Trump’s coming witch hunt against political Islam

Eli Lake writes: On the day after Donald Trump won the election, one of his campaign’s advisers and endorsers made a prediction. “You are going to see a purging,” retired Lt. General Jerry Boykin told Frank Gaffney on his “Secure Freedom Radio” podcast. Boykin predicted that Trump as president would purge “people inside the government that are known to have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and its front groups and its entities here in America.”

This kind of comment is expected from Boykin, one of the founders of the Army’s elite Delta Force. When he served in Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon during George W. Bush’s administration, he boasted that his God was mightier than the one worshiped by Muslim terrorists. Since retiring from the Army, Boykin has been a leader of a movement fighting against what it calls a civilization jihad, a network of Muslim ideologues trying to take over American society.

Until now, this movement was largely ignored by elites in the Republican and Democratic parties. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have gone to great lengths to distinguish between Muslims who commit violence in the name of Islam and Muslims who seek to impose Islamic rule on secular societies through elections and free debate. In Iraq, Bush embraced Sunni and Shiite leaders from Islamist parties. Obama went further. His government eliminated terms like “jihad” and “radical Islam” from official FBI and Homeland Security documents. In his first term, Obama explored a deeper relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood abroad in places like Egypt and Turkey. [Continue reading…]

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The coming war on ‘radical Islam’

Uri Friedman writes: Where Obama sees a weak enemy that is getting weaker, his critics see a strong enemy that is getting stronger. Where Obama sees limits to what the U.S. can do on its own to eradicate radical interpretations of Islam, his critics see an appalling lack of effort by the U.S. government. Where Obama sees a serious but manageable national-security threat, his critics see an ideological and civilizational challenge to the free world.

Trump has gone further than many other Republican leaders in advancing the counterargument to Obama — not just in his proposed policies, like banning or severely restricting Muslim immigration to the United States, but also in his rhetoric. “I think Islam hates us,” Trump said earlier this year. Asked if he was referring to “radical Islam,” he responded, “It’s radical, but it’s very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.”

Several members of Trump’s emerging team have described the threat in similarly stark and broad ways. “We’re in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam. But we are not permitted to speak or write those two words, which is potentially fatal to our culture,” writes Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick for national-security adviser, in a book he published this summer with the conservative writer Michael Ledeen.

“I don’t believe all cultures are morally equivalent, and I think the West, and especially America, is far more civilized, far more ethical and moral, than the system our main enemies want to impose on us,” Flynn adds.

“Not all the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are extremists or terrorists. Not by a long shot,” wrote Flynn’s incoming deputy, K.T. McFarland, in March. “But even if just 10 percent of 1 percent are radicalized, that’s a staggering 1.6 million people bent on destroying Western civilization and the values we hold dear. The fascists wanted to control the world. So did the communists. But the Islamists want to brutally kill a significant percentage of the world — and that is anyone standing in the way of their end-times caliphate.” Jeff Sessions, Trump’s choice for attorney general, has invoked America’s “containment” strategy during the Cold War, noting that there “can be no compromise with this form of radical Islam.”

As the head of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon hosted a radio show featuring numerous guests who claimed that radical Muslim ideologues were clandestinely infiltrating the U.S. government and trying to extend their belief system across the country. (Flynn has similarly warned, falsely, that Islamic Sharia law is encroaching on the U.S. legal system.) In a 2014 speech to the Human Dignity Institute in the Vatican, Bannon, who will be Trump’s chief strategist in the White House, characterized the current war against “jihadist Islamic fascism” as the latest stage of an existential, centuries-old struggle between the Judeo-Christian West and the Islamic world: [Continue reading…]

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Ohio State attacker complained bitterly in Facebook post of treatment of Muslims ‘everywhere,’ reports say

The Washington Post reports: Just minutes before an 18-year-old Somali college student used a car and butcher knife to attack people on the Ohio State University campus Monday morning, he said in a Facebook post that he’d reached a “boiling point” and was “sick and tired” of seeing Muslims around the globe “killed and tortured,” law enforcement officials told CNN and NBC.

The post said the U.S. should stop “interfering” in the Muslim world and referenced “lone wolf” attacks.

The post appeared to be on the Facebook page of the alleged attacker, Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan, and has since been disabled, reported ABC News. The Post could not independently confirm the story.

On Twitter, CNN’s Jake Tapper shared the full text of the post, which he said law enforcement officials confirmed was connected to Artan.

It began with a general denunciation of violence against Muslims “everywhere,” then referenced specifically the Rohingya Muslim community in Burma, who have been long-persecuted and are denied citizenship and basic rights. While the struggles of the Rohingya Muslims receive little publicity in the U.S., their situation has attracted more attention in recent weeks, as the Post’s Annie Gowen reported. Thousands of them have been fleeing into the forests and neighboring Bangladesh on the heels of a brutal military crackdown that followed a terrorist attack on police posts Oct. 9, allegedly carried out by Rohingya militants.

