This is What You Can Expect From a Mitt Romney Presidency: Islamophobia

It’s going to be Islamophobia on crack if Mitt Romney wins (thanks for all who sent in tips):

Mitt Romney with anti-Muslim radical Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller, for all those who’ve forgotten is the looniest blogger ever. Everything out of her mouth competes with everything she has said in the past to be more over-the-top, racist, hateful, and Islamophobic.

Just take look at a sampling of her positions over the past three years:

Pamela Geller calls for the destruction of the Golden Dome;  Obama is a Mooslim, Jihadist, Pimp, anti-Semite who is aiding the Iranian Nuclear program;  Sharia Coke is taking over the world, it is defamation of Judaism and Christianity for Islam to include Moses and Jesus as Prophets of Islam;  Pamela Geller is a Holocaust Revisionist who claims that Hitler and the Nazis adopted Jihad;  Not only is Obama a secret Muslim, but according to Pamela Geller,  “Obama is bringing his jihad to Illinois…Obama’s treachery is breathtaking;  Pamela Geller calls for the nuking of Mecca, Medina, and Tehran;  Pamela Geller promotes a genocidal videoPamela Geller shows sympathy towards white supremacist;  Screenshot of Pamela Geller’s post on June 25th wherein she posted a video claiming that Muslims engage in bestiality;  Pamela Geller left speechless when called out for drawing a picture of the Prophet Muhammad with a pig’s face.

More serious than Geller posing in a pic with Mitt Romney is the insidious nature of Romney’s ties with the Islamophobia movement. Romney’s senior foreign policy adviser is none other than former Bush era UN Ambassador John Bolton.

One can only hope that in tonight’s debate the moderator questions Romney about his ties to radicals and inclusion of Islamophobes like John bolton on his staff. Gus from Little Green Footballs has compiled an incisive compilation of the ties between Bolton and Geller.:

Exhibit C: Mitt Romney Campaign Senior Foreign Policy Adviser John Bolton and Pamela Geller

Romney foreign policy adviser with hate group leader Pamela Geller in numerous meetings.

About John Bolton:

John Robert Bolton (born November 20, 1948) is an American lawyer and diplomat who has served in several Republican administrations. Appointed on a recess appointment, he served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006. He resigned in December 2006, when the recess appointment would have otherwise ended, because he was unlikely to win senate confirmation.

John Bolton and Mitt Romney

Bolton is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), frequent op-ed contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the National Review, Fox News Channel commentator, foreign policy adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and of counsel to the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, in their Washington D.C. office…

The reader should be reminded of the connection between Anders Breivik and Pamela Geller. There is also a connection between Anders Brevik and Robert Spencer.Tommy Robinson’s hooliganism and right-wing extremism is notorious and too extensive to cover here. You can however find many articles covering his organization, the English Defence League, which has been covered extensively at LGF including his connection to Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

There is no vast conspiracy at play here. However, it should be disturbing enough that the senior foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney, John Bolton, has the ear of anti-Islam extremist, Pamela Geller. Her connection with the EDL makes this plainly obvious. This my friends is the post-modern conservative movement, where we find odious characters in the Republican big tent whose lives are intertwined; in this case from Mitt Romney to Pamela Geller; Tommy Robinson (EDL), Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller; and most importantly, the close relationship of John Bolton and Pamela Geller.

Update I: Michael Elwood reminds us that another Islamophobe, Walid Phares is also a part of the Romney’s inner circle,

John Bolton isn’t the only Islamophobe in Romney’s inner circle. His main Middle East advisor is Walid Phares:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/10/walid-phares-mitt-romney-lebanese-forces

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/10/2011102673018375864.html

Politicians are Politely Avoiding Tea Party Convention

Politicians are politely avoiding Tea Party Convention

by Scott Powers (Orlando Sentinel)

The Tea Party opens a long-planned convention tonight in Daytona Beach, expecting 1,200 delegates, dozens of speakers — but almost no big-name politicians.

