Islamophobia

Rick Wiles: President Trump Would Prevent War With Russia

On “The Jim Bakker Show” on Tuesday, radio host Rick Wiles accused NATO of trying to provoke Russia into war, warning that another world war is imminent unless President Donald Trump unites the U.S. with Russia to “clobber the Muslims.”

“There’s a lot of military exercises taking place around the world,” Bakker said. “What do you think this means? Are we gearing up for a major war? Just say yes or no.”

“Yes,” Wiles responded. “Yes. Called NATO versus Russia. NATO has now put a military, a naval fleet in the Black Sea. You gotta look at a map, look at a geographical map of the Black Sea. When you see it, you understand the significance of it because it would be like Russia putting a naval fleet in the Great Lakes.”

“You wonder if the Russians are paranoid, nervous, and angry right now,” Wiles continued. “We’re pushing Russia to throw a punch, and the reason is the Western financial system is collapsing and the only way out of this thing is to start a world war and whoever survives the war is ruling the world.”

Wiles, a vocal supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that “if we had a President Trump, I think he’d probably go to Moscow and say, ‘Hey, let’s just unite and go clobber the Muslims.’”

He even made the bogus claim that the U.S. is aiding ISIS: “We are ISIS in the Middle East. ”

Rick Wiles: Buy Survival Food Before 'Demon-Possessed' Muslims Drive Us Underground

On Friday, radio host Rick Wiles appeared on “The Jim Bakker Show” to plug Bakker’s buckets of survival food by warning viewers that “demon-possessed” Muslims will soon target churches and that “a chemical gas attack” could kill tens of thousands this summer, leaving people to “stampede to buy this food” before the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA seize it.

“Muslims are not normal people, they’re demon-possessed,” Wiles said. “There’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim. There’s only backslidden Muslims. There are backslidden Muslims who aren’t reading the Quran. Once they get back into reading the Quran and becoming a practicing, devout Muslim, they become violent because Islam is a violent religion. So I don’t talk about moderate Muslims and radical Muslims, no. There’s just Muslims, and Islam has a history of blood. Everywhere it’s ever gone, bloodshed. They conquer with the sword. Name one country you would like to move to that’s dominated by Muslims. Every one of them is hell on earth. That’s what they want to bring here. They wanna conquer by the sword, they want to kill nonbelievers.”

“The churches are a target,” Wiles continued. “It’s very soon. Very soon. And, Jim, the remnant church is gonna go underground. We’re gonna meet in our homes, we’re gonna meet in secret places. You’re gonna have to discern who comes in because you’re bringing them into your home.”

Wiles, promoting Bakker’s products, told the audience that they “have very little time to buy food and supplies. Very little time. The window is going to close soon. We are one disaster from martial law. There are only four corporations in this country that produce this kind of food.”

“If there is an event this summer like a chemical gas attack where a vast amount of people are killed in the tens of thousands, the smart people will stampede to buy this food,” Wiles claimed. “The wealthy, the smart people, the people that know, ‘This is serious, I’ve gotta get all the supplies I can get.’ These four companies that produce this food will be sold out within days. The second thing you have to consider is that Homeland Security and FEMA either purchase all of it or seize it.”

John Guandolo: Black Lives Matter Working 'In Conjunction' With 'Jihadis'

On Saturday, disgraced former FBI agent John Guandolo joined Greg Corombos on his conservative WorldNetDaily show, where he claimed that Muslim “jihadis” will soon stage “multiple operations in conjunction with the Marxist and socialist groups like Black Lives Matter,” a group he holds responsible for “burning and looting cities.”

Guandolo claimed that under Islam’s Sharia law, Omar Mateen’s murder of 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando was lawful. He warned that “the global Islamic movement says that it’s gonna begin its turn from its total focus on the Islamic world where it is seeking to impose Sharia Islamic law on the Muslim world first, and then on the non-Muslim world, and that turn is gonna begin this year, potentially into early 2017 but likely before the end of this year.”

Guandolo said that once Sharia law is imposed worldwide, “instead of a couple people in San Bernardino, several people in Brussels, and a lone shooter in Orlando, you’re gonna have dozens of jihadis doing multiple operations in conjunction with the Marxist and socialist groups like Black Lives Matter, which will be, you know, burning and looting cities like they did in Ferguson and Baltimore. And if those events are precipitated, which they likely will be, from a cyber attack, power grid attack where power is lost in several states, or something similar to that, then it’s gonna be truly much, much more horrific.”

John Zmirak: 'Maybe Muslim Immigration Needs To Be Treated The Same Way The Confederate Flag Was'

John Zmirak of conservative news outlet The Stream joined radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh on his show on Tuesday, where he claimed the White House follows “an action plan” to fault the Christian Right for all acts of terrorism and that “Muslim immigration needs to be treated the same way the Confederate flag was” after Charleston’s race-motivated mass shooting in 2015.

“The left never believes in wasting a crisis, so I’m sure that there’s just a go-to plan, regardless — there’s probably like an action plan in the White House for terrorist events like this,” Zmirak said.

Referring to the recent massacre in Orlando, Zmirak said, “If the shooter is a white Christian male Republican, do this, and if he’s — and the worst case scenario, this is the worst case scenario for the White House: this is a registered Democrat Muslim who was born here shooting up a gay bar, and even so, they manage to make it something against the Christian Right.”

Zmirak claimed that even if the Orlando shooter “shot up a church, they would still somehow make this the Christian Right’s fault.”

Zmirak agreed with Walsh’s claim that Democrats wrongfully blamed the Confederate flag for the Charleston shooting and faulted liberals for not targeting Muslims after Orlando’s shooting.