This week, a United Nations refugee agency official told the BBC that Burmese troops were “killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing these people to cross the river” into Bangladesh.

The official claimed the government’s goal was “ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority.” [Continue reading…]

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Amazon’s new ad: A response to anti-Muslim rhetoric

CNN reports: A priest and an imam are sitting down for tea.

It’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s Amazon’s newest ad, and it serves up a healthy dose of anti-Trump messaging.

In the ad, the priest and the imam are friends — and they’re not getting any younger. They share a hug, the imam leaves, and both take out their smartphones and tap on the Amazon app. Two days later, they receive the same package from each other: knee braces. The priest genuflects without pain. The imam kneels for prayer, and he feels just fine.

If the commercial had come out last year, it would have been the usual heart-warming stuff, quickly forgotten.

But the ad has already erupted on social media, even tweeted by Amazon’s Twitter-shy CEO, Jeff Bezos. [Continue reading…]

 

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A candidate rises on vows to control Islam and immigration. This time in France

The New York Times reports: A patriotic sea of supporters, waving red, white and blue flags, greeted the newly ascendant presidential hopeful François Fillon this week at a soulless conference center in this suburb of Lyon.

Mr. Fillon described radical Islam as a “totalitarianism like the Nazis” to the cheers of an enthusiastic crowd, adding that France would need Russia’s help to fight it. Catholics, Protestants and Jews “don’t denounce the values of the Republic,” he thundered — unlike the faithful of a certain other religion.

“We’ve got to reduce immigration to its strict minimum,” he said. “Our country is not a sum of communities, it is an identity!”

In a year when nativist politics have become the ticket to electoral victory, Mr. Fillon, 62, a dark-suited, stern-faced former prime minister has managed to successfully ride the same nationalist and xenophobic currents as that have pushed politicians in Britain and the United States to victory.

For months, Mr. Fillon polled third and even fourth among presidential contenders in France and was largely dismissed. But his defense of French values and identity has suddenly made him the front-runner as France’s right-center Republican Party prepares to vote Sunday in a runoff to choose its standard-bearer in the 2017 elections — and quite possibly the next president of France. [Continue reading…]

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Britain’s far right in 2016: fractured, unpredictable, dispirited … and violent

The Guardian reports: After years of austerity, and at a time of rising concern about immigration and uncertainty about the future direction of the UK, the political and economic conditions appear to be ideal for the far right. Across Europe – particularly in France, Denmark and the Netherlands – it is animated and resurgent, scenting electoral success just over the horizon.

In the UK, however, the extreme right is fractured, leaderless, confused and dispirited. It is also highly unpredictable and, on occasion, violent. Rather than one party or group – such as the British National party (BNP) or the English Defence League (EDL) – dominating the stage, a couple of dozen smaller groups vie for attention.

Some continue to contest local elections, but the growing popularity of Ukip in recent years has presented former supporters of the BNP and other far-right parties with an opportunity to vote for an anti-immigration party that is not considered disreputable.

Other groups favour so-called direct action, such as picketing mosques, invading halal abattoirs and harassing staff at Muslim-owned restaurants. Others still prefer to stage rallies and marches, bringing them into conflict with anti-fascist campaigners and, frequently, the police.

Each confrontation ensures that future events attract more people seeking violence. A handful of groups have started organising martial arts training and survivalist boot camps, and recent months have seen an increase in hate crimes. There has, in the words of the Met police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, been a “horrible spike” in such crime.

In many respects, racial nationalism in Britain in 2016 resembles that of the late 1990s, before the BNP was reorganised by its then leader, Nick Griffin. After taking control of the party in 1999, Griffin rid it of what he called “the three Hs: hobbyism, hard talk and Hitler”. Members focused more on a new enemy – Muslims and Islam. Activists swapped their boots for suits, grew their hair a little and began winning council elections. In 2009 the party won two European parliament seats.

Now the far right is back where it was almost 20 years ago, a series of micro-groups struggling to be seen and heard. Many of these groups have members in West Yorkshire, where Jo Cox’s killer, Thomas Mair, lived, although it appears he was not a member of any of them.

Paul Meszaros, the county’s coordinator for the anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate, says: “The far-right scene in West Yorkshire is no different to the rest of the country at the moment, which is unusual, because it used to be the BNP’s capital.”

Many veterans of the right are unsurprised by the waning of their fortunes, saying success has always been cyclical. At some point in the future, they predict, they will again be something of an electoral force.

Jim Lewthwaite, a former member of the National Front and a former BNP councillor in Bradford, says: “We’re going back to the same cyclical position as we were before 2001. The right is totally fragmented and on its back, waiting for something to happen.

