by Eli Clifton
National Security Advisor-designate Michael T. Flynn is a lightning rod for controversies surrounding the Trump transition team. Yesterday, 53 advocacy groups released a joint statement urging President-elect Donald Trump to rescind his appointment of Flynn, describing him as a “completely inappropriate choice to serve in the most senior national security position in the White House.” Flynn, the letter notes, exhibits a “lack of respect for the rights and dignity of Muslims.”
In a previously unreported video, reviewed by LobeLog, of an interview at the Republican National Convention, Flynn directly attacks the prophet Muhammad and the Quran and blames the introduction of Islam for the Middle East’s alleged failure to “become modern.”
Indeed, Flynn has previously said that “fear of Muslims is rational” and describes Islam as a “cancer.” But some analyses of Trump’s pick for national security advisor have glossed over Flynn’s sweeping anti-Muslim statements. Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake, for example, described Flynn as having “spoken and written at length about combating radical Islam, not just the most extreme terrorist groups inspired by this ideology.” And mainstream publications like Politico and The New York Times have published articles focusing on Flynn’s fixation on combating “radical Islam,” which Flynn sometimes acknowledges is separate from, although closely related to, the Islamic religion.
But a video published by Dinesh D’Souza’s “head researcher,” Kimberly Dvorak, shows Flynn engaging in a lengthy interview one day before his speech at the GOP convention in Cleveland.
He said (my emphasis):
I always say use the phrase “invest in civility and not in conflict.” If you invest in civility you’re helping a nation, you are challenging a nation. So, like Kuwait or the UAE or the Saudis or Egypt or any one of them. You’re challenging them to take a hard look at their entire system, their entire ecosystem, because if they want to have their religion, their quote-unquote religion, and they want to have their security, and they want to pretend like they have women’s rights, and they pretend like everything’s fine, … I can tell you, it’s not.
In 2015, there were more books translated in Spain, that year, in one year, translated into Spanish, than there were books translated in the Arab world for the last thousand years. OK? So a thousand years ago, the Arab world would have had all the Nobel prizes – Science, Art, Peace – they would have them all a thousand years ago, so what changed was this guy Muhammad comes into play and, honestly, we’re dealing with a text that is ancient and not helpful and a society that lives on that text and it can’t come to grips with modernity, with becoming modern.
Flynn regularly calls for a “reformation” of Islam, praising Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood. But his remarks in the video go considerably further, saying that Islam’s central figure and core tenets are the impediment to progress in the Middle East.
The world badly needs an Islamic reformation, and we should not be surprised if violence is involved.
And we’ve got to stop feeling the slightest bit guilty about calling them by name and identifying them as fanatical killers acting on behalf of a failed civilization.
Flynn’s remarks are particularly troubling, given that the 1.6 billion Muslims who constitute approximately 23% of the world’s population are members of a religion he holds incompatible with modernity.
Flynn and Ledeen wrote a lengthy diatribe against Sharia law, a favorite bogeyman for anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists, suggesting that Islam and Muslims are undertaking a subversive campaign to undermine U.S. laws.
They wrote (my emphasis):
Sharia is the basic legal system derived from the religious precepts of Islam, mainly the Koran and the hadiths (supposedly verbatim quotes of what the prophet Muhammad said during his life). In its strictest definition, Sharia, is considered the infallible law of God. They want to impose a worldwide system based on their version of Sharia law that denies freedoms of conscience, choices, and liberties. Basic freedoms! […] I firmly believe that Radical Islam is a tribal cult and must be crushed. Critics get buried in the details of the sunna, hadiths, the umma and the musings of countless Muslim clerics and imams. These so-called Islamic scholars keep their message so complicated so as to create chaos, to confuse in order to control. Now, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Mussolini were transparent. Sharia is a violent law that is buried in barbaric conviction.
Perhaps the scariest part about this to a man who grew up in tiny Rhode Island is that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) now says if we criticize the Prophet or Islam, we can be charged with blasphemy. That is like saying as a Roman Catholic (and a Saint Mary’s School-educated Catholic at that), I cannot criticize the priest who raped and the cardinals and bishops who cover it up!
Muslims want to apply Sharia law by using our own legal system to strengthen what many Americans believe to be a violent religious law that has no place in the United States.
Although his previous remarks often conflated Islam and “radical Islam,” allowing journalists to ascribe his inflammatory comments to a rabid hatred of Islamism and Islamic radicals, this interview, alongside the musings in his book, shows the national security adviser-designate explicitly deriding the entire Islamic religion, its central prophet, its holy book, and its followers.
Fortunately for Flynn, he won’t face a Senate confirmation hearing for his position. But the Trump transition team—where Flynn’s son, who promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, was but is no longer involved—will, no doubt, be under increasing pressure to rescind Flynn’s appointment.