ThinkProgress, (hat tip:Ustadh) has an article on a recent conference that was titled “How to Take Back America.” It is pretty much a conference centered around the continuing effort to delegitimize President Obama. In this conference we had a convergence of some of the wackiest and conspiratorial figures in the right-wing. In a made for Hollywood train-wreck, the stars aligned to bring Frank Gaffney, Walid Shoebat and Bill Federer (!) together on the question of what religion is Obama. As you well know that is a recipe for loonieness!
At the How to Take Back America conference last weekend, attended by several Republican lawmakers, former Reagan official and prominent neoconservative Frank Gaffney, right-wing historian Bill Federer, and Christian activist Walid Shoebat hosted a panel on “How to understand Islam.” An attendee of the panel asked the three speakers if they would consider President Obama a Christian or a Muslim, given his “roots.” While Gaffney gave a now familiar response linking Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood, Federer and Shoebat provided new theories, which elicited praise from the crowd:
GAFFNEY: If Bill Clinton, on the basis of special interest pandering and identity politics, was properly called the first Black American President, on that same basis, Barack Obama should be called the first Muslim American President. […] But there is evidence that a lot of Muslims think he is Muslim. But whether he is or whether he isn’t, the key to me, is is he pursuing that is indistinguishable in important respects from that of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose mission ladies and gentlemen, we know from a trial in Dallas last year, is to quote to destroy Western civilization from within by its own miserable hand. That’s what we need to keep our eye on.
FEDERER: In Islam, if your father is a Muslim, you’re automatically a Muslim. Since Barack’s father, stepfather, and grandfather were all Muslim, the Muslim world views him as Muslim. Mohammad allowed his warriors to say they’re not Muslim to gain advantage and um, but he’s uh, Islam permits you to lie to advance Islam, Saul Alinsky allows you to lie to advance your communist agenda, you can put them together.
SHOEBAT: I came from an American mother, Obama came from an American mother. I came from a Muslim father, Obama came from a Muslim father. […] Did you know that your President knows how to do the call to the prayer in eloquent classical Arabic? […] No one can do this in classical Arabic language unless he grew up and was raised as a Muslim.
Watch it:[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocqBvAqjO4s&feature=player_embedded 300 250]
During the panel, Shoebat advocated entering Arab countries and converting Muslims to Christianity. He also went on a rant about how Muslims in meat packaging plants are contaminating America’s food supply because their hands are unclean.
Gaffney has a record of comparing Obama to Hitler — a major theme of the conference — and spreading other absurd reasons for why he thinks Obama is Muslim. As Matt Duss has noted, although it may be difficult to take Gaffney as a serious analyst, his “transparently bigoted” attacks are given a platform on major media outlets. This reason alone is why Gaffney’s smears shouldn’t be ignored.