While Republican presidential candidates are competing to establish their cred as opponents of Islam, ACT! for America a leading organization fostering hostility and fear toward Muslims, met in DC last week for their National Conference. About 250 activists (and I’m sure more than one observer) from around the country listened to impassioned speeches, cruised the Potomac, had lunch at the Capitol Hill Club and lobbied members of Congress.
The narrative is the same: there are Muslim terrorists in the world who want to destroy America. While not all Muslims are terrorists, you can’t tell which ones are because they all lie. “They’re wolves in sheep’s clothing, taqiyyah to the max,” according to Erick Stakelbeck of Pat Robertson’s CBN News, who also said that “‘The Left’ is in cooperation with the Islamists to bring down Judeo Christian America.
The crowd was mostly couples, ranging from 30-somethings to 60-somethings, nearly all white. They had clearly participated in these events before because many knew the intricacies of the argument that there is a well connected global jihad out to overtake the U.S. and ultimately the whole world. Shouting out the answers to “questions” designed to elicit specific responses, it reminded me of a kindergarten teacher who frames questions for students to answer in unison: “the day after Thursday is…”
In addition to Stakelbeck, the three-day conference featured author Andrew Bostom, counterterrorism “expert” John Guandolo, Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media (AIM) and Congressmember Allen West (R-FL). It was hosted by Brigitte Gabriel, who told the New York Times earlier this year that “America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America.”
And indeed, that was the theme of the conference. Speakers conflated Muslim organizations as diverse as the Muslim Student Association (MSA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and al Qaeda “They’re all friends of the Muslim Brotherhood and should be banned… outlawed… it’s a no-brainer,” said Stakelbeck.
According to Guandolo, the Muslim Brotherhood devised a strategy decades ago to establish Islamic states in the U.S. and around the world. They infiltrated American institutions such as schools, media, even religious organizations—by making them open to “interfaith efforts.” And he claimed they planned the “Arab Spring” as a first step in the more westernized Middle Eastern nations by showing a screenshot of a website from February 2010 with a banner headline proclaiming “Freedom!” And now, “Lots of guys who are al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood in the capitol” and in everyother important American institution.
They see the “expansion of mosques” in the U.S. as a key part of the infiltration strategy. Building “mega Islamic Centers,” with foreign money (they say we don’t know where the money comes from before asserting that it comes from Saudi Arabia) in “residential neighborhoods where there are no Muslims… If you build it they will come.”
But building a worship center isn’t a protected religious right, according to Guandolo, “this isn’t about the First Amendment it’s about Article 6 of the Constitution.” Ironically, while Article 6 lays out the sovereignty of the laws of the United States. it is also prohibits a religious test for public office.
A questioner asked Stakelbeck: “Why is the administration sucking up to (Muslims?) Is it stupid? Sinister? The reply was that “The Left sees Islam as an ally and Western Civilization and the Judeo-Christian tradition is the enemy. They (Islam and the Left) have a shared hatred for this country.” And of course, that sounds crazy to those of us whom they lump together as “the Left,” but remember, in their minds the Tea Party and David Barton are the “real America.”
So there’s a religious group in America that believes that ultimately the whole world will submit to the authority of its God and its religious law, and is working to bring about that reality… so what else is new? Thing is, I don’t confuse those Christian Reconstructionists with my Christian colleagues here at RD. (…say Pastor Dan and Candace?) And even Christian conservatives across the country are quick to distance themselves from Rushdoony and the rest. I can’t for the life of me understand why the same divisions in Islam aren’t obvious to anyone who looks. Moreover, finding the Muslims who support freedom and democracy seems like the best way to address the threat of Islamic terrorism.