The advance of the anti-Muslim movement across America

on 25 Comments

Shariah: The Threat to America, a report released by the Center for Security Policy in Washington DC on Wednesday, is an attempt to provide a veneer of seriousness in support of the hysterical ravings of people like Pamela Geller.

The fact that Washington’s foreign policy establishment won’t take the report seriously is beside the point since Islamophobia needs neither the consent nor the interest of the establishment or the mainstream media in order to continue its advance across America.

The fact that 52% of Republicans believe that President Obama supports the imposition of shariah is sufficient evidence that a new McCarthyism has already gained a firm grip on this country while opposition to this movement has barely begun to solidify.

Under a heading, “The Enemy Within,” the new manifesto for Islamophobes warns: “a massive demographic shift has brought adherents to shariah — a doctrine that, by definition, opposes all others — deep into the non-Islamic world. [p.127]”

Although the report describes shariah as “the crucial fault line of Islam’s internecine struggle,” with moderates on one side and Islamists on the other, the authors decline to express any opinion about which side of this “fault line” most American Muslims reside. Indeed, the focus on shariah merely seems to be a ploy through which Islam as a whole can be attacked by those who profess no hatred for Muslims.

At the very same time, shariah is likened to a disease — a disease spread by Muslims.

The growth of Muslim populations in the West augurs the inexorable spread of shariah into Western societies — less by violence than by dint of natural procreation, unchecked immigration, and the incessant demands of an aggressive minority that refuses to assimilate. Logic should tell us, then, that the growth of shariah in the West threatens Western-style liberty: threatens freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and upends religious and sexual equality. [p.130]

For those willing to shun evil, a path to redemption is laid out: “… every effort should be made to identify and empower Muslims who are willing publicly to denounce shariah…”

But there’s also a call for a Muslims-keep-out sign at the border: “Immigration of those who adhere to shariah must be precluded, as was previously done with adherents to the seditious ideology of communism.”

Is it possible that America could succumb to the folly that the Islamophobes are demanding?

Well, it’s worth considering the fact that two decades after the end of the Cold War and more than fifty years after the passing of McCarthyism, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service still scrutinizes prospective citizens to see if any communists are trying to sneak into this country.

In fact, Sharia presents about the same threat to America as that posed by the Bible. Had America’s founders stuck to the principle “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s,” it seems unlikely that the colonies would ever have sought independence. It wasn’t Christ who objected to taxation without representation.

Thomas Jefferson rightly believed:

…that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry, that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right…

Ironically, the Islamophobes manifesto that Frank Gaffney is now promoting, cites the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (in which the passage above appears), even while doing exactly what Jefferson condemned: proscribing American citizens as unworthy of public confidence unless they denounce their religion.

Maybe these fear- and hate-mongers should pay more attention to the principles upon which America was founded and worry less about Islam.

This article is cross-posted at Woodward’s site, War in Context.

25 Responses

  1. annie
    September 17, 2010, 9:48 am

    Center for Security Policy such luminaries as elliott abrams, dick cheney, caroline glick and frank gaffney. someone needs to drive a stake thru the crippled heart of this organization.

  2. Kathleen
    September 17, 2010, 9:56 am

    Emptywheel over at Firedoglake always hitting balls out of the park Focuses on this topic
    link to

    Hey Rayne (editor over at Seminal) over at FDL gets a bit more serious (she usually does light pieces.

    link to

    • potsherd
      September 17, 2010, 10:21 am

      I think the neocons have an idol of McCarthy in their inner sanctum, where they sacrifice animals and small brown children.

  3. Kathleen
    September 17, 2010, 9:57 am


    Coming up over at Washington Note

    Salam Fayyad at New America Foundation: Building Palestine Under Occupation
    link to

  4. potsherd
    September 17, 2010, 9:57 am

    “… every effort should be made to identify and empower Muslims who are willing publicly to denounce shariah…”

    This is like saying, “Every effort should be made to identify and empower Jews who are willing publicly to denounce halacha.” Let’s start a campaign accusing Jews of conspiring to impose Jewish religious law – arresting motorists who drive on the Sabbath, grocers who sell pork, etc. See how far you get before Abe Foxman comes screaming.

    It’s a virtual certainty that all the racist yahoos out there misspelling “shariah” on their protest signs never heard of it before the hatemongers started stirring up this issue.

  5. Larry
    September 17, 2010, 10:12 am

    There is just too much money to be made in promoting hate in America.
    This Pamela Geller would have pleased Joseph Goebbels. Is the irony lost on her?