None of the leading Republican presidential candidates and only two of the five U.S. Senate candidates agreed to speak at the three-day Florida Tea Party Convention at the Volusia County Ocean Center.

And top Republican officeholders who have previously courted Tea Party support — Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Allen West of Plantation — also sent their regrets.

Organizers said they still expect two presidential candidates: U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. But neither campaign would confirm they’re coming, and their campaign schedules don’t list the convention.

Sid VanLandingham, the convention’s communications director, blamed the busy campaign season, saying a regional event has a tough time competing for attention.

“The [politicians’] schedulers, they’re making last-minute decisions, hopping from place to place, and it’s changing constantly,” he said.

In fact, all of the politicians who responded to Sentinel inquiries cited scheduling conflicts, though the convention dates were set months ago. And their absence leaves many observers puzzled, considering how popular tea-party events have been among most Republican candidates.

Liberals say the depiction of tea partyers as “extremists” — especially on issues such as immigration — is prompting candidates to keep their distance.

“A lot of politicians are worried about being painted by that association, especially as we get into the real meat of the election cycle,” said Mark Ferrulo, executive director of the liberal, Tallahassee-based Progress Florida.

The convention has attracted more than 30 political and social conservatives — many from out of state — as speakers. Among them: John Michael Chambers, founder of the Save America Foundation; Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition; and Mathew Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel.

VanLandingham, whose home group is the South Lake 912 Tea Party of Clermont, said the big-name politicians might have been a draw, but they are not the point.

“It’s a grass-roots gathering of people from around the state to share what works, what doesn’t work, and to share projects,” he said, citing workshops on how to organize for the 2012 elections.

The only statewide candidates expected to come are Mike McCalister of Plant City and Craig Miller of Winter Park, both underdog candidates for U.S. Senate.

Those who expressly said they are not coming include GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman, and GOP Senate candidates Adam Hasner, George LeMieux and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack.

A whirlwind of controversy in the past two weeks could have played a role, after the convention invited anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller to speak and an American Muslim civil-rights group, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, protested.

“They [CAIR] put pressure, I think, on some of the state officials, and I think some of the state officials, in their judgments, they declined to go,” VanLandingham said. “Their [the officials’] reasons were ‘prior commitments.’ ”

Geller writes an anti-Islam blog called Atlas Shrugs and leads an organization called “Stop Islamization of America.” Last year, she received wide attention — and stoked bitter anger from American Muslim groups — with her harshly worded opposition to a proposed Muslim community center a few blocks from ground zero in New York City.

Last month, CAIR sent letters to Florida politicians urging them not to attend the convention if Geller was on the schedule. And when Rubio and Scott indicated they would not come, CAIR issued a news release thanking them.

Geller said CAIR tries to get her appearances canceled or boycotted wherever she goes. But she said she is certain her appearance in Daytona had nothing to do with all the declined invitations.

“The politicians decided not to participate before this controversy began,” she said in an email.

But CAIR is not so sure.

“In other states, elected officials have pulled out and do not want to be on the same stage as her,” said CAIR media-relations director Ahmed Rehab.

Broward GOP Treats Muslims Worse Than Other Republicans

Allen West with Pamela “the loon” Geller

NPR exposes Allen West’s antagonistic attitude toward Islam and Muslims.

CAIR: Broward GOP Treats Muslims Worse Than Other Republicans

by Lisa Rab (Broward New Times)

U.S. Rep. Allen West has already tried to end federal funding for National Public Radio. But if he needed another reason to hate NPR, yesterday’s “All Things Considered” segment should do the the trick.
The story explored West’s view of Islam as a “totalitarian, theocratic, political ideology,” and his ongoing rhetorical battle with Nezar Hamze, the executive director of the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. No news there — the West/Hamze controversy has already been well-documented on the Pulp. But NPR took the story one step further, suggesting that Broward Republicans were more anti-Muslim than their GOP comrades in other states.

