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Mitt Romney Appoints anti-Muslim Militiaman Walid Phares

There is a troubling track record on the Right-Wing of nominating hatemongerers, bigots and now potential associates to war crimes to key positions in their cabinets. Is it willful ignorance, stupidity, or purposeful?

We reported last on Walid Phares when Rep. Peter King announced he was going to call Phares to testify at his “Muslim American radicalization hearings.” King eventually walked back that announcement due to pressure. For God sake, Walid Phares joined an organization whose slogan was, “Kill a Palestinian and you Shall Enter Paradise.”

Mitt’s Muslim Problem

(Daily Beast)

After a prominent Baptist minister proclaimed last week that Mormonism is a non-Christian “cult” that would ideally disqualify adherents from the White House, Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney enjoyed a full-throated defense from people all over the political spectrum who considered the pastor’s remarks an ugly example of religious bigotry. But Romney, a practicing Mormon, may soon find himself facing allegations of intolerance from another religious minority: American Muslims.

The Daily Beast has learned that the nation’s leading Muslim advocacy group sent a letter to the Romney campaign late Tuesday calling for the ouster of the candidate’s recently appointed foreign-policy adviser, Walid Phares. In the letter, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) refers to Phares as “an associate to war crimes” and a “conspiracy theorist,” citing ties to a violent anti-Muslim militia. Scholars and leaders throughout the Islamic community are adding pressure on Romney to drop the adviser immediately. (The Romney campaign and Phares did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

The controversy comes at an awkward time for the campaign. Hours before CAIR’s letter was sent, Romney called on primary rival Perry to “repudiate” the anti-Mormon remarks made by the Rev. Robert Jeffress, who has endorsed the Texas governor, and touted the importance of tolerant discourse. “I just don’t believe that kind of divisiveness based on religion has a place in this country,” Romney said at a New Hampshire press conference.

Yet Phares is a divisive figure in the minds of some leading U.S. Muslims. To admirers, Phares is a well-regarded scholar who has testified before the Defense and State departments, and has worked as a terrorism expert for professional news outlets such as NBC and, most recently, Fox News.

But to critics, Phares has long been a lightning rod for charges of Islamophobia and outright aggression toward Muslims. According to CAIR, Phares, who was born in Lebanon, worked as an official in the Lebanese Forces, a Christian militia that reportedly took part in “the 1982 massacre of civilian men, women, and children at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.” In 1984, another Lebanese militia with which Phares was allegedly associated rounded up a group of men for questioning and then slaughtered them with guns and grenades, according to a news report. (There is no indication that Phares was directly involved in the violence; his roles in the organizations are reported to have been administrative.)

When he emigrated to the United States in the 1990s, Phares positioned himself as an expert on Islam and Middle East relations, allying himself with conservative think tanks and appearing frequently on television. Throughout his career as a pundit, he has warned that some Muslims are plotting a secret takeover of American institutions with the end goal of imposing Sharia.

This history of inflammatory rhetoric has drawn scorn from many corners of the American Muslim community, and CAIR’s concerns were echoed by a chorus of Islamic scholars reached by The Daily Beast.

“[Phares] is hostile to Muslims and Romney has adopted an expert who is going to alienate him from a good section of the voting public,” said Ebrahim Moosa, a Duke professor of Islamic studies.

“Frankly, it is a pathetic reflection on Governor Romney to have surrounded himself with such a person for advice on the Middle East and Islam,” said Omid Safi, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. “It would be akin to turning to [former KKK member] David Duke to get advice on race relations.”

Correy Saylor, legislative director for CAIR, is willing to give Romney the benefit of the doubt and assume he was largely unaware of Phares’s past. Saylor credits Romney with showing an increased sensitivity to Islam over the years.

During his 2008 presidential candidacy, Romney reportedly told supporters in a private meeting that he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet. But he later walked back that comment, and in this election cycle he has occasionally found himself defending Islam against his opponents’ intolerance. Saylor cited an early primary debate during which Herman Cain hypothesized that appointing a Muslim to his cabinet could open the door to the implementation of Sharia in the U.S. Romney dismissed the paranoid theory, insisting that “people of all faiths are welcome in this country.”

“He’s getting better,” Saylor concluded. “But this appointment is a step in the wrong direction.”

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  • Ronald

    Dear friends, the “Lebanese Forces” was created to protect the Christians in Lebanon, during the time of war, the solution was war itself! When someone comes to kill you, you wont kneel in front in him right :) ?
    But now it is a strictly political party, the Lebanese forces gave more than 8 000 Christian martyrs, slaughtered by the druze and the palestenians and the syrians and the chits !!!
    You should be proud to have such a guy between you ! Learn about the war in lebanon before you start judging people

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32) Warning Contains Irony

    Sorry Bertil
    but the world domination stuff is soo 1970’s its all about product placement these days

  • corey

    @bertil
    you should take some pills for that paranoia you seem to suffer from so that you will think monsters are hiding under your bed instead of muslims.

  • Bertil

    Walid Phares is not scared to speak out on Islams goal for world domination and oppression of mankind…

  • Tarig

    @Ed

    As for his association with the Lebanese forces (Kata’eb), it is true that they committed the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon (and many others) with the leadership of Rafiq Hobaiqa and under the guidance of Ariel Sharon. However I don’t know of Walid’s association with that massacre or others. So I’m not sure that this would be an effective way to discredit him out of this newly appointed position//

    Even if he personally had nothing to do with the crime, so what? He associated with, and was a member of a group that committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. There were members of the Nazi party that had nothing to do with the concentration camps, would it be ok for them to get elected in to office?

