RightWingWatch: Romney Met Thursday with Top Anti-Muslim Activist and Leading Backers of Bachmann Witch Hunt

Can you imagine a President Mitt Romney? He’d probably make Robert Spencer Secretary of State and Pamela Geller the head of Homeland Security:

Romney Met Thursday with Top Anti-Muslim Activist and Leading Backers of Bachmann Witch Hunt

(RightWingWatch)

On Friday, Mitt Romney declined to condemn Rep. Michele Bachmann’s witch hunt against Muslim Americans in the federal government, breaking with GOP leaders like Senator John McCain and Speaker John Boehner. He said that “those are not things that are part of my campaign.” If that’s the case, then why did Romney hold a closed-door meeting the evening before with high-profile supporters of Bachmann’s effort, including Jerry Boykin, a leading figure in the anti-Muslim movement?

As Politico reported, Romney met privately on Thursday evening in Denver with a select group of right-wing activists. Of the four participants named by Politico, three are outspoken proponents of Bachmann’s witch hunt. Gary Bauer and James Dobson wrote to John Boehner to praise Bachmann’s “good judgment, undeniable courage, and great patriotism” for “bravely demanding answers to matters essential to the safety of the American people and our Armed Forces.” Meanwhile, Boykin signed on to a separate letter expressing “strong support for congressional efforts to illuminate and address the danger posed by influence operations mounted by the Muslim Brotherhood against government agencies.” He also claimed that “Huma [Abedin] is not the only person who has penetrated our government” and wondered aloud if President Obama is a Muslim Brotherhood member.

Boykin, however, is more than just a cheerleader for Bachmann – he’s a leading force behind the effort to drive Muslim Americans out of public life. Boykin recently became the Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, but he’s best known as the lieutenant general who was rebuked by President Bush in 2003 and Defense Department investigators in 2004 for aggressively attacking Islam – in uniform – in the midst of two wars and an expansive anti-terrorism effort in the Middle East and South Asia.

Now retired, Boykin is on a mission to save the country from Sharia law and Islamic infiltration, which he sees lurking in every shadow and around every corner. His rhetoric is often bigoted, and he regularly traffics in wild-eyed conspiracy theories – like the one about Obama creating a Hitler-style militia to force Marxism on the American people or the one about international bankers plotting to form a Marxist, global government. (Don’t just take my word for it, see below for links to some of Boykin’s bizarre and disturbing pronouncements.)

Boykin, who last made headlines in January when he withdrew from speaking at West Point under pressure from cadets, faculty and outside groups, has argued that Muslims are not protected by the First Amendment and that there should be no mosques in America. In 2010, he joined forces with Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, and other anti-Muslim activists to form the so-called Team B II. The real Team B was an analysis commissioned by the CIA in the 70s of the threats posed to the US by the Soviet Union. Team B II, co-led by Boykin, presented itself as performing a similar analysis of “an even more insidious ideological threat: the totalitarian socio-political doctrine that Islam calls shariah.”

The group issued a report in September 2010, “Shariah: The Threat to America,” which won praise from Bachmann and Rep. Trent Franks, who appeared with Gaffney at a press conference announcing the report. Among the key findings of the report was that the Muslim Brotherhood “has succeeded in penetrating our educational, legal and political systems, as well as top levels of government, intelligence, the media, and U.S. military, virtually paralyzing our ability to respond effectively.”

Nearly two years later, Bachmann, Franks and three colleagues fired off letters to federal inspectors general alleging infiltration by the Muslim Brotherhood and requesting an investigation. The second paragraph of their letter, which fingered Huma Abedin, cited a series of web videos by the Center for Security Policy. The videos, available at MuslimBrotherhoodinAmerica.com, are narrated by Gaffney and lean heavily on Boykin’s Team B II report.

Remarkably, the efforts described above have spilled into Egyptian politics, with unfortunate consequences. As the New York Times reported in mid-July, many opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, citing statements by Bachmann, Boykin, and Gaffney falsely believe that “the Obama administration harbors a secret, pro-Islamist agenda” and may have even “plotted to install the Islamist party’s presidential candidate in office.” As a result, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s motorcade “was pelted with shoes and tomatoes by Egyptian protesters” motivated by conspiracy theories that “originated with American conservatives.” With Egypt on the brink, nonsense like this only serves to undermine American diplomacy, just as his comments years earlier in uniform undermined American efforts to win hearts and minds abroad and likely put soldiers at increased risk.

Does Romney really think Boykin is an appropriate person to meet with? Did the meeting participants discuss Bachmann’s efforts with him? This is serious stuff that Romney should have to address. It was easy enough for him to sidestep the Bachmann question earlier, but given his meeting the evening before, he needs to be asked anew about Bachmann and Boykin.