Last month, Hamze attempted to join the Broward Republican Executive Committee, and was soundly rejected by a “pit of discrimination.”

Yet committee chairman Richard DeNapoli told NPR:  ”I really don’t think this had anything to do with religion. It’s just that this was a widely known circumstance where he had made statements against Allen West, and the members reacted to that.”

Strike one. Broward Republicans will defend West to the end, even if it makes them look like bigots on national radio. But wait, there’s more!

“CAIR officials say they have good relations with other Republicans, but that in South Florida at least, the Republican Party and their Tea Party supporters have made Muslims feel unwelcome,”  NPR reporter Greg Allen said.

Ouch. This means South Florida — a predominantly Democratic area– is allegedly more prejudiced against Muslims than other Republican strongholds.

Congratulations, Broward. You are the new Strom Thurmond.

LW Exclusive: Shocking Video of Geert Wilders Hate Speech on US Soil

Geert Wilders in Nashville at the Cornerstone Church

LW Exclusive: Shocking Video of Geert Wilders on US Soil

The Southern United States and the Midwest have been ravaged by violent forces of nature in the past few weeks; massive flooding has threatened to erase whole communities from Tennessee to Alabama, and over the past few days behemoth-like tornadoes, whipping in fury and frenzy swallowed and spit out whole towns.

The cataclysmic events of the Rapture predicted by Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping may not have come to pass but these tragedies have altered lives forever, and our thoughts and prayers should be with those affected. I encourage everyone to contribute in whatever way they can to relief and support efforts in those regions.

“Heartland USA” as this region is otherwise known is too often ignored, some forget that beyond the confines of our large urban cities there is a whole other America that is rural, conservative and vibrant.

It is here that another force has taken hold and is setting up the perfect storm of intolerance, bigotry, racism, xenophobia and hatred.

This force is a product of the wedding of Islamophobia across the Atlantic, between right-leaning populist politicians and Christian and Israeli/Jewish Zionists that has led to a feverous increase in anti-Democracy and anti-Muslim activity.

This is the real monster that should worry us, not some eight-headed dragon beast that might emerge from the sea and usher in the Second Coming of Christ.

Extremism on our Shores

On May 12, 2011 in Madison, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, Geert Wilders readily accepted an invitation from the Tennessee Freedom Coalition to speak at Cornerstone Church, a mega church with regular attendance exceeding 3,900 weekly. LW received exclusive video from Rob, a fan of LoonWatch who attended the event and taped the speeches of Wilders, Lou Ann Zelenik and Andy Miller. He was so upset by what he saw that he immediately sent us the footage he captured.

Wilders speech was a diatribe against Islam and Muslims in which all the familiar talking points were rehashed but with a little extra venom, undoubtedly playing to the sentiments of the crowd.

LW Exclusive: Shocking Video of Geert Wilders Hate Speech on US Soil Part 1:

Geert Wilders: “Its Islam Stupid (raucous applause). We must stop the Islamization of our countries, more Islam means less freedom”…”And now, now Europe is looking slowly but gradually like Arabia”…”It was the land of our fathers, it is our land now, it is our values, our values are based on Christianity, Judaism and Humanism and not Islam, it is that simple (applause)”…”and I have a message for all those people who want to rob us from our freedoms, and my message is stay in your own country (loud applause)”…”we are not going to allow Islam to steal our country from us (applause)”…”if Jerusalem falls, Athens, Rome, Amsterdam and Nashville will fall therefore my point is we all are Israel (applause)”…”the only place where Christians are safe in the Middle East is that beautiful country called Israel (loud applause)”…”Make no mistake, please make no mistake, Islam is also coming to America, in fact Islam already is in America. America is facing a stealth jihad, the Islamic attempt to introduce Sharia’ law bit by bit”…”what we need my friends, what we need to turn the tide is a spirit of resistance, what we need I repeat it again is a spirit of resistance”…”we must repeat it over and over again, especially to our children, our Western values and culture based on Christianity and Judaism is better and superior to the Islamic culture (applause), and leaders who talk about immigration without mentioning Islam are blind (applause)”…”we must stop the immigration from non-Western countries and we must forbid the construction of new hate palaces called mosques (applause)”…”the press calls it an Arab spring, I call it unfortunately an Arab winter (applause), Islam and freedom, Islam and democracy are incompatible (applause)”…”the so called Prophet Muhammad was a terrorist worse than Bin Laden ever was (applause)”…”neutrality my friends, neutrality in the face of evil is evil itself (applause).”

