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Heritage Foundation Benghazi panel descends into Islamophobic freak show

Heritage Foundation Benghazi panel descends into Islamophobic freak show

Although its reputation for intellectual seriousness was previously overstated, those who worried that former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint’s ascension as chief of the Heritage Foundation would lead to the right-wing think tank’s disgrace are looking mighty prescient after a Monday afternoon panel on the Banghazi attack’s lingering “unanswered questions” devolved into a bigoted freak show.

When one considers the panelists involved, it’s unlikely the so-called discussion was ever going to go too well. Alongside straight-up crank and professional bigot Frank Gaffney, Heritage also invited ACT! for America’s Brigitte Gabriel (known for repeatedly describing Muslims as “barbarians“) and Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi’s Clare Lopez (who previously described the Obama administration as having “switched sides” in the war on terror). Leading the conversation was Chris Plante, a conservative talk radio host.

According to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, while the panel rather quickly and predictably transitioned from vague expressions of concern about a Benghazi conspiracy to a more free-floating animus toward Islam and Muslims, things didn’t get really ugly until one audience member, an American University law student named Saba Ahmed, decided to push back against the panelists’ many ignorant and harmful assertions.

“We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there’s 1.8 billion followers of Islam,” Ahmed reportedly told the panel. “We have 8 million-plus Muslim Americans in this country, and I don’t see them represented here.”

This was unacceptable. Gabriel was the first to attack, according to Milbank, responding that “180 million to 300 million” Muslims are “dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization” and that the “peaceful majority” of the world’s Muslims “were irrelevant” on September 11, 2001. Besides, Muslims are like Nazis, Gabriel argued: “Most Germans were peaceful,” she said, “yet the Nazis drove the agenda, and as a result, 60 million died.”

Gabriel then questioned Ahmed’s citizenship before telling her that “political correctness” of the kind she spouts should be kept “in the garbage” where it belongs. Ahmed was then asked “Where are the others speaking out?” but before she could explain why demanding a community of hundreds of millions have “others” who “speak out” against murder is ridiculous and disingenuous, the audience drowned her out with a standing ovation.

As the evening progressed, Plante implied Ambassador Chris Stevens’ real cause of death was being hidden, Gabriel suggested Stevens was secretly working on a weapons-swap between Libya and Syria, and Lopez joked about how journalists covering the attack are secretly friends with Islamist terrorists, with whom they were “sipping frappes … in juice bars.” One audience member even suggested that Gen. Carter Ham, then-commander of U.S. Africa Command, had been “placed under house arrest” so as to allow the attack to occur. Plante said he’d heard the same.

Here’s video of the debacle, via Media Matters:

Also See:
VIDEO: Heritage Foundation’s Benghazi Panelists Mock Muslim Student
Heritage’s ugly Benghazi panel

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  • Reynardine

    Could you be induced to double-dare Hannity? And could he be induced to take you up on it?

  • Reynardine

    I was rather wonderstruck to hear she had walked into it *again*.

  • The greenmantle

    Decend into freak show ? It was and still is a freak show from the start . Just one look at the line up tells you that . What did the commentator think it was going to be before it started once that line up was announced ?

    What is it with these folks ? The american economy is still on the rocks , most folks have debts up to their eyeballs , houses under water , lack of savings healthcare or decent education outlook for their kids and they want to go on about some 5h1t that happened in a chatotic situation in the middle of a revolution thousands of miles away years ago ..
    WTF is up with them ?

    Sir David

  • 1DrM

    Here we go again. Saba Ahmed did not learn from her first encounter, and went ahead to make a fool out of herself a second time by appearing on FOX. Yet again she came off as unprepared, unable to maintain direct eye contact, overly defensive and seriously lacking the knowledge to counter both Hannity and Gabriel’s lies. No wonder that’s why they invited her. Adopt the DrM method to destroy Islamophobes or get humiliated. While I’m NOT a fan of Mali Zulu Shabazz this is how you debate on FOX :

  • LiesYouTell

    Saba Ahmed vs Bridget Gabriel on Hannity.

    What a mess! Did Ahmed not learn her lesson from those vultures in the Heritage Foundation? These Islamophobes play dirty.

  • Anonymous

    I would pay top dollar to see that

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