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Published on February 19th, 2010 | by Eli Clifton

8

CPAC’s Third Rail

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Much has been made of the divisive messages emerging from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which continues through Saturday, but an event–Jihad: The Political Third Rail—co-sponsored this morning at CPAC by the Freedom Defense Initiative brought a panel together who have a number of shady connections to a Nazi sympathizing political party in Belgium and histories of extremely Islamophobic rhetoric.

The event  hosted by bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer included a lineup of bloggers, activists and an aspiring politician with a history of mistreating detainees in Iraq.

Topics covered by the group included a predictable list of hysterical warnings about “creeping Shariah”, “lawfare”, and the impending “Islamization” of the US.  For anyone who regularly reads Pamela Geller or Robert Spencer’s blogs (I’ve mentioned them here, here and here) it was the usual set of Islamophobic rhetoric cloaked in selective quotations from the Koran.

Spencer and Geller were in top form today with Spencer setting off a hearty round of applause by pointing out that complaints that full body scanning technology at airports violate the modesty of Muslim women is a “perversity” because, “Muslims themselves made the scanners necessary!”

But what really made this panel remarkable was that four of the groups’ eight speakers had either attended or were otherwise connected to the CounterJihad Europa 2007 conference in Brussels.  This conference has received a great deal of attention because of its Nazi sympathizing hosts—Vlaams Belang—and the feud which erupted between Charles Johnson and fellow bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer when he called them out for associating with Nazi apologists.

(The New York Times wrote about Johnson and the feud last month.)

Of the participants on the panel today, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff—an Austrian anti-Muslim activist who is facing hate crime charges—had speaking roles at the conference and are listed on the CounterJihad Europa 2007 website.

Although not listed on the CounterJihad Europa 2007 website, Spinwatch provides quotes from Anders Gravers, another participant in today’s panel, delivered at the Brussels conference.

Gravers is the founder of Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) and goes much further than many “anti-Jihad” activists in asserting that moderate Muslims do not exist.

In a statement posted on the Family Security Matters website, Gravers clarified the SIOE’s beliefs on moderate Muslims.

“We do not believe in moderate Muslims. We believe there are Muslims and those who want to leave Islam. Some Muslims are more active than others, but all Muslims want sharia law and Islam to rule the world. Moderate Muslims are those who watch non-Muslims being killed, but still say Allah u Akbar when the killing is happening.

Therefore, we obviously oppose Islamists because Islamists are merely Muslims, and Muslims are Islamists.

We oppose immigration from Muslim countries.”

The crowd appeared to like Gravers stories from the front-lines of the “Islamisation of Europe” and gave him a big round of applause when he announced his group’s success in preventing the construction of five mosques in England.

CPAC is typically seen as representative of the right-wing of the Republican party but the extremism and Islamophobia (and general xenophobia) presented by this panel still seemed to go beyond what CPAC’s organizers would want to associate themselves with.

Allen West, who is running for Congress in Florida’s 22nd congressional district, was undeterred from the political hot potato presented by a group of bloggers and activists who had rubbed shoulders with Nazi sympathizers in Belgium and have made careers from making generalizations about Islam.

West, who spoke last, might be the future of the Republican party if this panel was any indication of who the Republicans now consider part of their big tent.

He garnered huge applause for his denunciation of political correctness and the unwillingness of leadership–Republican or Democrat–to acknowledge the existential battle which the US is fighting against Islam.

West referred to the current execution of the War on Terror and attempts to accommodate Muslims in society as “politically correct multiculturalism on steroids.”

“We are in a war against a political, theocratic, authoritarian ideology and it is called Islam!” said West.

According to CNN, West admitted that as a Lieutenant Colonel serving in Iraq he used improper interrogation methods to get information from a detainee.

From CNN:

“In testimony at an Article 32 hearing — the military’s version of a grand jury or preliminary hearing — West said the policeman, Yahya Jhrodi Hamoody, was not cooperating with interrogators, so he watched four of his soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion beat the detainee on the head and body.

West said he also threatened to kill Hamoody. Military prosecutors say West followed up on that threat by taking the suspect outside, put him on the ground near a weapons clearing barrel and fired his 9 mm pistol into the barrel.”

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About the Author

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Eli Clifton is a reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute who focuses on money in politics and US foreign policy. He previously reported for the American Independent New Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



8 Responses to CPAC’s Third Rail

  1. avatar Stephen Gash says:

    To call Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer “Nazi sympathizers” is patently absurd. Pamela Geller has not attended a counter jihad conference since Brussels 2007.

    Guilt by association is a Maoist/Stalinist/Islamist tactic.

    President Nixon made overtures to China while in office. Only a fool would call him a communist.

    Adrian Morgan’s article in Family Security Matters asked why the “left” was not questioning the hypocrisy of Saudi Arabia’s funding of mosques in the West while banning all other religions in Saudi Arabia. Why not quote that?

    We are told that only a tiny minority of Muslims have hijacked Islam. This despite over half the mosques in England reportedly being radicalised.

    However, according to “politically correct” thinking, it is OK to label people Nazi sympathisers due to their guilt by association, but completely wrong to call all Muslims jihadists because they have permitted their mosques to send out terrorists to blow up planes and trains.

    Organisations like SIOE and the Freedom Defence Initiative would not need to exist if we had a bit of honesty from our politicians and media.

    Do you not think it more than a bit strange that Geert Wilders and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff are both facing “hate crime” charges legislated for by politicians who are now saying that the West must negotiate with the nose-chopping, head-chopping women-whipping Taliban?

  2. avatar scott says:

    “Guilt by association is a Maoist/Stalinist/Islamist tactic.”

    And a tactic that you are using in this very assertion. It’s easy to see the flaws in others, so hard see them in ourselves.

    “West must negotiate with the nose-chopping, head-chopping women-whipping Taliban?”

    How can the Taliban negotiate with the dictator supporting, invader of lands that never threatened you, toppler of gov’ts, murderer of thousands, denier of sovereignty West?

    With your attitude we should never talk to each other. I suspect that you wish the Palestinians would just be silent while Israel steals their land, that Iraqis would be silent while we invade their country in hopes of looting their oil. If only the Iranians would cower to the paranoid fantasies of Israel and forgo developing their own institutions, trade and development. I suppose you wish the poor would shut up, stop begging and disappear with dignity. Hard truths are hard to hear, especially when you are a hypocrite and argue from such a selfish, self centered perspective you can’t even detect your self contradictory claims.

    Unless you were being ironic, in which case I tip my hat to you sir.

  3. avatar Jon Harrison says:

    Look, is there a “Muslim problem” in the U.S.? No, at least not in a generic sense. We ought, however, to be saying much more about the Saudi agenda and how it damages our interests, and certainly we should be as quick to condemn Muslim intolerance as we are to highlight Muslim-bashing. Who tried to kill the Danish cartoonist? Who killed Van Gogh? Who shot up Fort Hood?

  4. avatar George A says:

    Ok, I get it, this whole blog is devoted to hating people who support liberty and hating the Jews for opposing muslim terrorism.

    Clearly you are afraid of the Freedom Defense Initiative. You should be, it is an American values based movement. My guess you are not supportive such things.

  5. avatar scott says:

    yeah Jon, those niggers get really touchy when we suppress them with Jim Crow, water cannons, burning their houses of worship and keeping them down.

    While that isn’t happening here domestically, it is indeed occurring globally. Jon, what do you think is easier to argue, that the US defends Muslims or that the US has ignited a new crusade against Muslims? I don’t believe either is true, but the latter has enough evidence behind it to lead many to that conclusion.

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