Why is a mega-church, an institution that professes to follow the teachings of Christ hosting such a hate-mongerer in the heartland of the USA? What is the Tennessee Freedom Coalition and why is it paying an extremist foreign politician who undermines “freedom” to speak at a Church? What are the ramifications for the rest of the West, the USA in particular when such an extremist is given a platform to incite hate?

Cornerstone Church

This mega-church is a bit like a franchise corporation. It has two locations: one in Bowling Green, Kentucky and the other in Madison, Tennessee. It is led by Senior Pastor Maury Davis,

Pastor Maury Davis was arrested at age eighteen for the crime of first-degree murder. Following his trial and conviction, he served eight and one-half years in the Texas Department of Corrections. During his incarceration, Pastor Davis found his Savior in Jesus Christ and led a revival among his fellow prisoners.

Can anyone imagine what would happen if say Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf had a rap sheet similar to Pastor Davis? Pamela Geller would be doing back flips through Manhattan.

Aside from boasting about its large attendance, the Church also has a Starbucks-esque Coffee shop and other amenities for the Faith-full shopper. It successfully marries capitalism and religion and also adds an ultra-extra helping of Nationalism.

When nearing the Church, the first thing one notices is the strikingly gargantuan American flag in front of the Church:

Inside the Church the backdrop is red, white and blue and the colors surround a white modern looking Cross that reminds one more of the lapel pin worn by Captain Kirk on Star Trek than a cross. I guess they really want you to know they are patriots.

The Church’s philosophy is based on a literal belief in the Bible. They are certainly evangelical and reaffirm the theology of the “millennial reign of Christ,” i.e. the Rapture or the-floating-into-the-sky version of the End Times.

They believe that the Bible, “both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21).”

Danios wrote in his “Understanding Jihad” series about how most American Christians believe the above, and it adds further credence to his recent article, “The ‘But that’s just the Old Testament’ Cop-out.”

Tennessee Freedom Coalition

The Tennessee Freedom Coalition, led by Lou Ann Zelenik and Andy Miller is a right-wing organization that can be considered a part of the Tea Party Movement, the base of the GOP. The addition of the TFC to the long list of GOP organizations can be considered one more dark stain in the history of the Tennessee GOP. It was not long ago that their members were making racist remarks about the president:

On top of the racism, homophobia isn’t far behind, the Republican governor of Tennessee has until June 1st to consider an “anti-Gay bill that would prohibit the passage of anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT individuals.”

Tennessee also happens to be the state where we have seen a rise in hate against Muslims (in fact it is quickly becoming the center of anti-Muslim hate). Courts have been considering whether Islam is a religion, lawmakers are likely to pass a “Ban Sharia’ law” bill inspired by a documented racist and extremist Zionist named David Yerushalmi. It is scene to the Murfreesboro mosque struggle which made headlines this past summer. A year ago Pamela Geller was a headline speaker for the Tennessee Tea Party convention, talk about insane.

For its part the Tennessee Freedom Coalition was passing out this pamphlet at the Church:

How do you promote tolerance by “fighting” a religion? What they really mean to say in light of Wilders speech is, “Promote Religious Tolerance by Working to Stop the Growth of Islam,” which is like saying “promote tolerance by being intolerant.” Obviously this puts Muslims, you know, those who practice Islam in quite the bind.

