Neocons continue to Malign Muslims


Three militant neocon pundits spoke vehemently against the Bush administration's gesture to include American Muslim leaders in discussions on how to deal with the rising tide of anti-Americanism and to restore the level of trust and support the United States enjoyed prior to the missteps the administration took under the neocons' urging. 

Frank Gaffney issued a warning to Karen Hughes, the newly appointed Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, demanding that she does not attend the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Convention. Ignoring the false alarm he set in a recent op-ed piece in the Washington Times, Ms. Hughes met with Muslim leaders and discussed her ideas for bridging the deepening divide between the United States and Muslim countries. 

Gaffney told Hughes point blank: "Don't go there." Joel Mowbary, another neocon who is apparently more aware of the tactics of misinformation, gave her the benefit of the doubt, allowing her to make one mistake for one time: "Given that it is highly unlikely Hughes knew exactly what she was walking into, she deserves the benefit of the doubt - this time" 

Gaffney belongs to a small but vocal group of militant pundits, driven by deep seated hate of Islam and Muslims, and bent on maligning Muslim leaders and organizations in a bid to marginalize and isolate mainstream American Muslims. Gaffney joined two other well known Muslim Bashers, Daniel Pipes and Joel Mowbary, in demonizing ISNA and the leaders of the national Muslim organizations that met Ms. Hughes. 

Utilizing several conservative publications, including the Washington Times, the trio leveled serious allegations against mainstream Muslim organizations, accusing them of supporting terrorism and promoting radicalism. Using quotes taken out of context, guilt by association, errors of fact, and innuendo, the group has been active in feeding lies to the public and inciting government officials and law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations, and then use these investigations as a basis for further maligning law-abiding and patriot American Muslims. 

Pipes accused , last year, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) of being "part of the militant Islamist lobby," and contended that it was "well-disguised, and has brought in all the Islamist trends, giving them a patent of respectability." 

After conducting a thorough investigation of Pipes's accusations, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) issued a statement that brought out the irresponsible nature of Pipes's attacks. "The Institute was aware of and took seriously the accusations made against CSID and some of the speakers at the event," Kay King, the director of Congressional and Public Affairs at USIP wrote. "These allegations were investigated carefully with credible private individuals and U.S. government agencies," she went on, "and found to be without merit. The public criticism of CSID and the speakers was found to be based on quotes taken out of context, guilt by association, errors of fact, and innuendo." 

Gaffney, likewise, used misinformation and error of fact to justify his demands that the Bush administration isolate the most inclusive and mainstream Muslim convention. He contended, in a recent article, that the Senate Finance Committee "listed ISNA as one of 25 American Muslim organizations that 'finance terrorism and perpetuate violence.'" He, however, failed to disclose that the Finance Committee never found ISNA guilty of such allegations and that his reference relates to a letter sent by the committee chairman and the ranking member on December 22, 2003, asking the IRS to investigate Muslim charities for possible links to terrorist financing. 18 months have lapsed since February 20, 2004, the deadline set for the investigation, with no action, or even a congressional hearing conducted by the Finance Committee on the matter. 

Mowbary, employing the same tactic of half-truths, quotes taken out of context, and innuendo, cited a Freedom House study that found Saudi publications in twelve mosques - out of 3500 throughout the country-that made bigoted references to followers of other religions. What Mowbary omits is the fact that the Freedom House, responding to complaints by American Muslim leaders of the misleading nature of the report title, stressed that their study was intended to uncover the bigotry of the Saudi publications, and was never intended to implicate US mosques. The Freedom House went a step further and invited two of ISNA leaders to a meeting for consultation on its report and to explore the question of religious extremism. 

These shameless attempts by Gaffney, Mowbary, and Pipes to malign mainstream Muslim organizations and leaders are not driven by rational and objective considerations, but by paranoia, prejudice, and irrational fear of Islam and Muslims. Such irrational and emotional anti-Muslim postures can only confuse the pubic and confound the fight on terrorism with the fight on Islam, and hence plays to the hands of the anti-American pundits who thrive on the missteps, and counterproductive actions and postures, urged by Gaffney and his ilk. 

Mainstream American Muslims have already taken a principled and firm position against the senseless killings of unarmed and defenseless civilians. But their ability to succeed in drying the swamp of extremism that feeds into terrorist attacks can only succeed if the Jewish and Christian communities confront their bigots and extremists, and dry the ponds of bigotry in their midst. 

It is heartening to realize that most Americans are able to see through the militant pundits' paranoia and bigotry, as Karen Hughes has amply demonstrated when she ignored the false alarm they set off on the eve of her meeting with Muslim leaders during ISNA convention.

 

Dr. Louay M. Safi serves as the executive director of ISNA Leadership Development Center, an Indiana based organization dedicated to enhancing leadership awareness and skills among American Muslim leaders, and a founding board member of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. He writes and lectures on issues relating to Islam, American Muslims, democracy, human rights, leadership, and world peace. His commentaries are available at his Blog: http://blog.lsinsight.org


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  17 Comments   Comment

  1. Hudd d'Aelia from Canada

    Matthias you bewildered me. What kind of cacophony is this?

