SHAFAQNA – For years, Republican leaders treated Frank Gaffney as a pariah. But his dark warnings about Sharia law taking over America found an audience among grassroots conservatives—and now, in the White House.
On March 6, the zoning board in Bayonne, New Jersey, turned down a request to convert an old warehouse into a mosque. Such denials are happening with increasing frequency in the United States. In the 10 years between 2000 and 2010, the Justice Department intervened seven times against local communities that prevented Muslims from building mosques or other religious institutions. In the six years between 2010 and 2016, that number jumped to 17.
At the zoning board meeting, one woman called Islam a “so-called religion.” Residents claimed the Muslim Brotherhood would control the mosque. The Facebook page of the group “Stop the Mosque in Bayonne” features a man holding a sign that says “Democracy or Sharia Law.”
Yet less than 18 months later, America is led by a president, Donald Trump, who has frequently cited the Center for Security Policy when justifying his policies towards Muslims. Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has called Gaffney “one of the senior thought leaders and men of action in this whole war against Islamic radical jihad.” Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions—who has said“Sharia law fundamentally conflicts with our magnificent constitutional order”—in 2015 won the Center for Security Policy’s “Keeper of the Flame” Award. Trump’s CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, has appeared on Gaffney’s radio program more than 24 times since 2013. Sebastian Gorka, who runs a kind of parallel National Security Council inside the White House called the Strategic Initiatives Group, has appeared on Gaffney’s radio program 18 times during that period. He’s called Sharia “antithetical to the values of this great nation” and recently refused to say whether he considered Islam a religion.
It’s also true that in the Holy Land Foundation trial, in which employees and officers of America’s largest Muslim charity were convicted in 2008 of aiding Hamas, some of America’s major Muslim organizations were listed as unindicted coconspirators. Those organizations included the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which describes itself as a Muslim civil-rights organization akin to the Anti-Defamation League, but which critics often accuse of Islamist sympathies, and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a less political organization that offers services ranging from youth camps to a Muslim dating network.
In the Holy Land trial, the government introduced into evidence a document called the “Explanatory Memorandum,” written by a Muslim Brother in 1991, which declares that the Muslim Brotherhood’s goal “in America is a kind of grand Jihad” aimed at “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” The memorandum lists ISNA and other prominent American Muslim groups as among “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” A 2013 Center for Security Policy paper calls the memorandum a “Rosetta stone” for understanding Muslim subversion in the United States.