Useful Idiots Go Nuts In Nashville

Posted on Wed 10/27/2010 by


By Adrian MorganThe Editor At Family Security Matters (FSM)

I was going to write an article today about Hamid Karzai and his history of corruption and receiving money from Iran, but something else caught my eye. I regularly visit a news aggregator and saw a title: “Gail Kerr: Muslim bashers aren’t new to art of hate for profit.” Afghan corruption is not going to go away: Karzai can wait. The opinion piece came from the Nashville newspaper, the Tennesseean.

Gail Kerr, (pictured at right), described by one Tennessee blogger as “the queen of puffery” is a woman whose size outweighs her analytical skills. Her opinion piece made reference to a front page article on the newspaper by Bob Smietana which, she claims: “shone the bright light of truth on the people who are making millions of dollars perpetuating the current trend to hate Muslims.”

Kerr refers to people who “make a financial killing spreading fear” and “skirt facts and intellectual investigation by making stuff up.” Intrigued, I wondered who these well-funded and dishonest hate-mongers might be. The answers came soon enough.

According to Ms. Kerr, Steve Emerson’s SAE Productions gained

$3.39 million in 2008 for “researching” alleged ties between American Muslims and terrorists.

Her quotation marks are used, not mine. She maintains that Emerson’s non-profit group appears to be “a blatant violation of IRS laws” and opines that Emerson “may end up paying a goodly part of his Muslim-hating windfall to attorneys.”

Kerr goes on to savage the founder of a Nashville-based organization called “The Center for The Study of Political Islam,” a former physics professor named Bill French. Though she makes no claims about his receiving money or acting in any way illegally, Kerr claims that French

leads a revival-like presentation outlining what he calls an ideology that undermines America. He points to a book as proof. He wrote the book. He made up the so-called Muslim ideology. He sells the book.

Kerr attacks Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy who

made a cool $288,300 in salary in 2008. He was a witness in the anti-mosque lawsuit in Murfreesboro, accusing local Muslims of having ties to terrorism. His evidence? His own report. Under oath, he admitted that he is no expert in Islamic law.

Kerr concludes her op-ed with the following statements:

Smietana’s fine reporting pointed out a similar set of circumstances, when the Ku Klux Klan stirred up hate and fear about Catholics moving to the Murfreesboro area in 1929.
There’s another obvious comparison: Hitler’s Germany, which declared all Jews had to be eradicated from the Earth. At every phase of the world, every religion — including Christianity — has had a set of extremist nut cakes who preached hate.

It’s just hard to fathom that we’re still seeing this in 2010. How, I wondered out loud, do these people go to sleep at night?

On very nice sheets and down pillows.

Has it come to this, when people who attempt to highlight the dangers of the political spread of Islamism are compared to the racists of the Ku Klux Klan or the manufacturers of the genocidal hatred of the Nazis?

There is something that is deeply disturbing about such comparisons. Living where she does, Kerr should be aware that the original founders of the KKK were six former confederates of Pulaski, Tennessee who gathered on Christmas Eve 1865 to oppose Reconstruction. The KKK spread to other states and was tied to lynchings. Its mainly Democrat members in various states strove to make the Jim Crow laws. These made it impossible for many black people to enjoy the political freedoms, such as the right to vote, that had ensued from Reconstruction.

There are currently at least four KKK chapters in Tennessee – the Great Tennessee Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Knights of Bedford Forest, Knights of the Golden Circle and Knights of Yahweh. Perhaps Kerr could do some proper journalistic research and start naming and shaming these groups’ members?

The stupidity of Kerr’s arguments derive from her apparent inability to separate Islam or Islamism (the ideologies) from Muslims (the people). Such a ridiculous conflation is dangerous. It serves to occlude the truth and is the argument used by numerous people on the left, or from within the Muslim Brotherhood itself, to stifle criticism of their insidious political ambitions.

Kerr is wrong on so many levels. There was no black “ideology” that the KKK attacked – they just resented and feared black people. Klansmen had accepted black people while they were enslaved and created wealth, but hated the notion that once liberated these blacks could appropriate some of the exclusive “rights” and enfranchisements of the whites.