“What’s interesting is they brought an imam the day after this attack, you know, the local government had an imam give a speech, you know, they didn’t do that with the Ku Klux Klan in Charleston, they didn’t bring him in to ask people to remain calm,” Zmirak said. “It’s the same sick ideology of radical Islam behind this killing and behind the killing in Charleston. Maybe the way Confederate flags disappeared across America, maybe mosques need to start being watched, maybe Muslim immigration needs to be treated the same way the Confederate flag was.”

Zmirak continued, “The problem is, once they’re here, they have a First Amendment right, so we need to not let them in because foreigners don’t have constitutional rights, First Amendment or Second Amendment … Once they’re here, we have to protect their constitutional rights, so don’t let more of them in.”

Savage: Obama Planting Potential Terrorists In Republican Neighborhoods

On his show Tuesday, conservative radio host Michael Savage accused “psychopath” President Obama of “bringing in an army” of unscreened Syrian male refugees, claiming that the president has “allowed one massacre after another” and is seeking to settle Muslim refugees “into Republican neighborhoods in America.”

By not calling terrorist attacks like the recent massacre in Orlando acts of “radical Islam,” Savage claimed, Obama has “allowed one massacre after another.”

“So once again, the psychopath in the White House — and, by the way, if you hear his voice, you can hear a very insecure, almost sweatingly angry, defensive president for one of the first times I’ve heard in years, because he knows why he’s not using the phrase ‘radical Islam’ or whatever, and I will answer the question very simply for the president since none of his advisers seem to be able to do it, which is that it would define the enemy,” Savage said.

Savage continued, “In World War II, had they not defined the Nazis as Nazis, what would they be? Just Germans with guns? Germans with weird insignias on their arm? Germans who like to sing The Horst Wessel Song? Radical German nationals? And let’s not call them Nazis because we may offend the German people?”

Savage then called Obama an “idiot” and claimed that “eight Islamic terrorist attacks could’ve been prevented under this genius in the White House.”

Equating refugees with terrorists, Savage criticized “Obomber” for supporting the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

“He’s gonna override the American people, he’s gonna override Congress because he is God,” Savage said. “10,000 Syrian refugees will be flooding into America, and why? They haven’t been screened. There is no screening whatsoever. They’re lying to you. And most of them, by the way, are military-aged men without wives or children. He’s bringing in an army.”

Savage hinted at an Obama conspiracy against Americans involving resettling Muslim refugees in Republican neighborhoods. “Well, let’s say there’s a reason for it, and that is he wants to squeeze the last drop of change that he can out of his tenure as the dictator-in-chief,” Savage said.

Similarly, on his Monday program, Savage suggested that Obama is a “deep-seated mole” and that “many people are questioning his motives” for not uttering the words “radical Islam.”

He also called the Obama administration “a foreign power [that] has occupied America” and blamed Obama for the massacre in Orlando.

“Barry Obama does not represent American patriots, he represents a foreign ideology, and that is why this happened in Orlando the other night,” Savage said. “It happened because this cockroach had been investigated by the FBI, but because of Barry’s crazy edicts, the FBI had to let the cockroach go.”

Perkins: Obama Fosters Environment For Terrorism In America

On his radio show Monday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that President Obama “fostered this environment” in which terrorist attacks like the recent mass shooting in Orlando can occur by “promoting Islam” and marking Ramadan.

Perkins criticized Obama’s reaction to acts of terrorism in the U.S., saying he “immediately goes to this call for gun control and it’s like he — I don’t know if he’s oblivious to it or he thinks everybody else is and that we won’t remember that he’s the one that celebrated Ramadan in the White House, been promoting Islam on his world apology tour for America, and so on and so forth. I mean, it’s hacking Christianity while promoting the Islamic faith. I mean, where does it stop?”

Perkins claimed Obama has been “promoting” Islam throughout his eight years in office. He said Islam is “more than a religion. It’s an ideology, it’s a political ideology. It’s a military ideology that — look what it’s done. It’s left people dead on our streets and the president needs to be called out for it. The president has fostered this environment.”

John Guandolo: Democrats Defend Terrorists, Paved The Way For Orlando Massacre

Disgraced former FBI agent John Guandolo joined Charlottesville radio host Rob Schilling on Monday to discuss the massacre in Orlando, which Guandolo said was the result of Democrats — who he said “feign shock” when such massacres occur — “paving the way for these jihadis.” Guandolo claimed that Democrats have defended “Al Qaeda terrorists” since 9/11 and are currently bringing “tens of thousands of jihadis” into the U.S. as refugees.

The Democratic Party, he said, “calls for gun control, it attacks patriots who speak the truth, and it defends known jihadis. There’s now a 15-year history since 9/11 of the Democratic Party, you know, defending Abdurahman Alamoudi, defending Anwar al-Awlaki, defending all these people who turn out to be terrorists and in some cases Al Qaeda terrorists. They’re letting known Al Qaeda fighters go free from Guantanamo Bay, they support that.”

“They support the public chastising of local police and taking away their powers and condemning them and putting them back on their heels, and then they’re shocked or they feign shock when something like what happens in Orlando happens,” Guandolo said. “They’re reducing the combat effectiveness of our Army and Marine Corps, specifically the Navy is in dire straits, our nuclear capability has been reduced, they call for a weakening of an already-weak immigration system and our borders and, of course, we’re being flooded with tens of thousands of jihadis right now through the refugee resettlement program.”

Gaffney: Black Lives Matter-Liberal-Islamist 'Axis Of Evil' Working Together To Destroy America

Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy and a former adviser to Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, joined conservative radio host Greg Garrison on his show on Friday to discuss recent anti-Trump protests. Gaffney argued that Black Lives Matter, “Occupy types,” liberals and “Islamic supremacists” form an “axis of evil” and that they oppose “the rule of law,” “our government,” “our Constitution” and “freedom more generally.”

