David Horowitz and Frank Gaffney are both claiming that the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) justifies their anti-Muslim stance.
The two purport that the violent acts carried out by ISIS are evidence that they, as two prominent figures in the organized Islamophobia movement, are not wingnuts, and that mainstream America is now more sympathetic to their anti-Muslim fearmongering. In reality, this was just another attempt by this movement to frame a fraction of the Muslim population as wholly representative of an entire religion and broader diaspora.
Horowitz and Gaffney have shown there are extremists in our midst, and they’re often the ones seeking to capitalize on the actions of a few to marginalize and the curb the rights of many.
Horowitz outlines his claims in an article published at National Review Online bluntly titled, “Thank you, ISIS.” In it, he claims the violent acts committed by ISIS have done what “beleaguered conservatives could never have achieved by ourselves.” That is, seek to convince the American public, or at least a large donor base, that Islam is a violent, monolithic religion, to stoke prejudice and to generate suspicions toward all Muslims.
In a fundraising pitch to his base, Gaffney espoused similar rhetoric. He claims that, for years, he has “sounded the alarm” about the threat of Shariah.
“All too often, my warnings went unheeded. Until recently.”
Unheeded? Try laughed at and ridiculed.
In fact, Gaffney’s “warnings” about Shariah have propelled him to be classified among many civil rights groups as one of the most paranoid anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists. Gaffney continues to claim that radical extremists have infiltrated the U.S. government with the intent of replacing the Constitution with Shariah law. He says this is being done by way of “stealth” or “civilization” jihad, meaning that Muslims are apparently working toward domination not through violent means, but through more subtle political and social tactics. Gaffney has even went as far as to call for the U.S. to declare war on the Islamic doctrine.
In at his NRO piece, Horowitz takes a similar tone, writing that for years he and his colleagues “were ridiculed, smeared as bigots, and marginalized as Islamophobes” for their rhetoric. Horowitz, of course, paints this as the work of “Leftist” groups out to get him, rather than his own bigoted endeavors that include organizing “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” across college campuses and funding virulent anti-Muslim blogs like Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch.
Horowitz now claims that ISIS has “brought images of these Islamic fanatics and savages into the living rooms of the American public” and that the “acceptable language for describing the enemy began to change.”
Of course, it’s a stretch to say that Americans aren’t already aware that there are extremists in this world who are Muslim and dislike the U.S. There are religious extremists of every stripe. However, what Horowitz and his colleagues aim to exploit the abhorrent actions of these groups to further their own narrative about Islam and what it means to be Muslim.
So thank you, David Horowitz and Frank Gaffney, for once again showing your true colors.
Both have shown there are extremists in our midst, and they’re often the ones seeking to capitalize on the actions of other extremists in order to marginalize and to curb the rights of many. We Americans must recognize Horowitz, Gaffney, and their ilk as dangerous fearmongers in their own right.