LW Exclusive: Shocking Video of Geert Wilders Hate Speech on US Soil Part 2:

Conclusion

This is not the first time Geert Wilders has spoken at the pulpit, previously he spoke at Synagogues and at Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s SIOA 9/11 hate rally. However his presence amongst 3,000 admiring followers on US soil is not only reprehensible, it is a development that bodes ill for all of us.

It will only increase the radicalization of the anti-Muslim movement which seeks at its fundamental level to curtail freedom of religion and expression, first the rights of Muslims (soft target) and then anyone else they disagree with.

A word must also be said about Wilders obsessive citation of Israel. It is a country which he boasts about visiting over “forty times” and which he cites as a paragon of virtue, freedom, liberty, justice and light. He cites the security of Israel as one of the reasons that the West must fight Islam.

Lets forget the war crimes, human rights violations and apartheid policies in Israel for a second and really look at the hate that is emerging in its name. Individuals and organizations with deep connections to Israel, both network-wise and theologically are calling for the destruction of Islam which they regard as evil incarnate.

Aubrey Chernick (one of the leading funders of Islamophobia), Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders, David Horowitz, Brigitte Gabriel, Allen West, the BNP, EDL, SIOE, SIOA, BPE, JDL, large numbers of Christian and Jewish Zionists and others believe that as long as you are fervently pro-Israel you can be as anti-Islam/Muslim as you want without suffering any consequences. Such a position at the end of the day only harms Jewish moral interests, and this much has been expressed by brave voices such as Not in Our Name, Jews without Borders, Muzzlewatch, Richard Silverstein, Max Blumenthal, our very own loonwatcher Gefilte, Glenn Greenwald and others.

The spectacle of a racist, anti-Muslim Dutch politician arriving on our shores to warn us about Islam is quite ironic, but what is most disturbing is the reception he received from a large audience of Americans. It may seem far-fetched now but one day Geert Wilders or someone like him (Allen West?) may move on from addressing thousands of Church goers to addressing Congress–the question is will he receive as many applauses as Benjamin Netanyahu?

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

Loonwatch was live blogging the controversial (anti)-Muslim Hearings being chaired by bigoted ex-IRA terrorist supporter Peter King. It was a circus. It devolved along partisan lines with Republicans predictably falling behind the rhetoric and narrative of Peter King. Democratic Congressmen/women issued strong rebukes: Rep. Sheila J. Lee, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Sanchez, and others delivered the message home that these Hearings were nothing more than political theater meant to castigate and intimidate a minority group and most importantly they were bereft of facts and therefore unbeneficial.

The leading witnesses for King were non-experts, Zuhdi Jasser, AbdiRizak Bihi and Melvin Bledsoe, all of these individuals were bereft of any credentials or expertise in the field of radicalization, terrorism or extremism. Zuhdi Jasser is considered an apologist for Neo-Cons and is viewed with suspicion amongst American Muslims for his close association with Islamophobes and war-mongerers. AbdiRizak was incomprehensible at times and much of what he and Bledsoe said were anecdotal and not factual evidence.

King began the hearings with what can only be classified as a bigoted comment, he said, “Moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community.” He said this to set up a straw man argument for what would become a recurring attack on CAIR, almost making it into a hearing about CAIR.

After getting its name wrong, calling it the “Committee of American Islamic Relations,” he and other Congressmen labeled CAIR a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood group. This is the usual trope brought forth by Right-wingers and anti-Muslims such as Robert Spencer and co., the best response came from Sheriff Lee Baca (one of the anti-Loons of 2010) when he said, ‘If CAIR is this terrorist group or has terrorist links then why hasn’t the FBI prosecuted them? Why haven’t they charged them? They wouldn’t be around if they were terrorist or terrorist sympathizers.’

Some highlights included:

Keith Ellison made three important points: 1.) Security is important to all American Muslims, 2.) Hearings threaten our security and 3.) We need increased engagement with Muslims.

Ellison also got quite emotional while mentioning the story of a Muslim first responder who died saving people but was the victim of a smear campaign by Islamophobes who attempted to link him to the 9/11 attacks.