  • yadayada

    The Christian Phalange of Lebanon is deeply rooted in Fascism, see Spanish Falang party!! also Al khateeb Christian party of Lebanon, extermination of Palestinian Muslims itself was part and parcel of ideological position.Also in late 1930’s the Lebanese Christian party did consider dressing the youth wing with brown shirts, emulating the Hitler youth. Walid Phares also has strong ties to political right plus Jewish lobby… I guess it should not come as a surprise to see ex-terrorist leader and Islamophobe working out of the White house.

    http://iviews.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IV9909-635

  • http://www.mystic444.wordpress.com Stephen G. Parker

    @ Al – My personal opinion is that Ron Paul is the only candidate in the two major parties that I could vote for with a relatively clear conscience. But each person has to decide for himself/herself who to vote for, or whether to vote at all.

    I just wanted to offer one factual correction. According to this site ( http://2012.candidate-comparison.org/?compare=Palin&vs=Paul&on=Religion ) Ron Paul was raised Lutheran, has children who were baptized in the Episcopalian Church, and now attends a conservative Baptist church. None of those are known to have Pentecostal leanings.

  • Al

    Paul is a Pentecostal Christian, just like Bachmann. He is also a far right, fiscal conservative who would corpratize the government. His anti-war platform albeit appealing, is against special interests, therefore congress wouldn’t let any bills he tried to pass against the war see the light of day. It’s more beneficial to the individual NOT to vote. period.

  • Géji

    The US gov’t, the FBI, the military institutions, Churchs, schools, have all been in one way or the other infested by radical Christianists. The country’ Christians are been radicalized by them. So when will Congress hold a hearing on Christian radicalization??

  • khushboo

    Perry’s a rambling idiot, Bachman is a moron, Cain is a clueless Uncle Tom and an Islamophobe, Santorum is a bigot, Gingrich is a jerk, Huntsman is a total unknown that no one cares about, and Romney is a flip flopper who can’t be trusted. That leaves only Ron Paul.

  • khushboo

    ^Yup!

  • Abdullah67

    Vote Ron Paul in the primaries…the only truly anti-war, anti-police state candidate from either party.

  • HGG

    “Tim Padgett at Time Magazine argues that Arbabsiar, who used to live in Corpus Christi, Texas, would have had to be pretty stupid to think the Zetas would bomb an American target for only $1.5 million”

    Tim Padgett doesn’t seem to know the zetas very well.

  • Ed

    Reading through walid phares’ website, one can easily gather that he is very focused on Islam in his writings, articles, books and interviews, and his outlook of Islam is rather negative and quite biased. Based on this ground, I don’t think that he would be a balanced and fair-minded individual to have as an advisor on the Middle East if anytime he thinks of Islam his paranoia of “islamism” and “jihadism” kicks in. You need someone who is educated but rather more balanced and more middle-of-the-road for that kind of position.

    As for his association with the Lebanese forces (Kata’eb), it is true that they committed the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon (and many others) with the leadership of Rafiq Hobaiqa and under the guidance of Ariel Sharon. However I don’t know of Walid’s association with that massacre or others. So I’m not sure that this would be an effective way to discredit him out of this newly appointed position. We would need to hammer on his current quite biased thinking against Islam, in my opinion.

    But in all cases thanks for reporting on it.

  • Pingback: Mitt Romney Appoints anti-Muslim Militiaman Walid Phares | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper

  • Enrique Ferro

    A butcher of Sabra and Shatila?!? No cheating! Better a declared butcher we can all spit at than a professional deceiver who is applauded while he leads the massacre of tens of thousands of people whose fault was to be debt-free!

  • JD

    Tim Padgett at Time Magazine argues that Arbabsiar, who used to live in Corpus Christi, Texas, would have had to be pretty stupid to think the Zetas would bomb an American target for only $1.5 million. “The Zetas, after all, are part of a Mexican drug-trafficking, kidnapping and extortion industry that rakes in as much as $40 billion a year,” he writes. “To risk that kind of cash flow by carrying out a five-alarm international hit for a million and a half bucks seems a non-starter. It also seems an organization like the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, for whom the Justice Department says Arbabsiar may have been working, should know better. Arbabsiar, who lives near Mexico in Corpus Christi, Texas, certainly should have been wiser.”

    Middle East expert Juan Cole speculates on his blog that Arbabsiar’s patron, allegedly a member of the Revolutionary Guards, may have had a side business in drug trafficking. Cole thinks the plot seemed so amateur that it makes it more sense that it was the work of an Iranian drug cartel angry over the Saudi war on drugs than Iranian government operatives. The Iranian cartel may have been hoping to find new markets for Iran’s opium and heroin supply that typically go through Afghanistan

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/informant-posing-drug-cartel-member-foiled-iranian-plot-161312614.html

  • Fox news

    So the nation who declared war against terror has a terrorist in the highest ranks.

  • deccal

    Also, the slogan “Kill a Palestinian and you Shall Enter Paradise” is false as well, the actual slogan says “It is a duty for each Lebanese to kill a Palestinian” (على كل لبناني ان يقتل فلسطينياً). You should also realize that this organization was based in Southern Lebanon, so the majority of its members were Shiites. Once again Loonwatch disseminates false information.

  • deccal

    FYI, The founder of the Guardian of Cedars is Christian, but it was a secular organization based on Lebanese nationalism and opposing the invading Palestinian militias, and as such, Shiites and Druze were among its members. The “Lebanese Forces” you mention was actually a coalition of several different factions. One of these factions, the “Kataeb” (Phalangists) committed the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. Ironically, it is unlikely that the Guardian of the Cedars committed any atrocities during the Lebanese Civil War.

  • Al

    At least the repugnant party openly supports anti-Muslim character assassination while obama just assassinates Muslims…

  • mindy1

    I am going to cry ignorance, not many people know about the sabra and shatila incidents. I read about that, it was horrible. :(

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