CPAC Conservatives Shun “Crazy Bigot” Gaffney

Frank Gaffney, the Islamophobic activist bent on getting Congress to investigate “creeping shari’ah,” talked to the conspiracy web site World Net Daily, claiming “that CPAC has come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is working to bring America under Saudi-style Shariah law.” 

Gaffney’s exhibit A is Suhail Khan, a member of the American Conservative Union board, which annually sponsors the Conservative Political Action Conference. WND’s piece is based on Gaffney’s charges “that Islamism has infiltrated the American Conservative Union, the host of CPAC, in the person of Washington attorney and political activist Suhail Khan and a group called Muslims for America.”

I caught up with Khan this afternoon, who last spoke with RD about the American Center for Law and Justice’s calls for the Justice Department to investigate the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association, based on similar paranoias about the infiltration of “radical Islam” in the highest levels of government.

Khan said he’s known Gaffney for 15 years, and worked with him on defense issues when he was a staffer on the Hill. But, Khan added, while Gaffney “does get called and asked to be part of coalitions because he can represent that defense component . . . I can tell you from my 15 years of being around him, his cachet has greatly diminished . . . .The level of rhetoric and completely outlandish levels of accusation has really driven a lot pf responsible people, members of Congress to say that we don’t want to be affiliated with you.”

Gaffney first launched his crusade against Khan when the latter ran for the ACU board in 2007, a position to which he was elected and re-elected by the ACU membership, and which was ratified by the board. Khan, who served in the Bush administration, has long endured accusations from conservatives* that, among other things, he was a secret al Qaeda mole, and now, from Gaffney and WND, a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gaffney, said Khan, “definitely believes there is good political capital to be made in scaring and fear mongering, there may be some who may be swayed by alarmist and racist assertions, and worse, he makes a good living doing this stuff. Who knew there was money to be made in being a professional bigot?”

Because Gaffney’s group was not invited to participate in CPAC, “that is why this is surfacing now,” said Khan. “Frank has been frozen out of CPAC by his own hand, because of his antics. We need people who are credible on national security . . . . but because of Frank’s just completely irresponsible assertions over the years, the organizers have decided to keep him out.” That, Khan added, is similar reaction to current and former members of Congress, including Bobby Jindal, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and the late Henry Hyde, who distanced themselves from Gaffney.

The conservative shunning of Gaffney, said Khan, is not “because of any pressure from Muslim activists but because they didn’t want to be associated with a crazy bigot.”

*Khan points out that it wasn’t conservatives, but Gaffney making these unfounded accusations. Those accusations got play, however, in magazines like Front Page, which published Gaffney’s “Khan Job” when Khan was first running for the ACU board, and which drew on an earlier report Gaffney said had a “a validating introduction by David Horowitz,” Front Page’s editor.