Andre Carson brought up an excellent point about the fact that cooperation between law enforcement and communities such as the American Muslim community is endangered by the backdoor actions and methodologies of  organizations such as the FBI when they send agent provocateurs into Muslim mosques. Such actions cause distrust and engender fear that Muslims’ civil rights and liberties are being violated. One really only has to look at the example in California of the criminal Craig Montielh who was later arrested and confessed that he was sent by the FBI on a fishing expedition to entrap Muslims.

There were also other quite interesting WTF moments: Such as when Peter King mentioned Kim Kardashian and CAIR in the same sentence. Or when non-expert witness Melvin Bledsoe told Rep. Al Green “you don’t know what these hearings are about.” There was also the earlier moment when Peter King denied making the comment that “there are too many mosques in America.” A blatant falsity.

We will have more in depth coverage but it is safe to say that American Muslims are in for a rocky Islamophobic time with these hearings.

Shocking anti-Muslim Hate Video in Orange County, California

Shocking anti-Muslim Hate Video in Orange County, California

A shocking and vitriolic display of hate against Muslims attending a charity event for battered women in Yorba Linda, California. They are abused with calls of “Go home,” and “terrorist,” little children are subjected to it as well. A Villa Park Councilwoman named Deborah Pauly echoes the rhetoric ofPamela Geller and even calls for the murder of participants (who she labels “Terrorists”) at the charity event. In an ironic moment she justified her statements by saying, “I don’t even care, I don’t even care if you think I’m crazy anymore.” Ummm, yeah…someone get her a straight jacket because she might not care but we do.

There was also somebody sounding a Shofar (Ram’s horn) which while being used for prayer was also used in Biblical Times to call to War, and in this context it seems quite clear that it is being used as a call to war and intimidation. Why the hell would someone bring a shofar to protest a Muslim charity event?

Do we need any clearer evidence that Islamophobia exists?:

These hatemongers are ACT! for America (we’ve been exposing them as a hate group for quite some time) and the ideological children of Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and David Horowitz.

We Need a Campaign to Expose These Politicians and Question Their Participation in this Hate-Fest:

Ask Congressman Gary Miller why he participated in this event, ask him to distance himself from these goons and condemn them,

Washington, DC
Write or visit:
2349 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Phone: 202-225-3201
Fax: 202-226-6962

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:30pm Eastern, or anytime the House is in session (Current House Floor Proceedings).  Closed federal holidays.

Brea, CA
Write or visit:
1800 E. Lambert Road
Suite 150
Brea, CA 92821

Phone: 714-257-1142
Fax: 714-257-9242

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm Pacific.  Closed federal holidays.

Mission Viejo, CA
Write or visit:
200 Civic Center
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Phone: 949-470-8484

Hours: Second and fourth Tuesday of each month, 9:00am to 5:00pm Pacific.  Closed federal holidays.

Residents of California’s 42nd Congressional District can send me an email by first entering their zip code below. If you’re unsure of your congressional representative, visit www.house.gov/writerep.

Ed Royce was also at the event espousing strong nativist sentiments and sounding very Geert Wilders-ish by decrying “multi-culturalism.” Message to Ed, “This isn’t Europe buddy.”

Contact him:

DISTRICT OFFICE
1110 E. Chapman Ave, Suite 207
Orange, CA 92866
T (714) 744-4130 F (714) 744-4056

WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE
2185 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
T (202) 225-4111

Deborah “Don’t care if I’am crazy” Pauly can be contacted at dpauly@villapark.org.

Newsweek: “Stealth Jihad” is Paranoid Speak

Robert Spencer popularized the term “Stealth Jihad,” and some in the Conservative wing such as Newt Gingrich have ran with it and are using it all the time. As has been exposed on Loonwatch and other sites, “Stealth Jihad” is paranoid speak and just another anti-Muslim conspiracy theory.