    "As a German I feel very worried using Nazi symbols (or symbols that Nazis misused) in a satiric or ironic way."

    I personally, and the Muslims I know, had never consider the Nazis as regular Germans. For me the 'German' Nazis were the same as the 'American' Neocons. Same dung, different pile. When I come to Germans, I count people like Beethowen, Mozart, Hegel, Goethe, Kant and all those that made our planet a better place to live. Same with American, I count in all the good people, the great contribution to the arts, science and progess in general. I really don't know how on earth an educated man like yourself ended up in taking the blame of the Nazis on the great German nation? It is exactly what the Neocons want us Muslims to do, take the blame of the terrorists on ourselves. You were duped into believing that German equaled Nazi. Otherwise why would you be affended as a German(unless you were German and Nazi) for using Nazi parapharnelia in association with the neocons?

    You said:"There is no jusitification to compare any organisation with the Nazis."

    This only if you were Jewish. Jews monopolized the Nazi holocaust for their own usage only, which in my opinion is bullshit, since alongside with Jews also, Gypsies, Russians, Poles, Ukranian and even Germans were toasted in the Nazi death resorts.

    I don't think that the symbol is offensive to anybody else but Jews. That being the case my message to you is, get over it, it happened a long time ago. Since then, several holocausts happened. Of course, since it didn't happen to the Jews, these modern times holocausts are not even mention. Try Jennin, Falujah and several others.

    Symbols are just symbols. The swastika as the Hindus see it and they were the first to use it, represents the sun and its healing and beneficient effect on life. Mr Hitler saw it differently, wouldn't the Hindus be more offended on the issue? Get a life mister Matthias!<

  2. Matthias from Germany

    I am wondering who made the logo with the eagle at the top of the article? As a German I feel very worried using Nazi symbols (or symbols that Nazis misused) in a satiric or ironic way. There is no jusitification to compare any organisation with the Nazis. this is a level in communication and informing that we should not reach. I would ask to please remove the symbol from the article. thank you!

  3. Badhmash from UK

    I've got a better idea, send Steve to Iraq. If you cant tolerate my views, thats just too bad. Cry me a river.

  4. Hudd d'Aelia from Canada

    Steve is time you went home, wherever that place might be. You are not going to claim now that you were Native American, are you? Nobody has a God-given right to be on these lands but the Native Americans. Everybody else has the same right to be here as the next man. What desert you came from that you still have the mentality of Nazi Germany? I bet you, your desert is Negev, go back there and bury your head in the sand, you took it out too early is still uncooked! ..Peace out!

  5. Faliku from USA

    It is really a funny opinion, Steve (Comment #33629). What about those Muslims who know no other country as home besides America? I'm not just talking about second- or third-generation Americans, I'm talking about Americans who faintly remember where they come from and they happen to be Muslims who disagree with some of the foreign policies of their government, where do you want them to go to, Steve? Correspondingly, where do you think people like Cindy Sheehan should go to? You sound so un-American that I am in fact beginning to wonder whether you are an American. Because America tolerates opposing views, she is right to pride herself as the greatest democracy on the surface of Planet Earth. I think we should leave it that way, Steve. America is a nation of immigrants and that fact has not changed. It is just that some immigrants came earlier than others and the earlier immigrants set rules for incoming immigrants. That's it, Steve; so get off that high horse you are riding. Thanks.

  6. Faliku Konneh from USA

    Astagfru'llah! I can't believe I left Pipes out in my last comment. He, Gaffney, and Mowbarry are all birds of feathers; so obviously they flock together. Please forgive this omission. Salam.

  7. Faliku from USA

    It should come as no surprise at all to Muslims that non-Muslims will not want to listen to them. They did it to the Prophet (SAW). The reason is very simple: Give an honest, sincere, and objective ear to a knowledgeable Muslim and you are bound to have a positive perspective on Islam. Gaffney and Mowbarry can't stomach that, because then their house of cards will come tumbling down. The disbelievers used to do everything but listen to the Prophet (SAW), because they knew that if they did, they would have a change of mind; and since they were set in their ways, the best they could do--short of killing him--was to cause sufficient distractions and disruptions. Yet the powerful Message of Almighty Allah was able to penetrate and soften the hearts of some of the stone-hearted disbelievers, especially those that half-heartedly said let us just listen to his "nonesense" (iyazu billahi)just for the fun of it. So history is just repeating itself. Ultimately Truth will prevail, Insha'llah. Assalam Alaikoom Wa Rahamatullahi Wa Barakatuho.

  8. Steve from USA

    It's really a funny opinion. Meanwhile 100 of thousands of muslims flock to US. But still do not like US policies, it's culture, it's way of life. For that matter also to Europe. If you do not like it just go back to where you came from and enjoy life there.

    Islam incompatible with teh West and cannot coinside with it.

  9. Peter from USA

    Asalaamu Alaikum,

    As an Amreican and a recent convert to Islam (I took shahada last year) I believe I have some insight to this issue: most Americans a very misinformed about Islam, the Islamic world, and the history and current activities of the US, UK, etc there.

