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.)

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on Gay Muslims; Scholars Issue Statement

“We, as American Muslims, follow the openhearted and inclusive Islam of Muhammad Ali and completely reject the hatred, provincialism, and intolerance of those who trample upon the rights of others, besmirching and defiling the name of Islam.”
On June 13, 2016, Muslim leaders across North America signed the Orlando Statement. Signatories include, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
You can read the statement, in full, at the Orlando Statement website.
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf gave a brief interview addressing several difficult issues. We reproduce it below with thanks to CNN.

First State Terrorist Registry In The Nation

NYS Senator Tom Croci Passes Legislation To Create Historic First-Ever State Terrorist Registry Proposed to Protect the Number One Terrorist Target in the United States – New York
The New York State Senate is the first legislative body in the United States to consecutively pass legislation creating a Terrorist Registry, sponsored by Senator Thomas D. Croci (R-Sayville), Chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Veterans and Military Affairs, and Assemblyman Michael Den Dekker (D-Jackson Heights).  The Senate approved the measure for the second year in a bipartisan vote (Senate bill S3464C;/Assembly bill A6129C).
“The deterioration of the security situation overseas and the growing number of attacks at home, including the barbaric attack this week in Orlando, it is clear we are under attack.   Law enforcement and New Yorkers are not being unreasonable in demanding convicted terrorists be registered,” said Senator Croci. “CNN reported last year that FBI Director James Comey asked state and local law enforcement to help the FBI keep tabs on hundreds of individuals.  We must give our police and law enforcement agencies every tool we can.  We should know if the person living next door is a convicted terrorist.

Why this perfect response to negative stereotypes about Islam is being shared again

An interview with an author who criticised negative stereotypes about Islam is being widely shared online again after the Paris attacks. Reza Aslan’s interview on CNN, in which he was asked ‘Does Islam promote violence?’, initially made headlines in September last year.

He was asked to appear on the news channel after comedian Bill Maher made controversial comments about Islam. On his chat show, Maher claimed that “vast numbers of Muslims around the world believe that humans deserve to die for merely holding a different idea, or drawing a cartoon, or writing a book, or eloping with the wrong person”. He added: “Not only does the Muslim world have something in common with Isis, it has too much in common with Isis.”

Iranian-American academic Aslan, who released best-selling book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth in 2013, was questioned about female genital mutilation in Muslim countries during the CNN interview.

“This is the problem. These conversations that we’re having aren’t really being had in any kind of legitimate way. We’re not talking about women in the Muslim world, we’re using two or three examples to justify a generalisation. That’s actually the definition of bigotry,” he replied. “The problem is that you’re talking about a religion of 1.5billion people and certainly it becomes very easy to just simply paint them all with a single brush by saying, ‘Well in Saudi Arabia women can’t drive,’ and saying that’s representative of Islam. That’s representative of Saudi Arabia.”

CNN: “City of Paris to sue Fox News”

“Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is planning to sue Fox News for its inaccurate reports on Muslim “no
go zones,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Hidalgo told Amanpour in an interview. “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”

When asked to clarify which network she planned “to take to court and sue,” Hidalgo replied: “Fox News, that’s the name.”

Imam Feisal on CNN with Carol Costello Speaking out Against ISIS [VIDEO]

August 21, 2014

Imam Feisal on CNN with Carol Costello Speaking out Against ISIS [CLICK FOR VIDEO]

CNN’s Stelter: Media May Have ‘Overreacted’ to Boston Bombing, Cites ‘Low Number of Deaths and Injuries’

December 29, 2013

By Tommy Christopher

 

During another of the incessant end-of-year recap segments on cable TV these days, CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter delivered what he felt would be “an unpopular opinion” to CNN Newsroom host Carol Costello Friday. In a discussion of the media’s coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing, Stelter said “I wonder if there was an overreaction in the press, considering the relatively low number of deaths and injuries.”

The segment was pegged to partisan bias, with Newsmax‘s Steve Malzberg arguing that the media tried to downplay the involvement of radical Islam as motive, and Media MattersEric Boehlert reminding the panel of the rush to judgment that caused innocent people to be smeared in the press by the likes of the New York Post and Glenn Beck. Stelter, though, ventured far afield of the premise to offer what he acknowledged “might be an unpopular opinion.”

“I wonder if the press, overall, in retrospect, overreacted to the attacks in Boston,” Stelter said. “It was a very scary week. I was scared, along with the rest of the country. In retrospect, I wonder if there was an overreaction in the press, considering the relatively low number of deaths and injuries, whether it was taken out of proportion, given all the other violence we see all the time.”

