The progressive "think tank" Center for American Progress (CAP) advertises itself as "an independent and
non-partisan research and educational institute". That's a pretty outlandish claim for a group established by former Bill Clinton chief of staff John Podesta.
On December 15, while attending the annual convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in Pasadena, I picked up a free copy of a 2011 publication by CAP entitled, "Fear, Inc.- The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America". The writers are listed as Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, lee Fang, Scott Keyes and Faiz Shakir.
"Islamopohobia" is just one of the myriad of liberal themes that CAP deals with. In this publication, CAP deals with those they identify as "funders", "misinformation experts", the "religious right", the media, the political players (Republicans all) and the grassroots organizations. Here they are:
Donors Capital Fund
Richard Mellon Scaife
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Russell Berrie Foundation
William Rosenwald Family Fund
Frank Gaffney and Center for Security Policy
Daniel Pipes and Middle East Forum
David Horowitz Freedom Center
Christian Broadcast Network
Brigitte Gabriel's ACT for America
Pam Geller's Stop Islamization of America
Tennessee Freedom Coalition
State tea party movements
American Family Ass.
Independent and non-partisan, right?
Here is what I found striking about the book.
1 In identifying the people and organizations, the writers generally quote various statements and claims made by them on the topic of radical Islam. Many of the quotes actually read "radical Islam". There is actually very little if any refutation of the claims and statements other than occasionally quoting some other person or organization that says the referenced claims or statements are not true or that the people involved are hate groups. As just an example, in referring to David Horowitz's sponsored Islamo-Fascism Awareness weeks on college campuses, (p 88-89), "The guide peddles myths and conspiracy threats, including one that mainstream Muslim groups and organizations are actually fronts for Islamist extremists. Speakers including Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes and Nonie Darwish echo and amplify these myths and threats."
There is no refutation of that allegation.
Or this: "Listening to Hannity, one could hear Rep. Peter King (R-NY) agree with his host that 85% of mosques in America are run by Islamic fundamentalists after Hannity cited Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes to prove his point" (p 93). Again, no refutation. That number, or close variations thereof, has been given by a number of sources.
Here is another one on p 89:
"The point here is that there are 150 Muslim student's associations," Horowitz said, "which are coddled by university administrations and treated as though they were ethnic or religious groups, when they are political groups that are arms of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the fountainhead of the terrorist jihad against the West."
Assuming David Horowitz said that, where is the refutation? There is none.
Want some refutation? How about these:
"And so, the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute found in a recent poll that there was a strong correlation between holding erroneous views about Muslims and Islam and watching Fox News" (p 98). Yes, Fox News is oft-mentioned in this booklet.
On pp 73-74, the book describes the 2010 controversy over radical figures reportedly giving sermons on Capitol Hill for Muslim employees (like interns) in the Capitol. According to the report, it was primarily Fox News and the American Center for Law and Justice that were raising a stink. The issue was reportedly refuted by investigative reporter Sarah Posner, who pointed out that the meetings had nothing to do with Friday prayers (as alleged) , rather concerned weekly meetings of various issues and an annual Iftar dinner during Ramadan for the Congressional Muslim Staff Association. Not mentioned was the fact that in 2002, Anwar al Awlaki did preside over a such a gathering. That was before he ran off to Yemen and joined the jihad over there until he was killed in a drone strike.
In attacking MEMRI (Middle East Media and Research Institute), which posts numerous videos of radical Islamist speeches and other news articles from the Middle East, we have this (pp 94-95):
"A sample of the videos on the front page of MEMRI TV.org, "Islamists in the West", section shows19 new videos with topics ranging from 'Belgian Islamist Abou Imran of Sharia4Belgium: "We will conquer the White House, Europe will be dominated by Islam" to "American Jihadist Operating from Somalia, Abu Mansour Al-Amriki, calls to Attack America, in Two New Jihadi Songs- 'Send me a Cruise' and 'Make Jihad with me'. Problem is, 12 of the 19 videos-including the two listed above-list "The Internet" as the source, instead of any verifiable news source."
That is followed by a claim by George Washington University professor Marc Lynch that MEMRI "is cherry-picking a couple of statements on fringe websites to support its own, highly-partisan interpretation..."
The above is followed by a quote from a former CIA case officer named Vince Cannistraro that "they are selective and act as propagandists for their political point of view, which is the extreme right of Likud" and a statement by Laila Lalami in The Nation, who said that (MEMRI) "consistently picks the most violent, hateful rubbish it can find, translates it and distributes it in e-mail newsletters to media and members of Congress in Washington".
Instead of refuting MEMRI's specific videos and articles, they attack MEMRI.
For the record, I have posted many MEMRI videos of Middle East radicals preaching hate and violence, which have been translated into English sub-titles. The words literally speak for themselves. Is it bashing Muslims in general to highlight the ravings of people like Yusuf al Qaradawi, for example? I suppose the CAP could browse through Fousesquawk and quote me as saying that Qaradawi, one of the most highly respected Islamic scholars in the world-which he is- is "a mad man" and altered his picture to make it appear Qaradawi was working at McDonalds.
I am guilty.
I also note that the book uses a couple of quotes from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League as to certain individuals or organizations. With all due respect, the SPLC has done some good work over the years and gone after some worthy targets, such as the KKK. They have also falsely labeled others-especially on the Islamophobia issue. On p 37, it is stated that SPLC has listed Stop Islamization of America as a "hate group". The ADL, under Abraham Foxman, has made a pointed effort to stay away from issues of anti-Semitism when the perpetrators are Islamic.
2 Lots of adjectives applied to the targets.
"right-wing media echo chamber"
"alarmist sharia fears"
The CAP may claim that they are non-partisan (as to Democrat/Republican-which is in itself a joke), but their language gives them away. It is the standard leftist vernacular used to paint those on the right.
I cannot vouch for every quote attributed to these people by CAP. (There is a quote attributed to David Yerushalmi on blacks, for example. If true, I would denounce that.) Some of these people are not even known to me though most are, and I have even met a handful of them or attended their speeches. (I once spoke to an ACT meeting in Orange County). I may or may not be a fan of any of them-Pat Robertson, in particular, I never cared for. I may or may not agree with all of the statements quoted in the book. I will say this; the ones I have met and/or associated with are fighting the extremist, supremacist, violent, jihadist form of Islam that is, indeed, a threat to all of us. I do not believe they are against Muslims in general as a people, but they recognize that Islam, aside from its religious aspect, does have a political ideology. They also recognize that sharia law has a death penalty for certain things we don't even consider a crime in America (apostasy, blasphemy, adultery). Yet, the people who are involved in trying to keep sharia out of our own laws are painted as bigots. True bigotry would be to not protect a Muslim apostate from violent retribution or turn a blind eye to an "honor killing" of a Muslim woman because "that's their religious law".
Finally, under the Acknowledgements section, the booklet reads, "This report was supported in part by a grant from the Open Society Foundations..." The Open Society is a creation of George Soros. He is the guy who bankrolls much of the progressive projects in the country-including the CAP. If you don't know who Soros is, you should.
The CAP under Podesta is the same as what Podesta and his gang of Clinton hit-men were when Clinton was in the White House. It is a hit-squad devoted to defeating the enemies of liberalism in the US by character assassination. Their first victims were people like Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaderick and other political opponents. Now they are going after anyone who doesn't agree with their leftist world view. How they enjoy tax-exempt status for being "non-partisan" is beyond me.