Lisa Miller takes on this term in her recent article which no doubt will have Spencer, whose site is described as “a hyperventilating anti-terror blog,” in fits.

The Misinformants

By Lisa Miller

Here is the latest semantic assault from the party that brought you “Islamo-facism” (circa 2005) and “Axis of Evil” (2002). The term “stealth jihad” is suddenly voguish among politically ambitious right wingers who see President Obama’s approach to terrorism as insufficient. If it sounds like a phrase from a military-fantasy summer blockbuster, that’s on purpose: in its cartoonish bad-guy foreignness, “stealth jihad” attempts to make the terrorist threat broader and thus more nefarious than it already is. The only thing scarier than an invisible, homicidal, suicidal enemy with a taste for world domination is one who’s sneaking up on you. In the words of former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at a July speech at the American Enterprise Institute, “stealth jihad” is an effort “to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Sharia.”

The term wasn’t Gingrich’s invention. It’s the title of a two-year-old book by Robert Spencer, whose hyperventilating antiterror blog, Jihad Watch, is cited and circulated widely on the far right. But the recent vicious debate over the proposed community center and mosque near Ground Zero gives Gingrich an excuse to use “stealth jihad” and its variants frequently—not just at the AEI but in an interview with this magazine. (In an essay on the conservative Web site Human Events, he referred instead to “creeping sharia.”) Gingrich’s like-minded peers have seized on the language, too. “Muslim Brotherhood operatives, like [Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the center’s founder and leader] are extremely skilled at obscuring … their true agenda,” said Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy, on FOX’s Glenn Beck show. “It’s part of the stealth jihad.”
‘A Little Intolerant, But Good Reason To Be’ Protesters for and against the building of a Muslim community center near Ground Zero talk about their reasons for supporting or opposing the project.

Words matter, and if you say them often enough and with enough authority, they start to sound true—even if they’re not. Abdul Rauf, for instance, has no affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and is an “operative” (another nefarious word) only in the sense that running a small, progressive interfaith nonprofit is an “operation.” As for his “stealth jihad,” it’s virtually impossible to imagine how such an event would—logistically—occur. Would the construction of an Islamic prayer site near Ground Zero inevitably lead American women to wake up one morning and find themselves veiled and confined to their homes? “The term is ever-so-slightly goofy,” says Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley. The paranoia conveyed by “stealth jihad” brings to mind the anticommunist campaigns of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, Nunberg adds. Just as McCarthyites imagined a communist behind every lamppost, the word “stealth” conflates all Muslims with terrorists. In a stealth campaign you never know who your friends are.

Also, simply put, foreign words freak people out. “Jihad” and “Sharia” reinforce the sense among Americans that Muslims in general have an unfathomable world view. During World War II, formerly obscure words like “hara-kiri” and “kamikaze,” which suggested the “warlike ferocity” of the Japanese, became common parlance, Nunberg says. “There was this sense of being confronted with this hostile, alien culture.” The Japanese were “literally demonized,” he says.

Gingrich has already used the mosque debate to evoke many of America’s historic enemies, comparing Muslims indirectly with Nazis and communists and even the Japanese. “We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor,” he said on FOX recently.

But that is not true. Fourteen percent of Hawaiians call themselves ethnically Japanese, according to the U.S. Census, and dozens of Japanese temples stand near Pearl Harbor—as they have for decades. One of them, the Buddhist Aiea Hongwanji Mission, is less than half a mile away. “You can see Pearl Harbor from the roof, maybe. We’re really close,” says Wade Yamamoto, the temple’s treasurer. The temple allows people “to practice their religion from back home,” he says. Gingrich, a historian, might take a lesson here. After the attacks of Dec. 7, 1941, more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent—two thirds of them American citizens—were interned in camps in a shameful episode that later legislation called the result of “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” Last week, a New York City cab driver was stabbed for answering the question “Are you a Muslim?” in the affirmative. Our enemies are dangerous. Let’s be clear about who they are.

With Johannah Cornblatt