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Sarah Posner: Religious War Comes to CPAC

CPAC really isn’t the friendliest place for Muslims to be.

Religious War Comes to CPAC

by Sarah Posner

(Nation)

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual three-day parade of GOP presidential hopefuls delivering paeans to God, country and capitalism, was this year embroiled in a full-scale, intra-party religious war. The conservative movement, according to a group of Islamophobic activists, has been taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood, which they claim supports Sharia, “a supremacist program that justifies the destruction of Christian churches and parishioners” and “the replacement of our constitutional republic…with a theocratic Islamic caliphate governing according to shari’ah.”

That charge came straight out of a flyer handed to me by Krista Hughes, an employee of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), whose president Frank Gaffney is one of the principal ringleaders in the rightwing propaganda campaign to strike fear in Americans’ hearts that a fifth column of Muslim extremists seeks to subvert America from within.

At CPAC, Gaffney’s chief target is Suhail Khan, a former Republican House staffer, Bush administration political appointee and current Senior Fellow at an evangelical think tank focused on religious freedom. Khan, a self-described devout Muslim who serves on the board of the American Conservative Union, CPAC’s organizer, is a conservative through and through. Raised in the San Francisco Bay area, he told me the atmosphere at UC Berkeley, where he attended college, turned him off and led him to his current political persuasion. But Khan’s conservative cred is of no moment to Gaffney, who has waged war against him as well as conservative movement icon Grover Norquist, also an ACU board member, because, Gaffney insists, they are both in league with anti-American Islamists.

Khan, who told me earlier this year that CPAC had shunned Gaffney because he is a “crazy bigot,” has withstood a barrage of Gaffney’s conspiratorial histrionics, which are reminiscent of the charge by John Birch Society founder Robert Welch that Dwight Eisenhower was a secret communist agent.

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  • PD

    /\ Lets stop patting our self on the back guys things are not getting better they are getting worse. America is becoming more and more like pre WW2 Germany where people are getting elected on the back of hate for a group of people jews at that time and muslims today…

  • PD

    CA: HUNDREDS PROTEST MUSLIM CHARITY FUNDRAISING EVENT – TOP
    Jan Norman, Orange County Register, 2/12/11

    YORBA LINDA – Several hundred people from as far away as Corona and the San Fernando Valley filled the lawn outside the Yorba Linda Community Center Sunday afternoon and lined Imperial Highway in response to a fundraising event by a Queens, N.Y.-based Muslim group Islamic Circle of North America Relief USA.

    People started gathering about 3 p.m., two-and-a-half hours before the fundraiser began. Many in the crowd waved U.S. flags and carried signs saying, “God Bless America” and “No Sharia Law,” in reference to Islam’s sacred law. In the afternoon, the event had the atmosphere of a July 4 picnic. Many brought lawn chairs and blankets, sang patriotic songs and tied red, white and blue bandanas on their dogs.

    As the fundraiser started, a splinter group of about 100 stood about 50 yards from the community center entrance and booed, yelled “go home” and chanted “no Sharia law” as attendees entered the building. Among their signs were ones that said “ICNA supports Hamas and Hezbollah.”

  • PD

    RIGHT FRACTURES OVER ISLAM – TOP
    Byron Tau, Politico, 2/12/11

    While a gay rights controversy drew headlines at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, another — and even more bitter — dispute rippled as views varied widely on how to reconcile the conservative movement with Islam in the United States.

    At the 38th annual conservative gathering, there was no shortage of accusations of Islamist sympathies, Muslim Brotherhood infiltration and charges of fear-mongering. Republican presidential hopefuls, including Newt Gingrich and John Thune, also drew applause with suggestions that the Obama administration has taken a politically correct blind eye to the connection between radical Islam and terrorism.

    Freshman Rep. Allen West also drew thunderous applause in his keynote speech about the threat to America posed by Islam and other security threats. And as Republican candidates define their national security stands in the 2012 elections, conservative discomfort with Islam in America will be a feature of the debate … .

    “Sometimes when you hear snide comments about Jews in the ’50s or Muslims today — we’ve been through this. The Republican party chased away the Catholic vote for over a hundred years,” said Grover Norquist, an ACU board member and a tax activist who has tried to bring Muslim voters in to the GOP for more than a decade. “You chase away people politically. The thing about the political effects of bigotry — it can last generations. It’s tough to fix.”

  • PD

    FORMER TOP U.S. GENERAL SAYS CONSTITUTION SHOULD NOT PROTECT MUSLIMS – TOP
    William G. Boykin, 2/11/11

    We tend to assume Islam deserves unquestioned First Amendment protection. But it is a totalitarian way of life with aggressive political goals, not just a religion. What is to be done?

    The Founders who wrote the U.S. Constitution were very aware that the citizens of this nascent nation wanted the freedom to choose their own manner of worship. They made history by forbidding religious tests for public office in Article VI. They added the First Amendment to ensure that Americans would be protected from government interference in their spiritual affairs.

    But a dilemma exists in our nation today concerning whether or how the First Amendment should properly be applied to Islam. This essay will show that the ultimate outcome of blanket protection for Islam in all its manifestations on the grounds of “religious freedom” would be the establishment of Islamic law and government, or Sharia, alongside or in place of civil law and government in this country … .

  • NassirH

    I agree, Daniel. Sometimes I think that even without projects like Loonwatch these clowns would expose themselves via their own histrionics.

  • Daniel

    As I said before, Frank Gaffney has lost touch with reality. I truly believe he is on the edge of a psychotic condition.

  • mindy1

    This is getting weird 😯

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  • Averroe’s Ghost

    I predict that the Republican party is going to eventually split. We will have a third party, the Tea Party, and then that will split up.

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