    I'll give you an example: I took it upon myself to tell my co-workers that Muslim nations collectively gave over $600 million worth of aid to the New Orleans victims. This was far and away beyond what any so-called western power has given. Even Kosovo gave $300,000 (this touched me deeply). You know what? None of them knew. You know why? Because Muslim terrorists sell news, not Muslim philanthropists. I'm afraid that this is the tip of a very big iceberg.

    I've told many about the history of Iraq (the UK invaded there in 1923 and made promises that sound eerily similar to those being voiced today), about Iran (the deposition of Mossadegh's government in 1953 by the US), etc. When informed, I've found that many were surprised, did not know, and were much more likely to listen to reason and hear our side.

    I've seen many here comment about the biased content of Fox News, etc, but to my mind, the real problem isn't the TV stations, its all the arch-conservative AM radio shows playing all over the country. People listen to these every day as they drive to and from work, and have the illusion that, as a result, they are well-inormed about things. It's amazing, really.

    My suggestion is that we go beyond TV stations that no one here can get anyway (Al-Jazeera, etc) and start our own radio station. Radio Islam America, man, what do you say?

    Wa Laikum Salaam Jazak Allah AL-keir

    Peter

  10. saddam hussain from usa

    NO Neocon has MURDERED, SLAUGHTERED, BURIED ALIVE and RAPED more than Muslims ... ie Saddam Hussain and all the rulers of the Mid-East.

    Write the truth ... speak the truth ... don't ..twist the facts to serve your purpose!

  11. Abu Jinn from Chechnya

    I was wondering that since Allah Subhanotalah is All Knowing, All Powerful, all Seeing, Most Just, Most Kind and Most Compassionate and given the evil designs of not just the Bush/Blair/Putin team and their minions, but the overwhelmingly cruel and brutal histories of the US, UK, France, China, Russia, India and their like, how will Allah Subhanotalah maifest his wrath on these serpents ? until I saw the effect of Hurricane Katrina on TV and the other storms and weather extremes threatening the US and Europe. Then I realised that everything does his bidding including nature. In spite of all their bombs, their money, their pride at their "way of life" which no one really cares for, their stupid arrogance and racist pride , it all is absolutely nothing when Allah Subhanotalah's wrath is unleashed and his Justice is brought forth. There is hope for all oppressed. Particularly to all my Oppressed brothers and sisters, I entreat them to pray, because when the Oppressed person raises his or her hand to Allah Subhanotalah nothing stands between their prayer and Allah Subhanotalah.

  12. carri from us

    I am sorry to inform Dr. Safi but Bush is one of the neocons. His cabinet and other appointees are all part of a government backed program called the project for a new american century. They have all signed the mission statement. Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, and assorted others who are part of the Bush disasterous monarchy. Bush should not have been invited to ISNA convention, he is a very good public relations artist but could not care about the people. LOOK at Louisiana, maybe he did not need to call the troops or whatever. But his country in which he is charged with was falling apart and it took his people 2 days to figure that out.

  13. mosnoor from US

    Asalam Alaikum,

    I disagree with the opinion here. Bush is very much a neocon and that is evident in the mission statement of the project for a new american century (a government funded think tank). Everyone in his cabinet or who he has given some position to has signed the mission statement. Dont let visible bickering fool you, they decievers know exactly what they are doing and by siding with bush it is appearing that the rand corporation is winning.

  14. Farukh from usa

    Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and screeming foul, let's do something about it. Lot of Muslims devote time and money to inform us of what others are doing against us, but no one seems to want to counter the other side by indulging in activities to undermine them nor to strengthen the "muslim" position.

    It's time to take our community to the next level and indulging in activities that better explain our position rather than crying foul all the time.

  15. Syed Husain from Bangladesh

    Thank you for your report Mr. Safi. I agree to your conclusion when you said that Jewish & Christian communities must confront their own extremists.

    Muslims clerics are being thrown out of US & UK charging them with extremism views. However when it comes to Jewish & Christians extremists, no such actions are being taken.

    Anyway, I as a muslim from Bangladesh, simply do not trust anything ... whether a statement or a gesture that comes from GW Bush & his neo-con administration. They are all baloney. GW Bush is The Champion who took the anti-american feelings among muslims way beyond the Mount Everest. I do not buy it when you say he took some missteps. It was deliberate on his part. I do not think this anti-american feeling will supside soon among the muslims (the boot-licking muslim leaders excluded ... pardon my language).

    This man, GW Bush, has too much blood in his hands of his own innocent citizens as well as innocent muslims. Like Pinnochet of Chile, I would like to see this man & each & every neo-con of his administration on trial for the genocide he is commiting. It should be the demand of the American people themselves also. Only I will have respect for America as a country of freedom, democracy & justice.

  16. MOHAMMAD SYED from USA

    Thanks for speaking out the truth. The bigots have to be exposed forcefully. These bigots are doing great harm by misleading Americans-- Muslims and non-Muslims. They have made their business to lie, misrepresent, and mislead. What a miserable state of mind they possess.

    Mohammad Syed