Islamophobia

Sessions to receive award from Frank Gaffney’s anti-Muslim think tank


Imagine2050 Staff • Oct 08, 2015
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On October 21, Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, a “think tank” known for promoting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, will be honoring Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) with its annual “Keeper of the Flame” award. The award ceremony will take place at the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.

Gaffney is a prominent figurehead within the organized Islamophobia movement and regularly argues that Muslims are using something called “stealth jihad” to infiltrate the U.S. government and undermine it from within. He made headlines last week after he hosted notorious white nationalist Jared Taylor on his radio show and heralded Taylor’s work as “wonderful.”

“What’s wrong with that?” Sen. Sessions responded when asked about accusations that his policies are rooted in nativist ideology.

The “Keeper of the Flame” award is intended to honor those who “devote their public careers to the propagation of democracy and the respect for individuals rights throughout the world.” However, Gaffney is presumably honoring Sessions for his recent efforts to challenge the Obama administration’s humanitarian plans to resettle thousands of Syrian refugees in the United States. Sessions recently held a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to address his “severe concern” about admitting Syrians.

It’s no stretch to believe Sessions’ anti-refugee work earned him the award: Gaffney advocates for a moratorium on Muslim refugees. His reasoning? He’s convinced this refugee crisis is actually a “hijra” and that Muslims are exploiting such programs in order to colonize the United States and claim it for Islam.

Of course, attempting to block refugee resettlement is not the only thing for which Sessions is known. The Alabama senator, who serves as chairman of Senate Immigration Subcommittee, remains a staunch opponent to immigration reform as a “champion” of the American worker, except his voting record proves otherwise. His views are in lock-step with the organized anti-immigrant movement.

Sessions has previously attended anti-immigrant rallies, and has sought legislative counsel from anti-immigrant organizations including the Center for Immigration Studies, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and NumbersUSA. He has also upheld the dubious research of those groups in his press releases and media appearances.

In a recent interview, Sessions expressed no concern with being labeled a nativist and instead embraced such an identity.

“What’s wrong with that?” Sen. Sessions responded when asked about accusations that his policies are rooted in nativist ideology.

Past recipients of CSP’s award have built careers on work antithetical to the award’s stated goals. Some examples include former Representative and noted Islamophobe Allen West (R-FL) and former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who was notorious for launching a McCarthy-esque, anti-Muslim congressional witch hunt against Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton.

Earlier this year, CSP also honored Rep. Trent Franks (R-TX) along with anti-Shariah law crusader Beth Van Duyne, the mayor of Irving, Texas who threw her support behind proposed legislation aimed at halting Shariah from creeping into state courts. Such legislation doesn’t address any real problem, but instead serves to stoke fear and suspicion of Muslim Americans.

This is not the first time Sessions has been recognized by his cohorts among the far-right. Last month, he was honored at Eagle Forum’s national conference, a group founded by longtime paleoconservative Phyllis Schlafly. In 2014, Sessions received an award at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend, an annual event organized by the vehemently anti-Muslim organization the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

 

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