Gaffney claimed that supporters of liberal investor George Soros collaborate with Muslims for such protests, saying, “The Soros crowd has been working hand-in-glove with the Islamists for years funding some of their operations, certainly making common cause with them for the purpose of, well, the larger Soros agenda, as well as that of the Islamic supremacists destroying this country.”

He continued, “One of the things that has come to light is that this axis of evil, if you wish, of the Black Lives Matter, you know, victimhood agitators, the Occupy types, assorted other hard-left groups, ANSWER Coalition and the like, and the Islamists, is very much operating these days.”

“This is very much tied into a strain of hostility to the rule of law and to our government and to our Constitution and to freedom more generally, that is, despite their many differences, the shared purpose of Islamic supremacists on the one hand and the hard-left on the other,” Gaffney said.
 

 

PFAW Launches Video Campaign to Combat Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Today, People For the American Way (PFAW) launched a video campaign to combat anti-Muslim bigotry. Given the disturbing anti-Islam rhetoric from Republican presidential candidates and the rise of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States, PFAW calls on all Americans to take a pledge to speak out against Islamophobia whenever they hear it.

Playing off of the "see something, say something" slogan, the video released today states, "Don't just be against bigotry. Take a stand against it. No matter when, no matter where. If you see something, say something." The campaign also calls on all Americans to add their name to this important pledge: "I pledge that when I see anti-Muslim bigotry I’ll call it out and make clear that religious discrimination has never been the American Way."

"Attacks based on a person's faith should never be tolerated in America, no matter if it's coming from presidential candidates, coworkers, or friends," said People For the American Way President Michael Keegan. "Anti-Islam bigotry doesn't just fly in the face of fundamental American values, it leads to real violence against Muslim Americans and immigrants. Every one of us has a responsibility to speak up against bigotry, and our campaign calls on Americans to pledge to do just that."

Watch the video:

The campaign website can be viewed here: https://standagainstbigotry.com/

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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PFAW, CODEPINK and Allies Speak Out Against Trump

Donald Trump has established himself as the candidate of hatred and bigotry, and he's dragging the rest of the party along with him. Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric has become the norm in the GOP presidential debates, as Trump's policy proposals become more absurdly racist and xenophobic -- like a ban on allowing any Muslims to enter the United States.

In the face of this, the progressive movement is standing up for what's right. Over 30,000 PFAW members have already pledged to stand strongly against fascist policies that restrict our basic rights, like the ones Trump has built his campaign on. And our allies at CODEPINK are leading the #StopHateDumpTrump campaign, calling on Americans of all political affiliations to speak out in every way possible against political fear-mongering.

Together, we are pledging to take action in the face of hatred and bigotry that stand in stark contrast to our fundamental American values. 

PFAW

Republican Presidential Candidates: End Your Campaigns of Hate

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

It seems there's no end to the Republican presidential candidates' campaigns of hate. As showcased by last week's Republican debate, their deeply-troubling rhetoric on immigrants and Muslims has become a standard talking point. It's impossible to turn on the TV without hearing the newest iteration of the candidates' hateful stances.

Sitting through last week's debate was nothing short of painful. Donald Trump doubled down on his commitment to ban Muslims from entering the United States. All the candidates were united in their anti-refugee stances.

Of course, it's not just debates where the Republican candidates spew their xenophobia. Their anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies are flooding the airwaves. The ad Donald Trump released recently is focused on banning Muslims from entering the U.S. and paints immigrants as a danger to national security. Trump's fellow Republican contenders have been mirroring his language. As Marco Rubio campaigns throughout the country, he's repeating the talking point he used in the last debate, that all immigrants and refugees pose a terrorist threat to America. He also has gone so far as to accuse President Obama, our Commander in Chief, of having "deliberately weakened America." Ted Cruz, for his part, is trying to out-Trump Trump. He too released a new TV ad that falsely portrays immigrants as taking jobs and draining the U.S. economy and he'sproposing not only that the US should not accept any Syrian refugees, but that we should expel refugees who are already here.

That's not the American way. As President Obama said at the State of the Union: "We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn't a matter of political correctness. It's a matter of understanding what makes us strong."

It's time for the Republican candidates to end their campaigns of hate. The bigoted rhetoric and policy positions we're hearing from these candidates go against core American values. They don't merit discussion at the kitchen table, and they certainly don't merit discussion at a debate for those aspiring to the nation's highest office.

Sadly, I'm not holding my breath for Republicans to stop vilifying Muslims or immigrants.

As the Republican presidential candidates continue their attacks, it's critical that ordinary Americans stand up for the values we know are right. The message we heard from President Obama during the State of the Union, his call to embrace diversity and our history as a nation that welcomes immigrants and refugees, is rooted in our country's deepest principles, and no matter what happens in the GOP primary, that's the message we need to carry forward.

PFAW

Religious Right: Bible Dictates Laws & Economic Policy But Islam Not a Religion Because It Is A Political & Economic System

Donald Trump’s call to bar all Muslims from entering the country was widely recognized as an appeal for explicit religious discrimination and generated significant pushback.  But many of Trump’s right-wing defenders have turned to an argument that has long bounced around Religious Right circles: that Muslims are not entitled to the religious liberty protections of the First Amendment because Islam is somehow not a religion. A few years ago, for example, retired Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin called Islam “a totalitarian way of life” that “should not be protected under the First Amendment.”