“But remember how fast it went when it did take off? If things did happen, if Ukip were to fold, or if significant fragments of Ukip were to say we want a tougher line, and there were somebody leading it in our direction, or someone on our side that they trusted … we wouldn’t have to rebuild the organisation a second time.

“There are experienced people out there who are simply taking a back seat. They haven’t ceased to be nationalists, they don’t need to be reconvinced. They have concluded that nothing is happening right now, so there’s no point in doing anything. But if something caught on, and it started snowballing, they would get involved.”

The “things” that could happen, and which Lewthwaite and others believe could lead to the far right becoming an energised and coherent force in British politics, include, of course, serious Islamist terrorist attacks. [Continue reading…]

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Michael Flynn in August: Islamism a ‘vicious cancer’ in body of all Muslims that ‘has to be excised’

CNN reports: Donald Trump’s pick to be national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, called Islamism a “vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people” that has to be “excised” during an August speech.

Flynn, who has called Islam as a whole a “cancer” in the past, made the comments during a speech to the Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Video of his speech is available on YouTube and was reviewed by CNN’s KFile.

“We are facing another ‘ism,’ just like we faced Nazism, and fascism, and imperialism and communism,” Flynn said. “This is Islamism, it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet and it has to be excised.”

In the same speech, Flynn falsely claimed that Florida Democrats voted to impose Islamic shariah law at the state and local level. The claim, peddled by far-right blogs in 2014, was rated “pants on fire” by the independent fact-checking organization PolitiFact, which explained that the bill in question was about prohibiting judges from using foreign law in family law cases if the law conflicted with existing U.S. policy. Democrats voted against the bill, saying it was unnecessary and targeted Muslims in the state. [Continue reading…]

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Zionist gala toasts Donald Trump’s ‘divine’ election victory

The Daily Beast reports: Outside the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan, hundreds of protesters decried bigotry and hatred. Inside, the Zionist Organization of America heard that Donald J. Trump had been guided into the White House thanks to divine intervention.

A Long Island neurologist, who delivered the dvar torah at the ZOA’s gala, regaled the ballroom with tales of the ancient Israelites who witnessed miraculous interventions into the natural order. “Well, so did we,” bellowed Alan Mazurek. He declared that the election had been “divinely directed.”

The crowd roared.

“Once again, the United States will be blessed. Once again, the prime minister of Israel will enter through the front door of the White House,” he said.

The guests broke into applause as he called on the world to unite with Trump to stop “barbaric radical Islamic savages.” [Continue reading…]

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Why Trump’s proposed targeting of Muslims would be unconstitutional

 

David Cole writes: As a candidate, Donald Trump notoriously called for a ban on the entrance of all Muslims, a database to track Muslims in the United States, for aggressive surveillance of “the mosques,” and for closing down mosques. When many pointed out that such religiously targeted enforcement actions would be unconstitutional, he began talking instead about “extreme vetting” – apparently not getting that what the Constitution forbids is selective targeting of a religious group, regardless of the type of burden imposed. Now that he’s President-elect, his transition team is reportedly discussing requiring immigrants from Muslim-majority countries to register with the immigration authorities. Reince Priebus said on “Meet the Press” Sunday that “we’re not going to have a registry based on a religion.” But this is semantics; the transition team is reportedly planning just that, only under the guise of focusing on countries that happen to be majority Muslim. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a virulently anti-immigrant hard-liner who introduced a similar registration scheme when he worked for President George W. Bush, is now working with the Trump transition, and told Reuters that the team was discussing reviving the registration scheme, which President Obama had ended in 2011. Kobach maintained that because the program he was discussing would be focused not on religion, but on countries that have a terrorist presence, the scheme would survive constitutional challenges. But there’s a huge difference between what Bush did and what Trump is proposing. Bush’s scheme had a disparate effect on Muslims, but there was no evidence that Bush himself had adopted it to target Muslims. Trump, by contrast, has left a long trail of smoking guns making clear his anti-Muslim intent.

When executive action is challenged as targeting religion, the critical question is intent: If the government can be shown to have intentionally targeted a religious group, its actions violate the Free Exercise Clause. The law need not name the religion by name. It is enough to show that an anti-religious intent was at play. As with race or sex discrimination, if the government takes action that appears neutral on its face but was adopted for the purpose of singling out a racial minority, it is subject to stringent scrutiny and virtually always invalid. [Continue reading…]

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Team Trump’s message: The clash of civilizations is back

Michael Hirsh reports: Last February Mike Flynn, the incoming national security adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, tweeted: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” He urged his tweeps to “please forward” a Muslim-bashing video by one I.Q. al-Rassooli, a Britain-based, Iraqi-born polemicist who argues that Islam is less a religion than a cult in perpetual war with the West, that the Prophet Muhammad “committed crimes against humanity on a massive scale” and the Koran is “a rambling, incoherent, jumbled scripture of hatred and enmity that no true God would have ever revealed to anyone.”

