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.)

Muslim Hotel Owner in California Defends Herself Against Anti-Semitism Charge

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The Hotel Shangri-La, an Art Deco palace on a bluff next to the Pacific Ocean, looks the way Los Angeles is supposed to look but mostly doesn’t: its exterior is bright white, with rounded corners, glass tiles and upper-story railings. Its look is matched by its lore, a Hollywood haunt where Bill Clinton and Tom Cruise have been spotted among the guests and where a favorite story has it that Sean Penn courted Madonna.

But things have been far from idyllic here in the last week, as about a dozen Jewish plaintiffs, mostly young professionals, squared off in court against the hotel and its owner, Tehmina Adaya, over a charge that has not often surfaced in Santa Monica lately: anti-Semitism.

Ms. Adaya was on the spot last week defending herself against a claim that she had violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, a law that bars hotels and other businesses from discriminating in their dealings on the basis of sex, race, religion or a number of other traits or conditions.

The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election: Angry Silents, Disengaged Millennials

Angry Silents, Disengaged Millennials

In the last four national elections, generational differences have mattered more than they have in decades. According to the exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups in each election since 2004, while older voters have cast more ballots for Republican candidates in each election since 2006.

The latest national polls suggest this pattern may well continue in 2012. Millennial generation voters are inclined to back Barack Obama for reelection by a wide margin in a matchup against Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate who has run the strongest against Obama in many polls. By contrast, Silent generation voters are solidly behind Romney.

One of the largest factors driving the current generation gap is the arrival of diverse and Democratic-oriented Millennials. Shaped by the politics and conditions of the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presidencies, this group holds liberal attitudes on most social and governmental issues.

The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election

In the last four national elections, generational differences have mattered more than they have in decades. According to the exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups in each election since 2004, while older voters have cast more ballots for Republican candidates in each election since 2006.

The latest national polls suggest this pattern may well continue in 2012. Millennial generation voters are inclined to back Barack Obama for reelection by a wide margin in a matchup against Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate who has run the strongest against Obama in many polls. By contrast, Silent generation voters are solidly behind Romney.

One of the largest factors driving the current generation gap is the arrival of diverse and Democratic-oriented Millennials. Shaped by the politics and conditions of the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presidencies, this group holds liberal attitudes on most social and governmental issues.

Islam (and reason) on trial in Tennessee

Islam is suddenly on trial in a booming Nashville suburb, where opponents of a new mosque have spent six days in court trying to link it to what they claim is a conspiracy to take over America by imposing restrictive religious rule. The current case, unfortunately, is a shame but not a sham. Several residents of Murfreesboro, Tenn., really are challenging the construction of 52,000-square-foot mosque by suing the Rutherford Country planning commission and other county officials.

The plaintiffs argue, among other things, that the county shouldn’t have granted the mosque a religious use permit because, they claim, Islam isn’t really a religion.

The U.S. Justice Department seems to think it’s a bit more than that. The federal government took the unusual action of filing a brief in this county-level case.

“Each branch of the federal government has independently recognized Islam as one of the major religions of the world,” U.S. Atty. Jerry Martin said in a press release.

According to the brief, all of the following authenticated documents have recognized Islam as a major world religion: the Oxford English Dictionary, U.S. Supreme Court rulings, presidential proclamations by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and writings by Thomas Jefferson.

What is the Iran-linked Alavi Foundation?

The New York-based Alavi Foundation is a high-profile organization that claims to be a non-profit devoted to promoting Islam and the Persian language, and has even reportedly made donations to former President Bill Clinton’s foundation. But it has been under FBI suspicion for years over alleged ties with Iran.

Federal prosecutors say the foundation is merely a front for the Iranian government and transfers rental income from its properties to Iran’s Bank Melli, which was first subject to US sanctions in 2007 for alleged support of Iran’s nuclear program.

This article explores what is known about Iran’s Alavi Foundation, shedding light on why federal authorities seized 4 US mosques—all Alavi property—as part of its investigation of the organization.

Former President Clinton Says Cartoon Protests Have Wasted an Opportunity

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Bill Clinton says he thinks Muslims have “squandered” an opportunity to build bridges to the West. The former president today denounced the violent protests that have rocked the Muslim world in recent weeks. The cartoons depicting Muhammad were first published in Denmark last fall but have since sparked destructive riots, including protests aimed at the U-S. Clinton commented during a visit to Pakistan, one of the countries rocked by violence.