Meet Frank Gaffney, the anti-Muslim gadfly reportedly advising Donald Trump’s transition team

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that amid the Trump transition team shuffle, Frank Gaffney had been brought in to help advise on security issues. (On Wednesday, the Trump team denied Gaffney was advising the transition, but would not confirm or deny whether he’d spoken with Trump this week.) Last year, we took a closer look at the former Reagan official’s controversial career:

In June 2009, shortly after President Obama wrapped up his visits to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the Washington Times ran an opinion piece suggesting that the newly inaugurated president might be the first to be a Muslim.

It starts slowly, saying that Obama might be the “first Muslim president” in the same sense that Bill Clinton was once dubbed the “first black president” — which is to say that he’s not Muslim, he’s just sympathetic to the community. But a few paragraphs later, that conceit evaporates.

“With Mr. Obama’s unbelievably ballyhooed address in Cairo Thursday to what he calls ‘the Muslim world’,” columnist Frank Gaffney wrote, “there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.” That evidence? Obama referred to the “Holy Koran.” He said he knew about Islam. And he used the phrase “peace be upon them” when mentioning Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Obama, Gaffney wrote, was engaged in “the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich.”

CNN’s Chris Cuomo, confronting Trump about the proposal on Tuesday, told Trump that CNN “wouldn’t even put that poll on the air. It’s a hack organization with a guy who was dismissed from the conservative circles for conspiracy theories. You know that.” (Trump disagreed.)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry to host major prayer event in Houston

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who is expected to announce his presidential candidacy in the next few weeks, will start to change that on Saturday, by hosting a day of prayer and fasting in Houston dubbed “The Response.”

Some of the groups and figures involved in prayer event are highly controversial. Following the Fort Hood shootings two years ago, a top official at the American Family Association, Bryan Fischer, said Muslims should be not allowed to serve in the U.S. military. He has also suggested Adolf Hitler and the German soldiers who carried out the Holocaust were gay, and their sexual orientation was part of the reason they orchestrated the mass killings.

David Carney, Perry’s top political adviser, said that economic issues will be the biggest focus in next year’s election, but he argued that voters would not punish a candidate for talking about his religion.

Ex-Muslim joins rightwing Freedom Party

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders confirmed Thursday that ex-Muslim Ehasan Jami, 24, has joined the party, which is highly critical of Islam. DPA reports that the self-identified ex-Muslim and critic of Islam may run for a council seat in The Hague in the upcoming 2010 local elections, or may enter politics following the general elections of 2011.

Jami was previously a member of the left-wing Labour party, but was expelled in 2007 after writing an op-ed essay together with Wilders in which they compared Mohammed with Adolf Hitler.

Fitna put on par with Mein Kampf in textbook

The Dutch right-wing Freedom Party is furious that a primary school textbook has compared Geert Wilders’ short film Fitna with Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. The textbook, which will be distributed to some 2,000 primary schools, cites both Fitna and Mein Kampf as examples of “one-sided thinking.” The Freedom Party called the comparison a disgrace, and demanded that the authors recall the textbooks. The authors – The Day of Respect Foundation – said they have no plans of canceling distribution of the textbook, although they expressed some concern about the phrasing of the passage in question.

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Dutch leftist and rightist Islam critics speak up together

Critic of Islam, Ehsan Jami, and Freedom Party leader, Geert Wilders, compared the Prophet Mohammed to Adolf Hitler in a co-written article published in the Dutch daily Volkskrant Thursday. In their article, Wilders and Jami say strong criticism of Islam is absolutely necessary. “If we do not act now against the far-reaching Islamisation of the Netherlands, then the 1930s will be revived. The only difference is that back then the danger came from Adolf Hitler, while today it comes from Mohammed.”…