August 02, 2007

Stifling [Robert] Spencer

CAIR, the Muslim phony civil rights group, tries to get Robert Spencer uninvited from a conservative youth conference. From Frontpage:

Just over 24 hours before a scheduled speech it is hosting by commentator and FPM columnist Robert Spencer, Young America's Foundation found something unexpected sitting in the FAX machine: a thinly veiled threat of a lawsuit if the group allowed the talk to happen as planned.

Near the end of the one-page missive is the rather unsubtle sentence: “Our clients have instructed us to pursue every available and appropriate legal remedy to redress any false and defamatory statements that are made at the session.”

Although YAF, which is the nation's largest conservative group catering to high school and college students, is used to campus leftists attempting to silence the right-wing speakers it helps sponsor, the apparent lawsuit threat likely came as a shock.

The attempted bullying, however, comes as little surprise to anyone familiar with the organization behind the move: CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

For years, CAIR has attempted to stifle debate and prevent inquiry into the domestic spread of radical Islam. Conservative columnist Cal Thomas was the latest target, when CAIR attempted to drum him out of his role as an official commentator at WTOP radio in Washington, D.C. The group was almost certainly emboldened by its success in the same city two years earlier, when it got then-Disney-owned WMAL to can talk host Michael Graham. Similar such smear campaigns are legion.

If only CAIR could muster the same contempt—or any contempt, for that matter—for Islamic terrorists.

Contrary to the letter's claim that the group “has consistently taken a principled position against terrorism and extremism,” CAIR simply has not done so. Never has CAIR condemned by name Islamic terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah. Given the opportunity to condemn Hamas by Newsweek last December, CAIR executive director and co-founder Nihad Awad refused, claiming that the question was “the game of the pro-Israel lobby.”

While CAIR incessantly hypes its 2005 fatwa against terrorism and extremism, the document intentionally avoided defining the two terms. Fundamentalist Muslims who wish harm upon the U.S. and Israel do not consider themselves “extreme.” Nor do Hezbollah and Hamas believe that they are terrorists.

This is CAIR's modus operandi: appearing to oppose terrorism, while simultaneously leading the charge against those who actually seek to thwart it.

Its approach to the lecture circuit is no different.

Spencer, who heads JihadWatch.org and is the author of the recent bestselling book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, is a top-notch scholar who backs up his work on Islam with careful and meticulous research that is founded on Islamic sources. How does this compare, in any way, to some of the characters who have headlined CAIR conferences?

CAIR's primary objection in its attempted legal blackmail is that Spencer is “a well-known purveyor of hatred and bigotry.” But how is one a "purveyor of hatred and bigotry" when all one does is reveal and demonstrate the teachings that are inherent in Islam? And if CAIR really objects to “purveyors of hatred and bigotry,” why would it feature a neo-Nazi at several of its conferences?

Speaking at various CAIR functions in New York, New Jersey, and Florida was Bill Baker, whom CAIR-NY billed as a “renowned Christian scholar.” This “renowned Christian scholar” is someone with a history of vicious anti-Semitism who in the 1980's ran the Populist Party, an organization populated by neo-Nazis and Klansmen.

But a neo-Nazi is not out of place in the CAIR universe. At a CAIR co-sponsored event in 1998 at Brooklyn College in New York, speaker Wagdy Ghuniem roused the crowd with a stirring ditty that contained the lyrics: “No to the Jews, descendants of the apes.” (Transcript provided by the Investigative Project.)

Also on the menu at CAIR functions are 9/11 conspiracy theories, not surprising since it appears that the group's leader doesn't believe that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks.

British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who suffered Stockholm Syndrome after being kidnapped by the Taliban and subsequently converted to Islam, asked at a 2003 CAIR-NY event, “Why would the Bush administration allow 9/11 to happen?” Her answer? “Because to use the war on terrorism became a useful bogus cover for achieving wider strategic geo-political objectives.” (Transcript provided by the Investigative Project.)

Stepping to the podium after Ridley's remarks was Awad, CAIR's co-founder and executive director. Rather than chastise Ridley for her claim that it was Bush, and not bin Laden, behind 9/11, Awad gave what seemed to be tacit support for her conspiracy theory: “Also, having listened to sister Yvonne, there are many theories of course about 9/11. And there are many unanswered questions, and we always ask for answers.”

Given CAIR's track record, YAF had no qualms ignoring CAIR's threats. But even with the possibility of a lawsuit, YAF would never censor a legitimate speaker; freedom of speech goes to the core of the group's values. “CAIR picked the wrong group to bully and intimidate,” notes YAF spokesman Jason Mattera.

Why is CAIR councerned with Robert Spencer -- a scholar who has dedicated himself to isolating those features of Islam that inspire Islamic terror? Shouldn't CAIR be concerned with the same thing and be thankful to Spencer? Isn't Spencer doing a tremendous service in arming Muslim reformers with the crystal-clear information they need to confront Islamic extremists? Won't reformers in this way stand a better chance at the enormously difficult challenge of modernizing and democratizing Islam?

Shouldn't CAIR be more troubled by neo-Nazis, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and Islamic terrorists?
For more on CAIR, see this collection of articles and posts. There are many very disturbing questions for us that must be answered in order for us to be able to co-exist with Muslims who hate and seethe and who want to silence non-Muslims.