He concluded, “Because the word ‘terrorism’ was applied, I think there may have been an overreaction.”

Where this segment, and media criticism in general, goes wrong is in focusing on the “bias” angle, instead of on the more serious problem of just plain bad reporting. In an act of pure generosity, none of the panelists brought up CNN’s own disastrous reporting of a “dark-skinned” suspect with “brown skin” who was definitely in custody, until he wasn’t.

Partisan bias is an interesting topic, but it shouldn’t eclipse the reason journalism is supposed to exist in the first place: to truthfully inform the public, in the public’s interest. The Boston Marathon Bombing, and this segment in particular, prove that the “view from nowhere” can be as toxic to the truth as anything else.

 

Mediaite.com: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnns-stelter-media-may-have-overreacted-to-boston-bombing-cites-low-number-of-deaths-and-injuries/

On Being Brown in America

The recent bombings in Boston threw up many questions. One of the most pressing, in my somewhat narrow view, is the meaning of being brown in America.

On April 17, two days after the bombs went off during the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring almost 200 others, CNN’s John King went on air to say that the suspect was a “dark-skinned male.” In the CNN video, which shows that the time of the broadcast was 1.15 p.m. on Wednesday, we see King pointing to a photograph from the front-page of The New York Times. A positive identification had been made based on a surveillance video from a Lord & Taylor store just outside the frame of the picture in the Times, King said. A little later that afternoon, King would go on to assure viewers that a subsequent arrest had been made.

No one had been arrested that day, of course, and, alas, there was no dark-skinned male. What is remarkable is that even while first reporting his piece of “exclusive” news, CNN’s King felt it necessary to qualify what he was saying.

This behavior isn’t entirely the product of the Internet. In fact, it is not even new. It has its roots in history and, arguably, in law. Let us go back to the days even before Maugham had his detective Ashenden looking at the photograph of a dark-skinned male. I’m referring here to the 1917 Immigration Act in the U.S. — also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act — which regarded as undesirable aliens all those individuals who had their origin in Asia, a region spanning the so-called Middle East to the Pacific Islands, thereby lumping them in with “homosexuals,” “idiots,” “feeble-minded persons,” “criminals,” “insane persons,” “alcoholics,” “professional beggars” and others.

After Boston, we should put Muslims under surveillance, says Rep. King

President Obama cautioned the nation not to rush to judgment about the Boston Marathon bombers. But that’s not stopping Republican Rep. Peter King.

King, who chairs the House subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, is urging authorities to beef up their surveillance of Muslims in the U.S.  following Friday night’s arrest of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Police must “realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there,” the New York lawmaker told National Review.

King—who spearheaded controversial hearings on the radicalization of Muslim-Americans in 2011—also told CNN that “we can’t be politically correct. I think we have to see, has radicalization extended into the Chechen community?”

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said in a statement that the Obama administration should resist the calls to treat Dzhokhar as an enemy combatant.

“This is not a foreign national caught on an enemy battlefield, but an American citizen arrested on American soil. The Justice Department has demonstrated a far greater ability to successfully prosecute suspected terrorists in federal courts than the military commissions have thus far been able to show. Nothing must be done to compromise the public safety, the ability of prosecutors to seek justice for the victims or our constitutional principles,” he said.

Pamela Geller Faces Off With CNN’s Erin Burnett Over Anti-Islam ‘Savages’ Ad

Pamela Geller has been running a controversial ad in New York subway stations that compares Muslim extremists to “savages.” She won a court order to keep the ads up after complaints that it was too offensive. Geller sat down with Erin Burnett on CNN today to defend the ads. Burnett argued that just because someone has a right to something does not mean they should say it, and Geller told Burnett that her opinion is “emboldening Islamic terrorism and emboldening extremism.”

Geller said she wanted to put up the ad to rebut the anti-Israel ads she sees in the subway all the time. She argued that the First Amendment gives her the right to put up something that people find offensive. She said, “I’m running them because I can.” Burnett told Geller her ad sounds like a “narrative of hate.” Geller rebutted her by pointing to terrorist attacks and referring to them as “savagery.”

Burnett asked Geller why she would want to denigrate an entire faith with her ad. Geller countered that she did not, but did dispute the idea that there is anything in the Qu’ran about peace. Geller also pointed out that people are not being killed all over the world for Christianity and Judaism. When Burnett tried to call Geller out for using the word “savages,” Geller said that Burnett was misinterpreting what she said.

Burnett closed the interview by highlighting statements from the Anti-Defamation League that condemn Geller’s ad. Geller brushed aside the criticism, saying that no one who loves the Jewish community actually “takes them seriously.”