As promised, here are some highlights of Boykin’s conspiracy-mongering and Muslim-bashing:

“We have incrementally moved towards Marxism and now I think it’s at an accelerated pace. …
One of the things that Hitler did was he established the Brownshirts. … Well, in the lead-up to the election, during the campaigns, our current president said very openly, and you can find it on YouTube, if I am elected President, I will have a national civilian security force that is as large as and as powerful as the US military.
For what? Why do you need a national civilian security force?
Now most people say, well we haven’t seen any signs of the administration doing that. Until you go back and read what nobody in Washington read, and that’s the health care legislation that lays out a provision for the commissioning of officers to work directly for the President in time of a national emergency.
Now what would bring about a national emergency? An economic collapse, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster – we talked about all those things here – which would then allow for martial law. The foundation has been laid.”
“We need to recognize that Islam itself is not just a religion – it is a totalitarian way of life. It’s a legal system, sharia law; it’s a financial system; it’s a moral code; it’s a political system; it’s a military system. It should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with sharia law.”
“No mosques in America. Islam is a totalitarian way of life; it’s not just a religion. … But Islam, we need to think Sharia, it is not just a religion it is a totalitarian way of life. A mosque is an embassy for Islam and they recognize only a global caliphate, not the sanctity or sovereignty of the United States.”

“If you look at Hitler, one of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme Right. The absolute opposite was true. It was the National Socialist Party. He was an extraordinarily off the scale leftist.

But many Jews in America, for example, can’t identify with the Republican Party because they’re called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.”

Gary Bauer Has Amnesia about How Muslims are Treated

We’ve known for a while that Islam is being used by the far right as a stick with which to bash their liberal enemies. Long-time career politician Gary Bauer makes that clear in his newest screed at Human Events, reproduced on the hate site JihadWatch.

Gary Bauer is an associate of firebrand evangelical John Hagee where they both serve together on the board of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Much has been said about the looniness of CUFI and its wayward spiritual advisor, John Hagee, such as their eagerness to provoke the end times and their support of hardline Israeli policy. The special report from Jews on First about the CUFI conference records numerous strange and arguably dangerous beliefs including from Bauer himself. Needless to say, Bauer’s bias is evident in his latest editorial. He writes:

Few Americans would deny that Judeo-Christian beliefs and values informed the Founding of this country and that they continue to shape much of American life today. Nor would many of us deny that Americans who embrace Islamic values are a distinct minority here.

Implicit in this second sentence is the canard that “Americans who embrace Islamic values” are embracing values opposed to the Founding of this country. This is, of course, the message  people like Bauer, his friend Robert Spencer, and the anti-Muslim blogosphere are shouting everyday, explicitly or by innuendo. It flatly denies the historical reality that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are so entwined in their common roots and the process of mutual cultural exchange that serious historians believe we should really speak of an Islamo-Christian civilization.

Nevertheless, Bauer continues:

I raise these two facts because of an emerging reality: that, in a variety of contexts, American Muslims are treated better than American Christians. That might seem like a bizarre assertion, so think about it in another way: What if the Christians were treated like Muslims in America, and Muslims like Christians?

This is the crux of Bauer’s argument: “in a variety of contexts, American Muslims are treated better than American Christians.” He bases this on a litany of liberal crimes; but of course, within the context he selectively constructs (and without the context he chooses to ignore). He says:

If Muslims were treated like Christians, Muslims would be mocked by late night TV talk show hosts and lampooned in crude cartoon parodies. If Christians were treated like Muslims, conspicuous Christianity would be celebrated by our elites as a sign of our diversity and open-mindedness, not disparaged as an embarrassment, a nuisance and a breach of the law.

Of course, it is wrong to mock and deride entire religious or ethnic groups, but to suggest that Muslims have not likewise been disparaged by TV stars, radio hosts, pundits, and politicians is willful ignorance (has Gary Bauer been paying attention to 2010?). What about Bill O Reilly, Bill Maher, South Park, Draw Muhammad Day, Brian Kilmeade, Pat Robertson, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, or numerous others? What about obstruction of mosques? As for crude cartoon parodies, did he read JihadWatch today? He continues:

If Christianity were treated like Islam, our students would be taught a white-washed version of Christian history, with the troubling bits miscast or omitted from textbooks and lesson plans.

By this I assume he is faulting the Texas State Board of Education, and similar institutions, of not including Islamophobic myths into their official curriculum. Bauer and company would like our textbooks to tell us how uniquely violent Islam and Muslims are.

His editorial continues by citing more cherry-picked and anecdotal “evidence” to conclude that the liberal “cultural elites” have sold Christianity up the river all the while Muslims get off the hook. We are left feeling that we should be incensed at those cultural elites who treat Islam better than Christianity. The reader has no more room for sympathy in his heart for those freeloading Muslims who have had it too good for too long. Not a shred of empathy for the challenges faced by his fellow American Muslim citizens. However, Bauer does end his piece with a noteworthy observation:

I’m not in favor of burning the Koran, and I don’t think insulting or defaming symbols of any religion constitutes art. At a time of the year when intolerance for public displays of Christianity is most acute, it is my Christmas wish that Muslims and Christians would be treated equally.

Good to know you are against burning the Quran, Mr. Bauer. That’s a step in the right direction. It is wrong to insult the holy symbols of different religions (a message we have repeated many times here at Loonwatch). As for intolerance of public displays of Christianity, it seems quite a stretch (considering the giant Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Centre, for example), but I do agree that Muslims and Christians should be treated equally. However, that will never happen until the far right (including you and your associates, Mr. Bauer) give up using Islam as a divisive wedge-issue just to score cheap political points. You cannot honestly complain about American Christians being treated worse than American Muslims while you do not give Muslims the same respect you are demanding for your self. Your arguments reek of tribalism and nativist populism.

Mr. Bauer, some day Muslims and Christians in America will be treated equal, but it will be no thanks to you or CUFI.