People who are critical of Islam are critical of it for many reasons – most notably for the iniquities contained in Sharia law and for the Koranic support of hatred for Christians and Jews, treating women as objects to be beaten, and urging violence against unbelievers. The criticism is aimed at the anti-democratic and anti-liberty aspects of the ideology.

So far, no Muslim has been publicly lynched by anyone from the Center for Security Policy or the IPT. Emerson and Gaffney certainly do not “make stuff up.” They have no need to. Evidence of the spread of Islamism is all around, even within the White House where members of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood attend Iftar dinners.

Why is the specter of Nazism invoked? Has Godwin’s law spread to newspaper op-eds? Islamism, and not Islam, is the main focus of the efforts of Steve Emerson and Frank Gaffney. They do not call for hatred of Muslims, and they do not condemn Muslims for believing in Islam. Kerr’s crass comparisons of their work with the hatreds of Hitler’s Germany are deeply disingenuous. The false claim that Muslims are treated like Jews under HItler have been made by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, with no sense of irony.

In 2006 Muhamad Abdul Bari, the head of the Islamist group called the Muslim Council of Britain (co-founded by leading Muslim Brotherhood member Kemal el-Helbawy) made the claim that the British government was “unfairly targeting Muslims.” The only unfair targeting the government was doing was to fund Bari’s group. He added: “What is the degree of xenophobia that tipped Germany in the 1930s towards a murderous ethnic and cultural racism?” Bari was Chairman of the East London Mosque in 2004 when it had invited Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, the Jew-hating imam of the Kaaba at Mecca as a “special guest.” When confronted about this, Bari refused to acknowledge the manner in which Sudais had said words such as:

“The worst … of the enemies of Islam are those… whom he… made monkeys and pigs, the aggressive Jews and oppressive Zionists and those that follow them: the callers of the trinity and the cross worshippers… those influenced by the rottenness of their ideas, and the poison of their cultures the followers of secularism… How can we talk sweetly when the Hindus and the idol worshippers indulge in their overwhelming hatred against our brothers… in Muslim Kashmir…”

Sudais (pictured at left) is not even an Islamist, but merely the “devout” imam at Islam’s holiest site. And it should be noted that Bari’s mosque was a place where the underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attended, before he tried to murder the passengers of a plane on Christmas Day 2009.

I am sure that Gail Kerr would not like to admit that during the Second World War, a Palestinian Muslim called Amin al-Husseini went to Germany and linked up with both Hitler and Adolph Eichmann. In Bosnia Husseini set up the 13th “Handschar” division of the Waffen SS, comprised entirely of Muslims who supported Nazism. Many Nazis fled to Egypt after the war and found sanctuary with the Islamists of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

In today’s times, when Israel is being compared to Nazi Germany, the pronouncements of vacuous commentators like Gail Kerr are as dangerous as they are ill-informed and ignorant. Kerr apparently believes that there is no global jihad, be it a stealth jihad or a jihad of active terror. She would rather vilify people who are prepared to investigate and disseminate the truth about the spread of Islamism as those who “skirt facts and intellectual investigation by making stuff up.” Skirting facts, if this op-ed is representative of her work, is Ms Kerr’s speciality.

When it comes to making things up, what about her claims that Emerson and Gaffney sleep on “very nice sheets and down pillows” when she thinks they should be having problems sleeping at night?

Kerr makes reference to claims made by Bob Smietana in a series of articles. One of these, entitled “Muslims made unwelcome as times toughen,” has a semblance of rationality about it, discussing the roots of uncertainty amongst the people in Tennessee to the influx of migrants to the region. Recently, the planning of a large mosque at Murfreesboro has attracted concerns. Smietana’s article tries to establish some sort of perspective on the climate of rising distrust between communities.

However, in a subsequent article that he has written for the Tennessean, a twoparter entitled “Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear,” Smietana loses the plot, implying that were it not for people like Emerson and Gaffney, there would be less “Islamophobia,” and suggesting that they spread hate for money:

Emerson is a leading member of a multimillion-dollar industry of self-proclaimed experts who spread hate toward Muslims in books and movies, on websites and through speaking appearances.

Smietana – in the manner of a socialist – cites donated income to anti-jihad groups as a means to attack them, even though in many cases there is a need to provide security to protect members of these organizations. He writes:

The list of people on the anti-Islam circuit goes on. IRS filings from 2008 show that Robert Spencer, who runs the blog, earned $132,537 from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative nonprofit.

