February 13, 2017


Trump's counter-jihad (Zack Beauchamp, Feb. 13th, 2017, Vox)

Last July, a sharply dressed man named Frank Gaffney walked onto the stage of a crowded convention center in downtown Denver and proceeded to calmly warn his audience that Muslims were working to conquer America from the inside.

Speaking without notes at a glass lectern, Gaffney -- who worked, decades ago, as a Pentagon official in the Reagan administration -- told the audience that political leaders from both parties had spent years covering up the true threat to the US. It didn't come from terrorists acting in the name of Islam. It came from Islam itself.

Gaffney said that sharia, the Arabic term for Islamic law, was a "brutally repressive, totalitarian, political, military, and legal program" for gradually subverting Western governments and replacing them with ones that adhere to harsh Islamic dictates. And in the US, those efforts were already well underway.

"This program of subversive, stealthy penetration and takedown is operating. It's, in fact, been at work for 50 years," he said. "Our government has been subverted."

Gaffney wasn't speaking metaphorically. He accused "agents of Hillary Clinton" of shredding files about Muslim radicals living both inside and outside the US and said that then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was surrounded by "a small echo chamber which is filled by Muslim Brotherhood operatives."

The notion of senior US officials intentionally weakening American national security or appointing advisers who were literal members of a Middle Eastern Islamist movement is preposterous. But it's important to take Gaffney seriously: He isn't some little-known crank pumping out Islamophobic literature on the internet, and the event wasn't a fringe gathering outside the political mainstream.

It was instead the 2016 Western Conservative Summit, a major meeting of thousands of Republican activists in Denver billed as "the largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington, D.C." Other featured speakers included then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, major conservative media figures like Hugh Hewitt and Erick Erickson, and two sitting US senators.

Gaffney is an important cog in a vast and growing ecosystem that exists just out of sight of most Americans -- one that has spent years pushing the notion that there is a creeping, quiet plot to take over America from within. It is a plan that springs from Islamic scripture itself, and is supported by most mainstream Muslim organizations, most mosques, and, in all likelihood, your Muslim neighbor.

The only way to be safe from the threat, according to Gaffney and other self-proclaimed "counter-jihadists," is to slash Muslim immigration, arrest key leaders of the Muslim American community, and shut down huge numbers of mosques. They have not gone so far as to propose outright ethnic cleansing; Gaffney, in his speech, says he has Muslim friends. Their dream, instead, is to destroy the Muslim American community without kicking out Muslims.

The dire warnings are spread through an influential lobby, slick documentaries, and best-selling books with titles like The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion. And now that fearful vision of Islam has found a home in the Trump White House.

Senior strategist Steve Bannon is a devotee of Gaffney's ideas, as are National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump's political adviser, Kellyanne Conway, has done polling for Gaffney designed to illustrate the scale of the threat Muslims pose to America. And Trump himself has said things that sound like they could have been ripped from counter-jihadist literature.

...is that they hate the America we live in.
Posted by at February 13, 2017 9:19 AM