Yesterday, citing a poll from Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy that purported to show that 51% of US Muslims would rather live under Shariah law than the Constitution and that 20% believe that violence is justified to make Shariah the law of the land, Donald J. Trump, the front runner for the Republican nomination for president of the United States, called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" until our "representatives can figure out what is going on."
Never mind Donald Trump, for the moment--let's talk about Frank
Gaffney. Gaffney was a deputy secretary of defense under Reagan; he's also the
guy, lest you forget, who says that Americans for Tax Reform leader
Grover Norquist is a sleeper agent for the Muslim Brotherhood (you can
hear him telling Glenn Beck the whole story above). I've written a lot
about him, here and in my 2012 book The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right.
In the introduction of The New Hate, I noted that Gaffney had endorsed an Islamophobic blogger's semiotic interpretation of the US Missile Defense Agency's then newly-minted logo (picture above) as a conscious morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo--stunning evidence, as Gaffney put it, of "various, ominous and far more clear-cut acts of submission to Shariah by President Obama and his team." (When it came out that the redesign was executed and approved during George W. Bush's administration, Gaffney issued a correction.)
But if you'll bear with me, I want to quote a much longer Gaffney-inspired passage from The New Hate, because I could have written it yesterday:
There are a host of "aspects of Shariah that are now beginning to be adopted or accommodated in our country," Frank Gaffney had told Fox News as far back as 2008. "We think far from being frivolous or innocuous or innocent, these represent a form of, what I think [is] best described as stealth Jihad." In the fall of 2010, Gaffney's Center for Security Policy issued a massive report titled Shariah: The Threat to America. "The results of months of analysis, discussion and drafting by a group of top security policy experts," its introduction touted itself, it was intended to provide "a comprehensive and articulate 'second opinion'" on "the preeminent totalitarian threat of our time: the legal-political-military doctrine known within Islam as 'shariah.'" For the report's purposes, Shariah was defined not simply as the body of Islamic law but as an all-out effort to create a worldwide caliphate by any means possible.
"If shariah is thus viewed as an alien legal system hostile to and in contravention of the U.S. Constitution, and as one which dictates both violent and non-violent means to a capable audience ready to act imminently, then logically, those who seek to establish shariah in America--whether by violent means or by stealth--can be said to be engaged in criminal sedition, not the protected practice of a religion"....
Back in the 1920s, Henry Ford was as horrified by the presence of rabbinical courts in New York State as the anti-Shariah forces are today by the prospect of Muslim law worming its way into state, local, and federal statutes. "There is a Jewish court sitting in a public building in the city of New York every week, and other courts, for the sole advantage and use of this people whose spokesmen deny that they are a 'separate people,' are in formation everywhere," Ford wrote in The Dearborn Independent. "Wherever Jewish tendencies are permitted to work unhindered, the result is not 'Americanization,' or 'Anglicization' nor any other distinctive nationalism, but a strong and ruling reversion back to essential Judaization.'"
The authors of the Shariah report acknowledge that some of the world's Muslims--maybe even most of them--are not overt extremists. But they don't vest much credit in them either. Just as the Devil quotes Scripture when it suits his purposes, stealth jihadists will pay lip service to liberal values while secretly working to undermine them. If Catholics are defined as soldiers in the service of the pope who are determined to destroy representative government in whatever country they live in, then there can be no innocent Catholics; if Communists are understood to be slaves of Moscow, then they can only be subversive. So it is with Islam. Moderate-seeming Muslims may be the most suspect of all, since they would be the most ideally positioned to become sleepers.
Where does this anti-Shariah hysteria come from? Some of it can be attributed to Christian chauvinism; some to an instinctive, defensive Nativism, inflamed by an uncertain economy and the lingering shock of 9/11. Some of it has been fomented by Christian cultural conservatives, some of it by right-wing Jews who regard Israel's traditional enemies with the same indiscriminate loathing that Hitler's Nazis did their ancestors (when Osama bin Laden's killing was announced on May 1, 2011, Debbie Schlussel blogged, "One down, 1.8 billion to go...many of 'em inside U.S. borders, with the U.S. government at all levels kissing their asses"). Anders Behring Breivik's 1,500 page manifesto, "2008: A European Declaration of Independence," which explains how the forces of Politically Correct Multiculturalism, Marxism, and Shariah compelled him to murder 77 of his fellow Norwegians, contains a generous selection of their writings, much to some of its unwitting contributors' embarrassment...
Much of what has been playing out in the political scene over the past few years is displaced Obama hatred, and many of his political rivals have been leveraging it for all it's worth. Obama is a Marxist revolutionary whose middle name is the same as the ex-dictator of Iraq's, they say. He's not white, he's probably not American, and he might not even be a Christian. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in August 2010 found that nearly one in five Americans and more than one in three self-described conservative Republicans believed that Obama is a Muslim.
As the Reverend Gerald Burton Winrod wrote of Franklin Delano Roosevelt three-quarters of a century ago, he is "not one of us."