“Hello, I’m Mark Krikorian. I’m the one paying for the cheese and crackers, executive director of Center for Immigration Studies [CIS]. We have a great crowd here today. No testament to the Center. It’s actually a testament to our guest rather than me, but that’s ok. Greatness through association is something we [i.e CIS] deeply seek.”
And so went the glowing introduction that Mark Krikorian offered for CIS’s guest at the Women’s National Republican Club in Manhattan, New York, back on December 6. Krikorian was introducing ranking Islamophobe Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy. Gaffney presented a lecture focusing on the following quetion: “Is Immigration a Catalyst for Sharia in the West?”–a title Krikorian mentioned the two developed together.
Gaffney is something more than a controversial figure in beltway, with serious detractors on both the Right and Left. The Southern Poverty Law Center classified Gaffney as one of “30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right,” and Hope Not Hate, an anti-bigotry research organization based in the UK, also classifies Gaffney as a highly influential character within the established Islamophobia movement here in the US. Branded a conspiracy theorist and antagonist, Gaffney was even barred from speaking at CPAC 2012.
Gaffney centered his recent talk, as he always does, over the activities of and the extent to which the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the government of the United States via a process of incremental permeation of social structures and institutions that he and others refer to as “stealth jihad” or “cultural jihad.” During his talk, Gaffney described the process of radical subversion as follows:
“Mohammed’s perfect example of a Muslim, [of] a perfect Muslim, was to use violence. It’s just that, as with Mohammed, you don’t want to use it if it’s counter-productive; for example, if the other side is stronger than you are, and you might be crushed if you use violence. Rather, you use under these circumstances civilization jihadist techniques to create conditions in which it would be possible to use violence decisively. And that is exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood is about. Again, not just in the Middle East, not just Egypt, not just Libya, not just Tunisia, not just Syria, [inaudible], Jordan, perhaps soon Saudi Arabia, but here, as well.”
Plain and simple, this is a full illustration of what so many define as stoking Islamophobia, as what his rhetoric bestows upon listeners amounts to walking them methodically and delicately into a sense of uneasy suspicions–how on earth can any of us average folks be expected to differentiate between a Muslim who is and isn’t in the Muslim Brotherhood; how, of course, could we do so when its members are trained to deceive us?
And there it is, the conclusion that Gaffney is wise not utter but nonetheless walks his listeners into–we can’t tell them apart, so it makes sense to be suspicious of them all. CIS’s slogan is “Low-Immigration, Pro-Immigrant”; however, there’s absolutely nothing about Gaffney’s meticulously constructed rhetoric that is anything but an anti-immigrant worldview directed specifically at Muslims–a worldview CIS is endorsing.
Krikorian recently noted that “harsh rhetoric on immigration turns people off,” but simply for the sake of not turning other well-meaning people away from the cause of nativists, like himself and Gaffney. That in mind, Krikorian has had some equally harsh words for Islam in the past, like this example from his blog on National Review, for which Gaffney also writes:
“Specifically, freedom of religion is, ahem, not a Muslim value [….Religious] conversion is a capital offense under Islamic law and it’s not at all inconceivable that Muslim mobs will riot when they learn that former Muslims are holding a convention in the United States (there was just such a conference in Texas in April and in Pennsylvania earlier this month, and no doubt many others). Will the Obama administration demand that such a conference, if it attracts the Eye of Sauron Islam, be shut down?”
With Gaffney and Kirkorian’s kinship in mind, when he claims that “freedom of religion is, ahem, not a Muslim value,” then, of course, that only leaves one explanation for why Muslims would emigrate to the US–Gaffney’s promise of “cultural jihad.” Such overlaps in reasoning between these two clue those of us concerned with opposing organized bigots in to just how closely together sectors of the well-established anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim movements in America are huddling.
Consider that Krikorian has appeared on Gaffney’s radio show six times. Consider that back in 2005 CIS hosted Gaffney for a panel discussion moderated by Krikorian with its own Stephen Steinlight, who also has a history of speaking to anti-Muslim groups. And certainly consider Gaffney’s opening remarks, which directly followed Krikorian’s glowing introduction:
“In truth I’m sure you’re here for the Center for Immigration Studies, at least I hope you are, because I’m here for the Center for Immigration Studies because I have had a chance to work with Mark and his team a lot. And actually, one of the things I hope we might talk about in the course of the conversation is what we might do much more of because I see a nexus developing between the work that Mark really does uniquely in this country and the work that we do, and it would be terrific if we could collaborate more intensively.”
“Greatness through association,” said Krikorian, but what we should recognize about such associations is that they make the movements that Krikorian and Gaffney help steer more powerful. And along the way, we should expose them for what they are–bigoted.