As was announced a few days ago, Stephen Steinlight will be speaking before the Sugar Land Tea Party group in Texas tomorrow, November 15.
Steinlight is the Senior Policy Analyst for the nativist group Center for Immigration Studies, one of the three most influential organizations operating from within within the established anti-immigrant movement. CIS was founded in 1985 by that movement’s progenitor, John Tanton. In September of that year Tanton wrote:
“We realized on starting FAIR in 1979 that [sic] immigration reform battle would be won in the end by the side with the best ideas, those most closely attuned to the times, and the best articulated [....] After careful and prolonged study, the FAIR Board has concluded that a “Think Tank” on the scale of Worldwatch Institute is needed. For credibility, this will need to be independent of FAIR, though the Center for Immigration Studies, as we’re calling it, is starting off as a project of FAIR.”
If the anti-immigrant movement were truly concerned with credibility, one might imagine that its groups, like CIS in this instance, would seek to put distance between its staff members and grassroots groups that have a history of sponsoring and hosting events along with anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim extremists.
That hasn’t stopped CIS’s brass from allowing Steinlight–who is described on the group’s website as “one of the nation’s most insightful voices on immigration”–to do just that, but anyone familiar with some of the sentiments about Islam and Muslims that CIS head Mark Krikorian has nonchalantly tossed out in his regular blog-column over at the National Review Online won’t be surprised.
That in mind, the Fort Bend, TX, Sugar Land Tea Party managed to grab some international headlines when an event it hosted featuring one Pamela Geller was widely protested. The event was originally slated for the Hyatt Place Houston/Sugar Land, but hotel management decided to cancel the event, citing concerns over disturbances to other guests and having ample security staff on hand. The event was co-sponsored by a number of groups that reflect a cross-section of the overlapping Tea Party and established Islamophobia movements, as well: Stop the Islamization of America (SOIA) and American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) (both groups run by Geller), Hindu Congress, Spirit of Freedom Republican Women’s PAC, Fort Bend Tea Party, Crispus Attucks Tea Party, Sugar Land Tea Party, Texas Constituents’ Tea Party, We The People Are The 9-12 Association, Inc., and the North Houston and Galveston County chapters of ACT! for America, the largest Islamophobia group in this country.
Pamela Geller, for her part, is one of the ranking power-players within the international “Counter-Jihad Movement,” as she and her cohorts refer to themselves. Some background on Geller follows:
- In the recently released 117 page report from England’s Hope Not Hate campaign, “The Counter-Jihad Movement,” Pamela Geller earned herself a prime spot in the section where the top twelve individuals worldwide are profiled. It bears mentioning that Geller has personal, first-hand relationships or organizational connections to every other individual listed in that section.
- Among Gellers’ most infamous connections within this movement are the likes of “Counter-Jihad” über-scribe Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, SOIA, and AFDI; David Yerushalmi, author of the Islamophobic “Anti-Sharia” bills that have made in-roads in some state legislatures; Stephen Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”), head of the English Defence League (EDL), a coalition of street thugs, convicted football hooligans and criminals, and neo-Nazis responsible for dozens of Islamophobic street protests and “Counter-Jihad” hate crimes in that country; Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom in Holland, who Hope Not Hate rightly notes is “the most successful Counter-Jihadist politician in the world”; Peter Jensen (aka Fjordman), one of the most prolific Islamophobic bloggers in the world, whose writings Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik found deeply influential.
- Last summer in Norway Anders Behring Breivik slaughtered 77 people across the two-phases of his murderous plot that began with a bombing in Oslo and ended with a shooting spree on the island of Utoya. Breivik left behind a 1,518 page manifesto in which he articulated his hatred for Islam, Muslims, and multiculturalism. In his sprawling work, Breivik quoted Jensen 118 times, Spencer 64 times with Jihad Watch cited as a source in Breivik’s footnotes a further 113 times, and Geller and her Atlas Shrugs blog 12 times. Geller wrote insensitively of the victims in the wake of the attacks.
- Breivik also refers to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies in his sprawling manifesto.
Tomorrow Steinlight’s speaking appearance before the Sugar Land Tea Party will offer yet another example of the grassroots Tea Party reaching out to branches of the broader nativist movement and its leaders–whether specifically Islamophobic or more generally anti-immigrant–for trainings, fresh messaging, and sharper talking points. At the end of September, for example, NE Tarrant Tea Party in Southlake, TX, hosted Joyce Mucci, southern field representative for the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
This is not Steinlight’s first appearance on the Texas Tea Party Circuit either. In June of 2010 he delivered a talk entitled, “Losing America: What You Must Know and Do About the Immigration Crisis,” to the Houston-based group King Street Patriots. The name King Street Patriots may sound familiar to some, as the group gave birth to True The Vote, the far right-wing “poll watching” group that has done much to spread the myth of voter fraud while also being condemned far-and-wide for employing tactics that amount to nothing more that voter-suppression.