The ridiculous Scott Shane and his New York Times colleagues here delivered one of the first salvos in the establishment propaganda media’s latest attempt to demonize and destroy Steve Bannon, and by extension, President Trump. In this lengthy piece, they try to create the impression that the clash of civilizations and the jihad against the U.S. are a “dark view of Islam” concocted by right-wing “Islamophobes” (including me, of course). Unfortunately for their narrative, Muslims with this “dark view of Islam,” such as the Allahu-akbaring, machete-wielding would-be killer in the Louvre this morning, keep trying to kill Europeans and Americans. Trump’s “dark view of Islam” is simply Islamorealism, as every day’s headlines attest. More below.
“Trump Pushes Dark View of Islam to Center of U.S. Policy-Making,” by Scott Shane, Matthew Rosenberg and Eric Lipton, New York Times, February 1, 2017:
WASHINGTON — It was at a campaign rally in August that President Trump most fully unveiled the dark vision of an America under siege by “radical Islam” that is now radically reshaping the policies of the United States….
“The hateful ideology of radical Islam,” he told supporters, must not be “allowed to reside or spread within our own communities.”Stephen K. Bannon, the former chief of Breitbart News and now President Trump’s chief strategist, was the main driver of President Trump’s rapid signing on Friday of the executive order on immigration, which set off a political firestorm.
Mr. Trump was echoing a strain of anti-Islamic theorizing familiar to anyone who has been immersed in security and counterterrorism debates over the last 20 years. He has embraced a deeply suspicious view of Islam that several of his aides have promoted, notably retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, now his national security adviser, and Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s top strategist.
This worldview borrows from the “clash of civilizations” thesis of the political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, and combines straightforward warnings about extremist violence with broad-brush critiques of Islam. It sometimes conflates terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State with largely nonviolent groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots and, at times, with the 1.7 billion Muslims around the world. In its more extreme forms, this view promotes conspiracies about government infiltration and the danger that Shariah, the legal code of Islam, may take over in the United States.
Those espousing such views present Islam as an inherently hostile ideology whose adherents are enemies of Christianity and Judaism and seek to conquer nonbelievers either by violence or through a sort of stealthy brainwashing….
How could anyone have gotten such a hateful, Islamophobic idea? Could it be from the Qur’an, which tells Muslims not to take Jews and Christians as friends (5:51) and instead to conquer and subjugate them (9:29)? Could it be from the Qur’an’s command to Muslims to fight unbelievers “until religion is all for Allah” (8:39)? The “brainwashing” bit is Shane being silly, but could the “stealthy” part come from the captured internal Muslim Brotherhood document that declares that its goal in America is a kind of grand jihad aimed at “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within, and sabotaging its miserable house”?
Rejected by most serious scholars of religion and shunned by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, this dark view of Islam has nonetheless flourished on the fringes of the American right since before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With Mr. Trump’s election, it has now moved to the center of American decision-making on security and law, alarming many Muslims.
What a pity that these “serious scholars of religion” have been very intent on convincing non-Muslims that Islam is a religion of peace, but have made few, if any efforts, to disabuse jihadis of their supposed misunderstanding of Islam, which continues to spread worldwide by billing itself among Muslims as the authentic interpretation of Islamic teaching.
Mr. Trump has insisted that the executive order is not a “Muslim ban,” and his supporters say it is a sensible precaution to safeguard Americans. Asked about the seeming antipathy to Islam that appeared to inform the order, the White House pointed to Mr. Trump’s comments in the August speech and on another occasion that signaled support for reform-minded Muslims. His administration, Mr. Trump said in August, “will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voice.”…
But critics see the order as a clumsy show of toughness against foreign Muslims to impress Mr. Trump’s base, one shaped by advisers with distorted ideas about Islam.
“They’re tapping into the climate of fear and suspicion since 9/11,” said Asma Afsaruddin, a professor of Islamic studies at Indiana University and chairwoman of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. “It’s a master narrative that pits the Muslim world against the West,” appealing to Trump supporters who know nothing of Muslims or Islam beyond news reports of terrorist attacks, she said.