At this week’s Republican presidential debate, Rick Santorum explained why he believes Islam is not protected under the First Amendment, an argument made repeatedly by the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Here’s Santorum:

The fact of the matter is, Islam is different. I know this is going to come as a shock to a lot of people, and I mean this sincerely. Islam is not just a religion. It is also a political governing structure. The fact of the matter is, Islam is a religion, but it is also Sharia law, it is also a civil government, it is also a form of government. And, so, the idea that that is protected under the First Amendment is wrong.

Conservative columnist and radio host Andrew McCarthy has similarly defended Trump’s comments, saying that Islam is not merely a religion because it “has ambitions to be more than a religion, that is to say that it is an ideological, sweeping system that does not recognize a division between spiritual life on the one hand and political and civic life on the other.”

Back in September, Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins defended similar comments by Ben Carson:

“Religious freedom and our liberty is ordered liberty under the Constitution,” Perkins said. “And as Dr. Caron pointed out, and I know this is driving the left crazy, that Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution. That’s what Dr. Carson said and he happens to be correct.”

More recently, Perkins defended Trump with a dubiously specific statistic, saying that “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion — the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic and political system.” Televangelist Pat Robertson also said this month that people should not view Islam as a religion but rather a “political system masquerading as a religion.”

Wait a minute. Aren’t these the same people who repeatedly insist that the Bible is the final authority on everything, from laws regulating personal relationships to economic and tax policy, and environmental protection? Anti-marriage-equality activists have insisted that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was in violation of “God’s law” and therefore “illegitimate.” 

David Barton, an oft-discredited “historian” and Republican Party activist who is currently heading up a Ted Cruz super PAC, argues that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, any progressive form of taxation and even net neutrality. He says the Constitution came right out of the Bible. If you applied Tony Perkins’ calculations to David Barton’s Bible, what percentage would come up as religion?

Many Religious Right leaders have embraced Seven Mountains dominionism, which is grounded in the belief that the right kind of Bible-believing Christians are meant to control all the important spheres of culture, including government, business, education, and entertainment. For example, the American Pastors Network’s Sam Rohrer says this:

Government leaders are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Justice, promoting God’s moral law as the foundation of right and wrong, encouraging those who do well biblically, and executing judgment on those who break the law.

Along those lines, three Republican presidential candidates, including current Iowa frontrunner Ted Cruz, recently joined a “religious freedom” rally organized by a pastor who argues that the Bible requires the government to execute gay people.

And don’t forget David Lane, whose American Renewal Project is mobilizing conservative pastors to get more involved in politics — and who argues that America was founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, and that the Bible should be a primary textbook in public schools.

So, a thought for Religious Right leaders: If you are going to argue for stripping Muslims of their First Amendment religious liberty protections based on your interpretation of Islam as an enterprise that is more political and ideological than religious, you may have to trim your own political sails quite a bit. Either that, or quit pretending you are proponents of religious freedom, and admit that you, like Bryan Fischer, believe the First Amendment applies only to Christians, or, like Tony Perkins, that gay-supporting Christians don’t deserve the same legal protections because a “true religious freedom” has to “come forth from religious orthodoxy.” Just don’t try to pretend your definition of “religious freedom” owes anything to Thomas Jefferson or the First Amendment. 

Republicans Created Trump; They Must Stand Up To Him

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Donald Trump made one of the most stunning political statements in recent memory yesterday when he called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." 

Campaign spokespeople quickly clarified that Trump was referring not only to a blanket ban on Muslim immigrants, but also to preventing Muslims from coming to the U.S. as tourists and possibly even preventing American citizens who are traveling or living abroad from returning home. (He generously made an exception for Muslim members of the military.)

Trump continues to be the frontrunner in the Republican presidential primary. It's time for party officials to reckon with what they have created.

Trump is the product of a party that has for decades thrived on stirring up fears of a scary "other" -- from the Southern Strategy to Willie Horton to the persistent rumors that President Obama is a secret Muslim or Kenyan or both. The Republican establishment has for years tolerated its candidates rubbing shoulders with the most extreme elements of its base, whether it's the white nationalists who have spoken at CPAC or the parade of extremists at each year's Values Voter Summit. 

But there are certain things leading Republicans have largely been careful not to say out loud. Until now.

Trump, building off the Right's campaign to paint undocumented immigrants as dangerous invaders, launched his campaign by announcing that Mexican immigrants were rapists, drug dealers and other criminals. Then, when the news cycle shifted, he shifted his bigotry. He has spent the last several weeks repeating the objectively untrue claim that "thousands and thousands" of Muslim Americans in New Jersey took to the streets to celebrate the 9/11 attacks. He suggested shutting down some mosques and refused to rule out the possibility of a national database of American Muslims

Trump's relentless stream of bigotry isn't turning away the far-right base of the GOP. Instead, he remains at the top of Republican presidential polls. 

It's not enough for Trump's rivals and the party's leadership to say they disagree with his absurd plan to bar Muslims from the country. They must reckon with what their party has become and, if they don't like it, speak out forcefully on behalf of the American values of freedom, liberty and pluralism. It's not enough for them to reject one outrageous plan. They must speak out against bigotry and prejudice. And they must make clear that even if Trump were to become the party's nominee, he would be on his own.

The Republican Party created Trump. Now it's time for them to take responsibility and, if they don't like what Trump is saying, take a strong stand for what is right.

PFAW

CBN's David Brody Urges Trump To Go All In With Attack On Islam, Quran

We have been critical of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody for his fawning coverage of right-wing political figures and for acting as publicity agent for Christian-nation activist David Lane.  Turns out Brody was just warming up.