Brigitte Tudor, who runs the anti-Islam groups ACT! For America and the American Congress for Truth, earned $152,810, while her colleague Guy Rogers collected $154,900.

Smietana includes downloadable pdf files in his article, of the tax returns for the Investigative Project on Terrorism from 2008, its application for tax-exempt status, a tax return for the Center for Security Policy, one from David Horowitz’ Freedom Center, from ACT for America, from American Congress for Truth and from New English Review.

Despite the vacuous prattlings and innuendo of Gail Kerr, there is nothing there that would see Emerson “paying a goodly part of his Muslim-hating windfall to attorneys” unless he decided to pay them to sue Smietana, Kerr and the proprietors of the Tennessean for libel.

The recent publication by the Center for Security Policy’s Team B on Shariah, is used to attack Gaffney, with an implication that there is no such thing as a comprehensive system of sharia.

In 2008, the Tennessean was owned by Gannett Co. Inc, which is based in Virginia and also owns USA Today, and in Tennessee it owns The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, and the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. Indeed, on October 24, USA Today appeared to have reproduced a version of Smietana’s hatchet-job on Steve Emerson, in an article by him entitled “Some profit from Muslim fear” but the link for the online version now returns the statement: “The requested document was not found.”

The CEO of Gannett is Craig A. Dubow whose annual income is many times greater than the voluntary donations that provide the incomes of the organizations smeared in the pages of the Tennessean. The senior editor of the Tennessean is Deborah Fisher, who is quick to point out the “ethical failings” of other news outlets, but seems to believe that such ethical concerns should not affect the content of what she publishes.

Like dung-dunked dominos, there is always a knock-on effect from malicious reports. Philanthropy Today parrots the false claims, along with the Huffington Post, the Non-Profit Quarterly, M. J. Rosenberg in TPM Cafe, and the Salon who repeat the claims as if they are factual. There is much to be said for the aphorism created by Winston Churchill: “A lie travels half way around the world before the truth has got its pants on.”

Perhaps the group that has been maligned the most by the Tennessean’s crack team of writers should have the last word. Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, contains the following:

There’s a price that comes with erroneous reporting and we’re seeing it register already. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a news release calling for an IRS investigation into our status as a non-profit organization. We believe we can withstand any scrutiny.

This isn’t a surprise. Groups have been stung repeatedly by our ability to pierce their fog of deception and show their ties to radical Islam, including support for Hamas and other terrorist groups.

The IPT article continues:

Beyond the tax-exempt issue, Smietana’s article smears Emerson as “a leading member of a multimillion-dollar industry of self-proclaimed experts who spread hate toward Muslims in books and movies, on websites and through speaking appearances.”
The 2,147-word article offers no examples of Emerson or the IPT spreading hate and it ignores evidence to the contrary. It is patently false.

The article also says IPT is “telling donors they’re in imminent danger from Muslims.” Again, there is no source for this claim or any example cited. IPT’s clearly stated role is to identify potential terrorist threats, particularly those coming from people who hide their true leanings. Our track record is clear: From members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad working at a university think tank in Florida to Hamas supporters using a charity to support terrorism, IPT has been ahead of the curve. Many of the subjects of our work are either in prison or have been deported. That speaks to our track record.

Our record is the reason we’ve earned accolades from lawmakers from both parties, such as Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., another congressional terrorism expert. Our researchers and experts have shared their expertise with Congress as recently as last month.

There is a difference between Islam and Islamism – between people’s practice of a faith and attempts to mix that faith with a radical political agenda. The IPT exists to combat Islamism and the often violent extremism carried out in its name.

Journalistic integrity is important. Sadly some websites do not attempt to follow standards of probity, confusing libel and deliberate disinformation with the tenets of the First Amendment. I have witnessed journalistic dishonesty at first hand, from web-based groups and from “legitimate” newspapers such as the St. Petersburg Times. The Tennessean is only the latest news body to have joined the ranks of the “Dark Side” by peddling disinformation, falsely smearing critics of the hate-filled ideology of Islamism as “haters” and bigots, and then attempting to wrap itself in the mantle of “morality.”

There is no morality in manufacturing unfounded character assassination.

Adrian Morgan

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