Here again, what as Asma Afsaruddin done to convince Muslims who are pitted against the West, such as those of the Islamic State who have repeated called for the murders of Americans, that they should lay down their arms?
The executive order, she said, will backfire by reinforcing the jihadist line that the United States is at war with Islam. “The White House is a huge soapbox,” she said. “The demonization of Muslims and Islam will become even more widespread.”
If there is any such actual demonization, it isn’t the fault of Trump or Bannon or Flynn or Gaffney or Geller or me. It is the fault of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and Nidal Malik Hasan, and Syed Rizwan Farook, and Tashfeen Malik, and all the other Muslims who have committed murder in the name of Islam and in accord with its teachings.
Those in the administration with long records of criticizing Islam begin with Mr. Bannon and Mr. Flynn. Mr. Flynn last February tweeted a link to an anti-Muslim video and wrote, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” In an interview, he said that “Islam is not necessarily a religion but a political system that has a religious doctrine behind it.”
Islam is certainly a religion, but it is also a political system, and an authoritarian, violent, supremacist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and expansionist one at that. Pretending this is not the case will not make it go away — as the last fifteen years abundantly prove.
Mr. Bannon has spoken passionately about the economic and security dangers of immigration and took the lead role in shaping the immigration order. In a 2014 talk to a meeting at the Vatican, he said the “Judeo-Christian West” is at war with Islam.“There is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global,” he said. “Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn’t act.” Elsewhere, on his radio show for Breitbart News, Mr. Bannon said, “Islam is not a religion of peace — Islam is a religion of submission,” and he warned of Muslim influence in Europe: “To be brutally frank, Christianity is dying in Europe and Islam is on the rise.”
Can Scott Shane demonstrate any of these assertions to be false? There is certainly abundant evidence that they are true. Search the archives here at Jihad Watch for the categories “Islamic supremacism,” “Muslim persecution of Christians,” and the like.
…They all reflect the hard-line opinions of what some have described as the Islamophobia industry, a network of researchers who have warned for many years of the dangers of Islam and were thrilled by Mr. Trump’s election.
They warn about the danger to American freedoms supposedly posed by Islamic law, and have persuaded several state legislatures to prohibit Shariah’s use. It is a claim that draws eye rolls from most Muslims and scholars of Islam, since Muslims make up about 1 percent of the United States population and are hardly in a position to dictate to the other 99 percent.
Population size is hardly the point, especially since the Left has so wholeheartedly allied with Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic groups. It doesn’t take a huge population to affect massive change in any case. The Bolsheviks, despite their name, were never a majority in Russia. But they were an organized and energized vanguard, and they prevailed.
“The majority of Muslims don’t interpret the Quran literally,” said Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution. “You can have five Muslims who all say we think this is God’s exact words, but they all disagree with each other on what that means in practice.”
That is flatly false. In reality, literalism is the dominant mainstream in Qur’an interpretation. Even if it were true, there is still a major global problem of those who do take it literally and act on its verses of violence. Should we ignore them and do nothing to stop them because other Muslims don’t take the Qur’an literally?
Among the most outspoken of those warning about Islam are Pamela Geller, of Stop Islamization of America, Robert Spencer, of Jihad Watch, and Frank Gaffney Jr., of the Center for Security Policy.
All three were hosted by Mr. Bannon on his Breitbart radio program before he became chief executive of the Trump campaign in August. Mr. Gaffney appeared at least 34 times. His work has often been cited in speeches by Mr. Flynn. Kellyanne Conway, now counselor to Mr. Trump, did polling for Mr. Gaffney’s center. Last year, the center gave Senator Jeff Sessions, who has warned of the “totalitarian threat” posed by radical Islam and is Mr. Trump’s nominee for attorney general, its annual “Keeper of the Flame” award….
The Times then goes on to invoke the hard-Left hate group the Southern Poverty Law Center to smear Gaffney. It doesn’t explain why the SPLC is a credible source as to who is hateful and who isn’t. The Times need not bother with such niceties. Which is why ever-increasing numbers of people are discovering that they need not bother with the Times.