    • seanmcbride
      September 17, 2010, 2:52 pm

      I think a strong case could be made that Pamela Geller’s hate speech exceeds even that of leading gutter Nazis (like Julius Streicher) in sheer fanaticism and psychosis. She may have established a new world record in this field. What a pity that she has conducted this campaign in the name of Israel and “the Jews.” The ADL should be much more alarmed than it is about the harm she has done.

  6. seanmcbride
    September 17, 2010, 10:19 am

    A few CSP members and affiliates: Andrew McCarthy, Aubrey Chernick, Caroline Glick, Charles Kupperman, Christopher Cox, David Steinmann, David Yerushalmi, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Dov Zakheim, Duncan Hunter, Elliott Abrams, Evan Galbraith, Frank Gaffney, Frederick Kagan, Gary Kasparov, Howard Teicher, Irving Moskowitz, James Inhofe, James Schlesinger, James Woolsey, John Lehman, Jon Kyl, Joseph Lieberman, Joyce Chernick, Laura Ingraham, Laurie Mylroie, Lawrence Kadish, Michael Ledeen, Michael Rubin, Midge Decter, Monica Crowley, Morris Amitay, Newt Gingrich, Paul Wolfowitz, Paula Dobriansky, Richard Perle, Robert Joseph, Victor Davis Hanson, William “Jerry” Boykin, William Bennett.

    See a pattern?

    • potsherd
      September 17, 2010, 12:51 pm

      It’s the entire crew! I wonder if they have trouble keeping straight which organization it is today.

      • seanmcbride
        September 17, 2010, 2:48 pm

        It’s interesting that they try to make themselves look much larger, more important and more influential than they are by magnifying their presence with dozens of organizations that are simply clones of one another.

        But here is the key question: who is funding them? In particular, which billionaires are putting up the money? My read is that fewer than a dozen pro-Israel billionaires are driving the entire neoconservative/Christian Zionist movement.

      • seanmcbride
        September 17, 2010, 5:55 pm

        The current crisis in American politics is gradually coming down to this question: which dozen or so pro-Israel billionaires (Jewish and non-Jewish), who have funded, sponsored and enabled neoconservatives, Christian Zionists and neo-Confederates (including the CSP), have done the greatest damage to the American political system, to American culture and to American interests? Who exactly should be held accountable for the disastrous multi-trillion dollar wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Global War on Terror, the Clash of Civilizations, Judeo-Christian fascism, rising Islamophobia, and the drift in American society towards a xenophobic and aggressively militaristic police state under the control of Likud Greater Israelists who are now bold enough to *brag* about their control? How is this mess going to be straightened out?

    • Shingo
      September 17, 2010, 3:57 pm

      I expected to see Hitchens on that list.

  7. Shmuel
    September 17, 2010, 10:34 am

    “The enemy within”, “world domination”, “imposition of foreign religious law”, “disease”, “procreation”, “unchecked immigration”, “religion of the devil” …

    Weren’t those “protocols” proved a forgery? I know they’ve changed a few of the names (e.g. Islamism instead of Talmudism), but the work is still basically the same, no?

    • Bumblebye
      September 17, 2010, 11:09 am

      Don’t forget Gaffney’s “stealth” language – referring to Rauf’s “muslim brotherhood” in the full knowledge that listeners will make the assumption from that that he’s a member of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. Are all todays posts going to be about the concerted efforts of the dangerous right to make fascism and racism respectable again?

      • Avi
        September 17, 2010, 2:17 pm

        That’s how good propaganda works, including guilt by association tactics, insinuations, and so on. Look at my verbal attack on David Samel. He wrote several thoughtful articles about the shooting of the settlers, but because he took on the task of writing about that incident, his name — from my point of view — was associated with the story about the settlers. Subconsciously, David became the poster child — if you will — of those settlers. I don’t mean it in the sense that I viewed him as the equivalent of one of the settlers, but that incident and the rationale behind denouncing the attack, became associated — in my mind, as a mental image — with David Samel. It was guilt by association.

        David didn’t have to denounce or support the shooting of the settlers, the mere fact that his name was associated over and over with that story — in my mind — resulted in my seeing him as a ‘settler apologist’, if you will. So, by the time he wrote the fourth article, it only took one insignificant innocuous comment for me to lash out at him. An act that was unjustified and inappropriate. The aforementioned certainly does not excuse my behavior, but it was a good lesson for me in how critical thinking can sometimes be ‘short-circuited’.

      • Bumblebye
        September 17, 2010, 2:49 pm


        It was awfully hard not to feel David was almost identifying with the settlers at times. So many posts about the same thing seemed obsessive!