Yesterday, CBN's David Brody tweeted his admiration for Donald Trump’s “bravery” — later amended to “guts” and “moxie” — for arguing that the U.S. should stop all Muslims from entering  the country. And today, Brody takes his Trump promotion to a whole new level, setting aside his battered “journalism” hat and offering Trump advice on campaign strategy.

Brody taking a turn as a Trump political operative is less surprising than the content of his advice. Brody suggests — actually it’s more like pleading — that Trump turn his political campaign into a theological attack on Islam and its Holy Scripture, saying that “if Trump is going to come out with a statement like he did about all Muslims, then he might as well go for the whole enchilada, which is explaining the underlying theological problems with Islam and the Quran.”

Brody says Trump has “a real opening” to show leadership and “shed light in this area” the way he has on immigration.

And when it comes to evangelicals, Trump has a real opportunity here to thoughtfully delve into the taboo issues of what is in the Quran: that is, Sharia Law and Jihad. But it can’t be just shock value on stage. It can't be just for huge applause lines. To resonate with evangelicals, it will have to be deeper than that. He can forge a deeper connection with evangelicals if he’ll have the courage to be a truth-teller on the core issue, which lies in the teachings of the Quran. If he makes it about just banning Muslims into America then that is shortsighted and he will lose politically. But if he turns this into a movement to get Islamic leaders to denounce Sharia and Jihad (concepts that are in their own book) and moves the ball down the field in that regard, then he’ll resonate with evangelicals on this issue.

But Brody makes it clear that Muslims are not the real audience:

I'm not saying Islamic leaders will be listening to Trump on this because of his past statements but evangelicals are listening and they want to hear the unvarnished truth about the concerns regarding Islam spoken without a filter. Trump has no problem speaking without a filter, that's for sure.

The separation of church and state, which protects religious liberty in America, has taken plenty of hits from the Religious Right in recent decades. And we already know that Trump cares nothing for respectful pluralism or public discourse. That may be why it seems so shocking that Brody is urging Trump to ramp up his already rank religious bigotry. Brody’s call to turn our already divisive political climate into an explicit Holy War is an idea whose awful, terrible, badness cannot be overstated.

PFAW Statement on Trump’s Proposed Muslim Immigration Ban

WASHINGTON – Yesterday GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” after previously saying the country should consider closing mosques and establishing a database to track Muslims in the U.S.

People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“Trump’s reckless anti-Muslim bigotry has reached a new low. Shutting out a whole group of people because of their religion sounds a lot more like fascism than like a legitimate policy proposal. It’s despicable, and it’s the opposite of what our country’s values are all about.

“And it’s not just Trump. From Ben Carson’s remarks that he would not support a Muslim president to Ted Cruz’s proposal to welcome Christian refugees – but not Muslim refugees – fleeing violence in Syria, GOP presidential candidates seem increasingly comfortable with overt anti-Muslim sentiment.

“People of all religious backgrounds deserve to feel safe and welcome in our country, one that was founded on the idea of religious freedom. Instead, what we’re seeing so far this election is a GOP field fighting to prove they are the most anti-Muslim candidate. Even for the Tea Party driven GOP, it’s disgraceful and dangerous.”

People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch monitors and documents the activities of the right-wing movement. For coverage of Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric and the ongoing work of right-wing anti-Muslim organizations, please visit www.rightwingwatch.org.

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Muslim Student Arrested For Making A Clock Lives In Hotbed Of Sharia Panic

Earlier this week, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed of Irving, Texas, brought a digital clock he made from a pencil case to his school. He brought the clock to show off to his teachers, but instead of receiving encouragement, Mohamed’s school day ended in handcuffs and with the threat of being charged with making a “hoax bomb.” While many have condemned the actions of the school officials and law enforcement, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne has come out in defense of the decision to arrest the teenage boy.

In a Facebook post today, Van Duyne wrote, “I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. . . We have all seen terrible and violent acts committed in schools, the workplace, and in public venues. Perhaps some of those could have been prevented and lives could have been spared if people were more vigilant. I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.” The mayor later edited her post to remove the latter three sentences and replaced them with a message encouraging Mohamed to not be dissuaded from pursuing engineering dreams.

Van Duyne came under fire earlier this year after she publicly condemned a rumored “Islamic Sharia court” in Irving. Van Duyne claimed the non-existent Sharia court was set up by Muslims trying to gain a foothold in America to “bypass” American courts. In another Facebook post, Van Duyne wrote, “I am working with our State Representatives on legislation to clarify and strengthen existing prohibitions on the application of foreign law in violation of constitutional or statutory rights. . . Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own.” The “court” that Van Duyne referred to is, in reality, simply a dispute resolution process, similar to systems set up by Christians and Jews, and does not attempt to take precedent over the law.

Nonetheless, in a move backed by Glenn Beck and Frank Gaffney, Van Duyne convinced the Irving City Council to support legislation to ban the nonexistent problem of Sharia law in Texas. Zia Sheikh, imam at the Islamic Center of Irving, asserted that the mayor’s statements fueled “anti-Islamic hysteria.” This hysteria has found a home in the Republican Party, where presidential candidates like Ted Cruz insist that Sharia law is making inroads in the U.S. and failed U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle said that the city of Frankford, Texas, is under the thumb of Sharia. (As CNN pointed out, Dallas annexed Frankford back in 1975 and “all that remains is a church and cemetery,” not exactly a hotbed of Islamic radicalism.)

While the Texas bill did not pass, the recent incident involving Mohamed proves that anti-Muslim panic encouraged by people like Van Duyne still thrives in Irving.

Pamela Geller Is Not a Hero, But...

This piece was originally published in The Huffington Post.

