This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published January 11, 2015 on The Washington Times website.
What do far-left organizations have in common with Islamist lobbying groups? They keep and share enemies lists — of conservatives.
Normally, that might not be a big concern. Just being conservative is enough to prompt liberal academics and media to declare you a walking “hate crime.”
But in an era in which vilification of police officers can trigger cop killings, and Islamist jihadis are on a global rampage, it’s taken on more alarming significance.
The murder of 12 people at a Paris satirical newspaper by gunmen yelling “Allahu akbar” (Arabic for “Allah is great”) should be a wake-up call not only in Europe but in America, where homegrown terrorism repeatedly has reared its deadly head.
Between the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and 2010, there were at least 43 violent and jihadi plots and attacks in the United States, according to the Congressional Research Service. Since then, we’ve seen numerous other incidents, including the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013 and an Oklahoma woman’s beheading in her workplace last September.
After U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan shot to death 13 of his colleagues and wounded 32 others in a jihadi attack at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009, a cottage industry arose lamenting “Islamophobia” in America, much like after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
When Islamic pressure groups mimic homosexual activists by employing a term like “Islamophobe,” they are trying to intimidate critics and shut down honest discussion. It often works. Nobody likes being called a name that implies bigotry.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is credited with coining the term “Islamophobic” in an action alert issued in 1996. The group’s definition of an Islamophobe is “an individual who holds a closed-minded view of Islam and promotes prejudice against or hatred of Muslims.” In many places around the world, that can mean simply refusing to convert to Islam.
CAIR, the most prominent Muslim anti-defamation group, maintains an “American Islamophobe database.” It doesn’t take much to get listed. All you have to do is earn a mention from the Southern Poverty Law Center or several other left-wing groups.
CAIR’s latest report, “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and Its Impact in the United States,” equates public criticism of Islamic militancy with raw prejudice against Muslims. Even some moderate Muslims are trashed as anti-Muslim in the 158-page document.
Sources include the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Think Progress blog, People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, Political Research Associates, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Among other documents, the report relies on People for the American Way’s The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. This 16-page manual accuses conservative activists and lawmakers, including those who support laws prohibiting American courts from using Shariah law, of “undermining American values.”
The CAIR report also names Robert Spencer as “part of the Top 10 ‘Anti-Islam inner circle’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The center has listed Mr. Spencer’s blog Jihad Watch and his organization ‘Stop the Islamization of America’ as hate groups.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Alabama, is the queen bee of the left’s “hate” industry. The center earned a solid reputation among law enforcers for keeping tabs on extremist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, but eventually began listing as “hate groups” some Christian organizations that defend biblical marriage and morality. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s online “hate map,” featuring a Nazi-like, helmeted thug, lists several Christian groups with their addresses, including the Family Research Council.
In August 2012, homosexual activist Floyd Lee Corkins II, informed by the center’s “hate map,” tried to commit mass murder at Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. He was thwarted by the council’s heroic building manager, who took a bullet while disarming Corkins. Despite requests to edit or take down the map, the Southern Poverty Law Center continues to feature it, all the while lamenting hatred directed at anyone but Christians.
As for CAIR, its Islamophobia Monitor lists The Washington Times, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, the Florida Family Association, the American Center for Law and Justice, Phyllis Schlafly, Allen West, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Frank Gaffney, Brigitte Gabriel, Bill Maher and, yes, this columnist.
I made the “Popular Islamophobes” list apparently for writing a Washington Times column that took issue with California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier’s accusations of racism toward New York Republican Rep. Peter King for his chairing congressional hearings on homegrown Muslim extremism in March 2011.
Page after page of the CAIR paper points the finger at alleged Islamophobes, despite a caveat that says, “It is not appropriate to label all, or even the majority of those, who question Islam and Muslims as Islamophobes. Equally, it is not Islamophobic to denounce crimes committed by individual Muslims or those claiming Islam as a motivation for their actions.”
So, it’s still OK to criticize terrorists who act in the name of the religion of peace? Or a wacky congresswoman from California?
Well, not if you don’t want to wind up on an enemies list somewhere.