On the front of Saturday’s New York Times, religion reporter Laurie Goodstein forwarded “alarming” complaints from former Obama administration staffers and Islamic groups about Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director who is President Trump’s choice to become the new secretary of state, and John Bolton, Trump’s pick for national security advisor: “Alarms Raised On Nominee’s Views on Islam.”
Nearly two months after the Boston Marathon bombing, Mike Pompeo, then a congressman from Kansas, took to the floor of the House to denounce American Muslim leaders for what he called their “silence” in response to the heinous terrorist attack.
“Silence has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts,” Mr. Pompeo said, reading from prepared remarks.
In fact, more than half a dozen American Muslim organizations had issued statements condemning the bombing within hours of the attack. In the days following, Muslim groups organized news conferences, blood drives and prayer vigils. Mr. Pompeo was immediately informed that he was wrong, but did not apologize or respond to Muslim groups stung by his remarks.
Goodstein is both late to the Pompeo-as-bigot story (New York magazine had it three weeks ago) and selective in her quoting of Pompeo’s speech.
The Boston Globe reported a bit of the nuance: “The Republican went on to say that he knew not all Muslims support violence, but said the religion’s leaders needed to more frequently reject violence.” And the full clip of Pompeo’s speech reveals he is referring not only to the response after Boston, but “at least a dozen of Muslim attacks” since 1993, including the first attack on the World Trade Center and Fort Hood.
....an array of voices are raising alarm over what they say is Mr. Pompeo’s record of anti-Muslim remarks and ties to anti-Islam groups....
Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo both have ties to individuals and groups promoting a worldview that regards Islam not so much as a religion, but as a political ideology that is infiltrating the United States and other Western countries with the goal of imposing Shariah law, the Muslim legal code. These groups believe that the vehicle for this takeover is the Muslim Brotherhood, and they allege that American mosques, civic organizations and leaders and even government officials who are Muslims are suspected of being Muslim Brotherhood operatives.
Mr. Pompeo as a congressman arranged a briefing for one such group called Act for America, or ACT, on Capitol Hill and accepted the group’s National Security Eagle Award in 2016, according to the group’s website. Local ACT chapters have protested the construction of mosques, as well as school textbooks that include information about Islam, and have promoted “anti-Shariah” bills in state legislatures. The founder of ACT, Brigitte Gabriel, has written that “the purest form of Islam” is behind the terrorist attacks: “It’s not radical Islam. It’s what Islam is at its core.”
Goodstein is awfully confident the U.S. faces no threat from radical Islam.
The idea that American Muslims are a subversive fifth column is rejected by mainstream experts. Muslims make up less than 1 percent of the American population and many of those who are immigrants came to the United States to escape authoritarian Muslim countries; imposing Shariah law is not on their agenda....
Goodstein worked to defend the Muslim Brotherhood with the help of still more Obama administration hands, then pinned false labels and smears on groups she disapproves of:
American Muslim leaders and policy analysts say that such a move could be used to target Muslim groups and nonprofits -- even those that work to protect civil rights and the victims of hate crimes. Anti-Islam groups like ACT for America and the Center for Security Policy characterize many of the largest American Muslim organizations as “fronts” for the Muslim Brotherhood. But most mainstream experts on American Muslims say that any such connections are so tenuous or old as to be irrelevant, and that the effort to classify them as terrorist affiliates amounts to modern-day McCarthyism.
ACT for America, led by Brigitte Gabriel, is not an “anti-Islam group” but opposes the terrorist threat of radical Islam and pushes for laws against female genital mutilation.
[Editor's note: Gabriel has been a guest expert on the MRC Cruise.]