I am grateful to live in a country where even someone as hateful as Pamela Geller can speak her mind. She can smear President Obama as the "jihadist in the White House" and speculate that he "choked up" with tears when he ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden. She can say that Pope Francis' call for "affection and respect" towards Muslims means he has "become an imam." She can compare Jewish Americans who support President Obama to Nazi appeasers and call comedian Jon Stewart "the most disgusting Jew on the planet." She can suggest banning Muslims from becoming airline pilots. She can then claim that anyone who doesn't want to hear her speak is "enforcing the Sharia."

I am also grateful to live in a country where the law protects Geller's right to say these things.

Sunday's incident, in which two gunmen tried to attack an anti-Islam event that Geller and virulently anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders hosted in Texas, was deeply troubling. Our freedom of speech means nothing if people are too afraid to speak. We saw this in a different context earlier this year when Sony pulled a raunchy geopolitical buddy comedy from theaters under threat of terror attacks. Say what you will about Pamela Geller, she has not backed down from any of her vile positions under fear of violence.

But it's important to remember that the fact that she was attacked for her speech doesn't make Geller a hero, or her speech any less hateful. As Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall put it yesterday, "a hate group is a hate group the day after someone takes a shot at them just like it was the day before."

Local Muslim groups had the right idea when they stayed away from Geller's event,declining to protest so that they wouldn't give Geller the attention she so desperately wanted. Those who expose her hateful rhetoric -- like my PFAW colleagues -- also do important work, making sure the public knows that just because she is targeted by violent idiots doesn't make her a serious thinker or a hero.

I know that Geller won't back down from her hateful rhetoric after this event-- in fact, the attempted attack will probably embolden her and cause some to take her more seriously. And we shouldn't stop criticizing Geller -- or, as she puts it, "enforcing the Sharia" -- when she's wrong.

As People For the American Way wrote in 2009 in response to a renewed spate of inflammatory right-wing rhetoric, Americans must "be willing to use their First Amendment freedoms to challenge those who exploit their political positions or media megaphones to promote lies that are intended to inflame rather than inform, that encourage paranoia rather than participation, and whose consequences are at best divisive and at worst, violently destructive."

PFAW

Ted Cruz's Weekend Plans: Puppy Bombs, Islamophobia, Junk History & Glenn Beck

Sen. Ted Cruz has a busy weekend planned. Not only is he confirmed to headline a Texas conference for state legislators hosted by fake historian David Barton, he is also confirmed to speak at a conference of anti-Muslim activists and right-wing muckrakers in Florida hosted by leading Islamophobe David Horowitz .

Warren Throckmorton reports that Cruz is scheduled to speak at David Barton’s “ProFamily Legislators Conference” along with effusive conspiracy thoerist Glenn Beck, master voter suppressor and now Family Research Council bigwig Ken Blackwell, FRC vice president and radical anti-Islam activist General Jerry Boykin, and anti-gay, anti-Islam activist Rabbi Daniel Lapin. But perhaps the most questions for Cruz should come around accepting an invitation from Barton, who routinely pushes junk science and history and who just this week found himself in hot water among conservatives for telling veterans that it’s unbiblical to have PTSD.

Cruz is also set to join Rep. Louie Gohmert at “David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend,” along with Horowitz’s fellow anti-Islam activists Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Erick Stakelbeck and Daniel Pipes; right-wing pundits Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro; “voter fraud” truther Catherine Engelbrecht ; erstwhile Christian Coalition leader and Jack Abramoff pal Ralph Reed; prankster/martyr James O’Keefe; and rising right-wing star Dr. Ben Carson.

Previous “restoration weekends” have similarly allowed sitting members of Congress – including Sen. Jeff Sessions, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Steve King and Rep. Michelle Bachmann -- to mingle with anti-Islam leaders inluding Geert Wilders, Frank Gaffney, Andrew McCarthy and Pastor John Hagee.

While Horowitz’s summit includes a wide variety of far-right activists, its real star power comes from its Islamophobe coalition.

Horowitz himself has built his career on tying American progressives and mainstream Muslims to radical Islam. He's the editor of FrontPage magazine and has reportedly funded Robert Spencer's JihadWatch website. Horowitz was a leader of the smear campaign against former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who anti-Islam activists accused of being a Muslim Brotherhood agent sent to "penetrate" the US government . Horowitz alleged that Abedin, who is married to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, was a "Muslim Brotherhood operative" and "been given a special dispensation to marry a Jew so she can infiltrate our government.” He has also accused anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, whose wife is Muslim, of secretly practicing Islam and leading a Muslim Brotherhood "infiltration" of the Republican Party, and believes that teachers' unions are pushing an “infiltration of Islamic Jihadist doctrines” in the public schools.

Geller is also one of the most vocal figures on the anti-Muslim right. It was Geller who dreamed up and drove the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy in the summer of 2010. Like Horowitz, Geller sees Islamist infiltration wherever she looks, including theWhite House, public schools, the media, and even the Conservative Political Action Committee (thanks, of course to Norquist). Geller frequently suggests that President Obama is secretly Muslim and has even theorized that the president is the love child of Malcolm X.

Geller even attempted to justify Anders Breivik’s massacre at a Norwegian summer camp (which she initially, of course, blamed on Muslims), writing that the victims would have become “future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole.” Breivik had extensively cited Geller’s work in his anti-Islam manifesto.

Spencer is another one of the anti-Muslim movement’s leading lights, and also sees sneaking radical Islam in in the “Sharia-compliant” CPAC , the Obama administration,the media, TLC reality shows and progressives, whom he argues are “in league with Islamic supremacists” because of their shared dislike of America and western civilization.

