Who is the No. 1 Counter-Jihadi? Gaffney or May?

There’s been a little bit of a sideshow setting up this year’s CPAC confab.

Arch-Islamophobe Frank Gaffney was booted from the Conservative Political Action Conference agenda. At Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner spoke with Suhail Khan, a Muslim conservative and board member of the group that hosts the annual CPAC, who said:

“Frank has been frozen out of CPAC by his own hand, because of his antics. We need people who are credible on national security . . . but because of Frank’s just completely irresponsible assertions over the years, the organizers have decided to keep him out.” That, Khan added, is similar reaction to current and former members of Congress, including Bobby Jindal, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and the late Henry Hyde, who distanced themselves from Gaffney.

The conservative shunning of Gaffney, said Khan, is not “because of any pressure from Muslim activists but because they didn’t want to be associated with a crazy bigot.”

Naturally, Gaffney, the president of the defense industry-funded Center for Security Policy (CSP), said it was all the doing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Posner:

Frank Gaffney, the Islamophobic activist bent on getting Congress to investigate “creeping shari’ah,” talked to the conspiracy web site World Net Dailyclaiming “that CPAC has come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is working to bring America under Saudi-style Shariah law.”

Gaffney has played this game of demagoguery about his critics before: When PBS delayed the airing of a documentary put together by Gaffney and requested editorial changes, he took the creative dispute public, charging that the Nation of Islam was taking over public broadcasting. (Don’t worry, the doc aired on Fox News.) He’s now, of course, brought his filmmaking prowess to the Clarion Fund, the well-funded producers of “Obsession,” and a forthcoming movie on Iran.

Gaffney’s CSP is involved in many efforts Islamophobic. The center’s COO, Christine Brim, has spoken at European far-right conferences as well as those of Pamela Geller.

CSP also released a report last year about ‘creeping sharia.’ But, as Matt Duss demonstrated at the Wonk Room, the authors didn’t bother to speak to any Muslims or Islamic scholars who might actually know something about Sharia. (Duss also noted the long, public record of Islamophobia from one of the report’s co-authors. One sample: “Islam was born in violence; it will die that way.”)

What substantiates Gaffney’s charge about ‘creeping sharia’ at CPAC is that CPAC is still hosting a panel on — you guessed it — ‘creeping sharia’! Ben Smith reports for Politico:

“The fact is that we will have a panel tentatively titled ‘Defining and Debating Shariah in America’ at this year’s CPAC moderated by Cliff May of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies,” emailed the American Conservative Union’s CPAC director Lisa DePasquale.

So the conservative fête retains its anti-Sharia credentials after all (despite, perhaps, Muslim Brotherhood infiltration). And FDD‘s Cliff May quietly takes a step up — and brings Gaffney down a notch — in the ongoing race to be America’s number one counter-Jihadi.

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.


One Comment

  1. Frank Gaffney, a “crazy bigot”? No more so than Geert Wilders.[lol] Talk about a flaming platinum blonde!

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