        And the endless repetition of zionist memes, tropes, falsifications, whathaveyous in print, audio & visual media, with this new attempt to “push” the West towards the same kind of mindset of the Israeli public makes it damn hard to hold on to the real facts & figures without carrying them around all the time! Whenever the issue is there, the Israeli pov gets something like 98% of the space/airtime.

  8. seanmcbride
    September 17, 2010, 10:55 am

    CSP (Center for Security Policy) [associated neoconservative organizations] 1. AEI (American Enterprise Institute) 2. BPC (Bipartisan Policy Center) 3. ECI (Emergency Committee for Israel) 4. FDD (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) 5. FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative) 6. Hudson Institute 7. JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) 8. Keep America Safe 9. MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) 10. Middle East Forum 11. PNAC (Project for the New American Century) 12. RJC (Republican Jeiwsh Coalition) 13. Shalem Center 14. UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran) 15. WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    Any others?

    • Jeff Klein
      September 17, 2010, 11:39 am

      Where does this list come from?

      • seanmcbride
        September 17, 2010, 12:44 pm

        Jeff — the list comes from personal observations, and from following the analysis of the leading experts on neoconservatism. Corrections, additions, disagreements, etc. welcome.

      • Jeff Klein
        September 17, 2010, 1:24 pm

        I agree that these organizations (and many others) form a coherent right-wing, Neocon/Zionist network. I just thought you had gotten this list somehow from the CSP web site — which I couldn’t find.

  9. Jeff Klein
    September 17, 2010, 11:20 am

    Breaking news. . .
    Quick, call out the Brown Shirts!

  10. DICKERSON3870
    September 17, 2010, 5:00 pm

    RE: “Maybe these fear- and hate-mongers should pay more attention to the principles upon which America was founded…” – Woodward
    MY COMMENT: The Geller-Gaffney Axis of Disingenuous Absurdities gives neither a tinker’s damn nor a rat’s ass about the principles upon which America was founded!

  11. DICKERSON3870
    September 17, 2010, 5:26 pm

    RE: “…the focus on shariah merely seems to be a ploy through which Islam as a whole can be attacked by those who profess no hatred for Muslims.” – Woodward
    SEE: Here Come the True Believers: The Great Muslim Scare ~ By Lawrence Davidson, Counterpunch, 09/16/10

    (excerpts) In the year 1951 the American working class intellectual Eric Hoffer described those he called the True Believers. These are people who are alienated from their present conditions and suffer feelings of insecurity and uncertainty about the way their lives and communities are heading. To set things straight they seek out movements, either of the right or the left, that claim to have assured answers to problems while offering comfort and solidarity in a fellowship of like believers. The leaders of such movements often can be demagogues who expect their followers to be, well, true believers. The one and the many are made for each other in this regard. The solution to problems almost always entails conspiracy theories and the confronting of enemies, both internal and external. In generally uncertain and fearful times, more and more of the citizenry can be pulled into such movements, attracted by leaders who are assertive in a mesmerizing way. All societies have such true believers in them and today’s America is no exception…
    …Now enter Pamela Geller, one of America’s up and coming, famous and infamous, purveyors of Islamophobia. Essentially, Ms Geller is advocating an American crusade against Islam. She would no doubt yell and scream that this is not so, but consider the fact that she is the one who, almost single handedly, turned the debate over the proposed Islamic center for southern Manhattan, the one two blocks from “ground zero,” into a clash of civilizations. Along with air time on Fox News, Ms. Geller accomplished this via the web, from her blog, Atlas Shrugs. This achievement must stand as a milestone in web history, though not a particularly wholesome one. It looks very much like this lady is positioning herself to be a leader of just the kind of movement Eric Hoffer described. Here are some of Ms Geller’s other particulars…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to

  12. RoHa
    September 18, 2010, 12:59 am

    There is a lot of shariah law that I am not happy with, but I suspect the people peddling this anti-shariah line chiefly object to shariah law on investment and interest.

  13. AM
    September 18, 2010, 4:51 am

    ZEeeeomg, that scares me! I don’t watch TV, and don’t really read anything in the mainstream media…and I had no idea that demonization is at that level. I guess living in the bubble that I live in, I don’t see/notice it at all; and I’m hoping that the people I interact with already know it is bunk…however, to see absolute poppycock being paraded around as gospel is quite freaky when you realize how many households listen to the lies, take it in, and quietly start to think “we” are the enemy.

    Why are these people so interested in demonizing Muslims!?

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