quite clearly, our view of Islam and Muslims emanates principally from the worldwide actions of its dominant followers and not those who are merely alerting us to the threat. Surely we are aware that not all Muslims are terrorists, but that most terrorists are Muslims. It is high time that we openly acknowledge the fact that many ingredients of Islam are a serious threat to America and antithetical to the precepts of democracy.
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