To give you an idea of just how willing Spencer and Geller are to run with any anti-Muslim conspiracy theory, no matter how ridiculous, this month both gleefully picked up a story from New York’s local CBS station that alleged that members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were dipping puppies in gasoline and lighting them on fire in order to make puppy bombs. CBS quickly retracted the story, which was sourced to a Facebook message. But the story so perfectly fit Geller and Spencer’s hysterical anti-Muslim narrative that neither has updated their blog post.

We hope that Cruz at least won’t fall for the puppy bombs story. It’s sad enough to ruin what could have been great weekend.

Ted Cruz, Archbishop Lori Will Address FRC's 'Watchmen' Pastors

The Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference is an annual gathering for pastors and other church leaders to hear from a panoply of right-wing speakers and get motivated to “transform America.” Our coverage of last year’s event highlights speakers’ attacks on evolution, secularism, Islam, LGBT people, and other tools of Satan.

This year’s conference, which takes place in Washington DC May 22-24, has been promoted by FRC for months.  In April, FRC sent an excited alert that Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party and Religious Right favorite who is reportedly mulling a 2016 presidential bid, had confirmed.

Based on other confirmed speakers, it seems likely that there will be two major themes to this year’s gathering: 1) religious liberty in America is under attack by Obama and his gay allies; and 2) only the church – led by uncompromising fired up pastors – can save freedom and America.

A notable addition to the cast of conservative evangelicals is William Lori, Archbishop of the Diocese of Baltimore and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. Lori has led the bishops’ attack on the Obama administration’s proposed regulations requiring insurance coverage of contraception.  Lori, who believes that “aggressive secularity” is “becoming the established ‘religion’ in our country today,” will be right at home with his friends at the Family Research Council. A typical FRC Action mailing from Tony Perkins earlier this year said President Obama is out to “crush freedom.” The same letter warns about “death panels” under Obamacare, which Perkins calls “the tip of the tyranny-iceberg.”

Also entertaining the Watchmen will be Rep. James Lankford, who earlier this year blamed gun violence on “welfare moms” overmedicating their kids with psychiatric drugs because they “want to get additional benefits.”  At FRC’s Values Voter Summit in September, Lankford said of the dispute over contraception coverage, “this is not a war on women, this is a war on people of faith.” 

Also confirmed is Ergun Caner, who lost his position at Liberty University after Muslim and Christian bloggers, and then journalists, began to expose the falsehoods in the Jihadi-to-Jesus life story that Caner had used to make a name for himself in the post-9/11 evangelical universe. Caner will probably echo his remarks at the 2009 Values Voter Summit, where his message to Christians who were not being outspoken enough on the issues of the day: “You need to preach, teach, and reach, or just shut up and get out of our way.”

Anti-gay activist Harry Jackson is quick to invoke Satan and other demonic powers as the forces behind the gay rights movement, which he portrays as an enemy of religious freedom. He has charged that a “radical” gay element is trying to “close down every church in America.” In fact, one of his columns was titled,” Why do Gays Hate Religious Freedom?”  Jackson’s apocalyptic anti-Obama rhetoric did not convince many Black Christians to vote against Obama, but Jackson thinks they’ll be sorry. God, he says, will “take out” those who chose “race over grace.” Jackson is a long-time FRC ally; he and Perkins co-authored Personal Faith, Public Policy, which calls Supreme Court rulings on church-state issues “assaults” on Christianity.

Jim Garlow, a California pastor who led church backing for Prop 8 in California and was then tapped by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, had warned before the election that an Obama reelection would destroy the country.  During an FRC post-election special Garlow said that Christians should expect massive persecution from the government.  At last year’s Watchmen on the Wall conference, Garlow spoke at a press conference attacking President Obama’s use of religious language to describe his support for marriage equality. Evoking the words of a colonial preacher, Garlow said, “if necessary, here we die.” In an FRC DVD promoting Watchmen on the Wall, Garlow says an FRC-produced video was crucial to the Prop 8 win.

Richard Land is retiring in October after 25 years as head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty commission; he was dogged by controversy during the past year over plagiarism charges and racially inflammatory remarks he made regarding the Trayvon Martin killing.  Land has charged that the only reason the Obama administration proposed regulations on contraception coverage was to "set the precedent of ramming this down our throats and forcing us to surrender our First amendment freedom of religion." Land says God will unleash judgment on America for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Watchmen will also hear from Jacob Aranza, whose 1983 book Backward Masking Unmasked warned that rock music was encoded with satanic messages that would entice teens into drug use and abnormal sexual behavior. Aranza says he burned “hundreds of thousands” of albums in those days. More recently, Aranza was an endorser of Rick Perry’s “Awakening” and participated in Religious Right strategy sessions convened by James Robison to try to prevent Obama’s re-election. In 2011, Aranza and Perkins appeared together on Robison’s television show, and Aranza gushed about Perkin’s work to mobilize pastors:

Tony Perkins is one of the great heroes in America today. He is a hero because it is unseen. He is uniting and equipping the most important people in America, and that's the pastors in America. If the local church is the hope of the world then pastors are the hope of the local church. Tony Perkins exists to encourage them and to equip them and to empower them. He's taking regular pastors -- the average church in America, James, as you know is less than 200 people; 80% of the churches in America are 200 or less -- and he is taking men like that and he is turning them into absolute heroes, just like pastors in Maine who are literally changing the moral fiber of an entire state because he has equipped them and empowered them and told them they're the people that are supposed to be the hedge of builders, and he is encouraging them to do just that.…I believe that as you speak you are literally trumpeting a sound that is encouraging pastors across America and families across America that are Christians to unite together to see God once again bring spiritual awakening to our nation.