Two years ago, in 2014, Steve Bannon, President-elect Trump’s incoming chief strategist, told an interviewer that “the Judeo-Christian West” is “in the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict … an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism”—an enemy that, unless harsher measures are taken, “will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.”

And this past May Mike Pompeo, President-elect Trump’s nominee to run the CIA, went to the Center for Security Policy, a hardline think tank that has accused Obama administration officials of being secret agents of the Muslim Brotherhood, for a sit-down with the head of the center, Frank Gaffney. Pompeo told Gaffney in a recorded interview that the fight “extends beyond those [Muslims] who are just engaged in violent extremism.” He added: “We don’t have to say that all Muslims are bad. But … we’re going to have to have a broader approach in order to keep Americans safe.” [Continue reading…]

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Donald Trump’s Islamophobic national security team

The New York Times reports: President-elect Donald J. Trump’s remarkable appointments on Friday served notice that he not only intends to reverse eight years of liberal domestic policies but also overturn decades of bipartisan consensus on the United States’ proper role in world affairs.

Mr. Trump moved unapologetically to realize his campaign’s vision of a nation that relentlessly enforces immigration laws; views Muslims with deep suspicion; aggressively enforces drug laws; second-guesses post-World War II alliances; and sends suspected terrorists to Guantánamo Bay or C.I.A. prisons to be interrogated with methods that have been banned as torture.

At a time when American cities have been inflamed by racial tensions, police shootings and fears over homegrown terrorism, Mr. Trump made no conciliatory gestures toward Muslims, Mexicans and African-American neighborhoods, all of which he disparaged during his campaign.

The appointments so far — Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as attorney general, Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas as C.I.A. director and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as national security adviser — sent an unmistakable signal that he did not intend to use his personnel choices to build bridges to Democrats or moderate Republicans who opposed his campaign’s nationalist overtones. [Continue reading…]

Former CIA analyst, Patrick Eddington, writes: Sessions’ claims about the terrorism risk posed by immigrants are unhinged from reality.

In September 2016, my Cato colleague and immigration specialist Alex Nowrasteh published a comprehensive report analyzing this very question. His key findings:

Including those murdered in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), the chance of an American perishing in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil that was committed by a foreigner over the 41-year period studied here is 1 in 3.6 million per year. The hazard posed by foreigners who entered on different visa categories varies considerably. For instance, the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year while the chance of being murdered in an attack committed by an illegal immigrant is an astronomical 1 in 10.9 billion per year. By contrast, the chance of being murdered by a tourist on a B visa, the most common tourist visa, is 1 in 3.9 million per year…The annual chance of being murdered by somebody other than a foreign-born terrorist was 252.9 times greater than the chance of dying in a terrorist attack committed by a foreign-born terrorist. (emphasis added)

Without question, if you lose a loved one or friend to a terrorist attack, it will seem like the greatest threat America faces. The reality is that you, a family member, or coworker are far more likely to be a victim of traditional crime than a victim of an ISIS-inspired plot.

Trump, Bannon, Sessions, Pompeo, former DIA Director (and Trump National Security Adviser designee) Mike Flynn, and Trump transition team adviser and long-time Islamophobe Frank Gaffney are poised to further derange our counterterrorism policy. By increasing the demonization and stigmatization of Arab or Muslim immigrants, they will legitimize the ISIS narrative that America is at war with Islam as a whole—giving public relations oxygen to Salafist-oriented terrorist organizations from Africa to Southeast Asia, facilitating their recruitment efforts globally. [Continue reading…]

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Trump’s security picks deepen Muslim worries about an anti-Islamic White House

The Washington Post reports: News of President-elect Donald Trump’s national security picks set off fresh tremors across the Islamic world on Friday as Middle Eastern allies and Muslim American groups prepared to face advisers and potential Cabinet members noted for harshly anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The naming of Trump’s picks for attorney general, CIA director and national security adviser drew public condemnations from Muslim civil rights groups as well as private expressions of concern from several Arab states that ­cooperate closely with the United States in the fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. Some current and former government officials worried that the appointments could reinforce perceptions among the world’s Muslims that the United States is at war against Islam itself.

American civil rights organizations and faith leaders said Friday they were disturbed by Trump’s appointment of retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn to be his top national security adviser. Flynn, a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has repeatedly referred to Islam as “a cancer,” claimed that a “fear of Muslims is rational” and warned — despite a lack of evidence — that Sharia or Islamic law is spreading throughout the United States. [Continue reading…]

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