JC Church is one of FRC’s pastor leaders “networking churches in Ohio to answer the call on moral issues.”  His 3 Cord Alliance, which is affiliated with FRC, teaches pastors “how to bring sound scripturally based influence and change to your community.” Church has been praised by Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values: “I believe that if all the pastors in Ohio were like Pastor Church, we would have an army that Satan could not stop. He understands that America is led by the pulpit and we count on him to unite fellow pastors and their congregations to be the salt and light we so desperately need in the world today.”

Jack Hibbs is a California-based preacher who also pushed Prop 8; in 2011 he helped lead an unsuccessful effort to overturn the state’s SB 48, which he charged would lead to public schools indoctrinating students.  In a video urging pastors to get involved, he said it is not enough to teach and preach the word of God, pastors needed to be “culture changers for Christ.” Leading into the 2012 election Hibbs was outspoken about the fact that Christians should vote for Romney over Obama. In a radio show the day after the 2012 elections, He says he was on the phone with Tony Perkins on election night and they had both believed that the outcome was up to the church: “The answer wouldn’t be determined in the White House or the statehouse….the answer for righteousness or unrighteousness, for light or for darkness, for liberty or tyranny, would be decided by the pastors.” Given the way things turned out, Hibbs says “I believe the responsibility, the outcome, and the fallout falls into the hands of the pulpits of America’s pastors who did not speak up….” Hibbs also echoes Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remarks: “those who are looking for handouts, they don’t want to work, they want the government to give things to them, overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama.” Hibbs said he was disappointed but not discouraged, because “God’s on the throne” and therefore “God has appointed him to be our president for God’s purposes – OK that means God has got some pretty gnarly purposes coming for America.”

There’s a special role at the conference for FRC’s executive vice president, retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin.  Boykin retired from the military after being reprimanded by then-President Bush for making speeches depicting the war on terrorism as a Christian holy war against Islam. FRC hired Boykin last year after he was disinvited from speaking at West Point after faculty and cadets objected.  Boykin and his Religious Right allies portrayed his mythical martyrdom as an attack on freedom of speech and religion. At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Boykin invoked Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler in denouncing what he said is an effort to move Americans away from belief in a sovereign God.  He says everything President Obama is doing is right out of the” Communist Manifesto.”

Perkins seems to be counting on Boykin to strong-arm pastors at the conference into making a concrete commitment to political activism. In an insert in a packet mailed to pastors, Perkins says Boykin will offer the “concluding challenge” – and he insists that pastors book their flights home no earlier than 4pm so that they can stay.  “During the Briefing, we will share details of the strategic plan the Lord is using to bring revival and renewal in communities around the nation through the engagement of pastors. At the end, we have a ‘call to decision’ or ‘invitation’ sort of like many of you do in a worship service. Just as you want those attending your worship service to stay and respond, we would respectfully ask the same of you.” Perkins has some leverage – FRC picks up most of the tab for one pastor from each church.

FRC launched Watchmen on the Wall in 2004. A 2010 promotional DVD said the group was up to 14,000 pastors; it said Perkins’ goal was to have 40,000 Watchmen pastors by 2015. Pastors who sign up get access to regular briefings, model sermons, and other toolkits for mobilizing their congregations and communities.  The same promotional video contains a clip of “historian” David Barton quoting 19th Century preacher Charles Finney saying, in effect, that if the country is going to hell, it’s pastors’ fault.  The notion that America can only be saved by more aggressive preachers is a recurring theme at Religious Right gatherings, including Liberty Counsel’s recent Awakening conference.

Erik Rush Wasn't Joking When He Said Kill Muslims

Fox News contributor Erik Rush complains in his latest column at World Net Daily that he was only joking when he said that Muslims are evil and should be killed. But he manages to prove otherwise by closing the column with a justification for killing Muslims:

For the record, I still maintain that Islam is, by its nature, wholly incompatible with Western society. I analogize liberalism, which is promoting this dhimmitude, to Stage 3 cancer in America’s body politic. For the record: While killing people is definitely undesirable, that is what war tends to be about.

And we are at war – just study the history of Islam, or ask any Islamist.

You’ll recall that Rush had the following Twitter exchange with Bill Schmalfeldt on Monday in the immediate aftermath of the bombing:

We reported on the exchange, and it was quickly picked up by other media outlets. Rush accuses us and others of “leaving out the fact that it was sarcasm.” Rush claims that Bill’s “irate” tweet prompted his “sarcastic response,” and that “kill them all” was merely echoing Muslims’ “favored disposition toward Americans.”

Rush deleted the tweet later that day and rolled out his sarcasm defense, which numerous outlets uncritically parroted. We didn’t buy it then, and we certainly don’t buy it after reading Rush’s latest column.

Rush has a long track record of paranoid and hate-filled rhetoric. The “just kidding” defense doesn’t work when you’ve previously called for armed revolution against President Obama, said that liberals and journalists should be jailed for treason and claimed that the Chinese government is building a military base inside the US with help from Obama.

It’s clear that Rush supports the sentiment behind his “sarcastic” tweet. The onus was on him to prove otherwise. Not only has he failed to do so, he’s doubled down with a justification for killing Muslims.

Until now, Rush has enjoyed a close relationship with Fox News, and Sean Hannity in particular. A transcript search reveals that he’s appeared on Fox nearly 20 times and has made additional appearances on Fox News Radio, as recently as last Friday. Hannity’s website even features a review for Rush’s book, with the catchy name of Negrophilia.

Despite this close relationship, representatives of Fox News scrambled behind the scenes this week to distance the channel from Rush. If they don’t want their precious brand to be tainted by him, they need to cut ties with him entirely. We have a petition calling on Fox to do so, which has already been signed by more than 50,000 people.

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