The Center for American Progress is a progressive organization (they label themselves as "non-partisan") founded by John Podesta, one of President Clinton's closest advisors. It has just published a booklet on the topic of Islamophobia, which is linked below.
My reactions to this are many. First of all, this is a political document designed to discredit the American right. You will note the repeated use of adjectives such as "right-wing" and "Christian". You should also note that this report received financial funding from George Soros' Open Society.
Look at the people who are singled out for criticism. Not only do they go after Steve Emerson, Robert Spencer, Pam Geller, Brigitte Gabriel, and David Horowitz, they also mention Republicans like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Peter King, Newt Gingrich, Sue Myrick and Michele Bachmann. They also attack true moderates like Zuhdi Jasser, a practicing Muslim and former Muslims like Nonie Darwish. In fact, the authors try to drag in virtually every conservative figure or organization they can including, naturally, the Tea Party. And of course, Fox News and the "well-developed right-wing echo chamber" are mentioned. Is this really about defending innocent Muslims or just about making liberal/Democratic talking points?
In attacking these figures, they repeat many of the statements that their targets have made about the Islamic threats of violence, intolerance and aspects of sharia law. Yet, they cannot effectively refute them. They want to make the reader believe that talk of Islamic radicalism in American mosques, Islamic supremism, and the threat of sharia to the West are overblown and have no validity.
The writers also want you to think that the people they are singling out for blame have attacked all Muslims as people. That is a canard. Yes, I have read many comments about Muslims on the Internet that are totally intolerant, but not from the people that this report singles out.
This is not even an attempt to suppress Muslim worship, yet certain aspects of Islam-especially as a political ideology- should be open for discussion when they conflict with American values, laws, and our Constitution. This is nothing less than another left-wing attempt to smear conservatives and stifle any critical discussion of Islam. Are we also supposed to cease any critical discussion of pedophilia by Catholic priests-even though such discussion has never been accused of damning Catholics in general?
To try and discredit the critics is to say that there is no Islamic terrorism in the world, that there is no intolerance toward non-Muslims in the world, that there is no wish to implement sharia in the West, that no Muslim has ever acted out an honor-killing in America, that there is absolutely no hate and subversion being preached in any American mosque. They might as well deny 9-11 ever happened. They might as well deny Ft Hood and all the intended terrorist attacks that have been thwarted here in America-not to mention those not thwarted that happen regularly in Pakistan, Aghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, and so many other places.-all spurred by the hate that this article purports to condemn.
Anyone who is not living in a shell knows better. It doesn't apply to all Muslims and certainly not to all Muslims in America, but it applies to many-including several very prominent Islamic clerics whose hateful messages are documented in video and/or audio. Have you ever heard the sermons of Yusuf al Qaradawi? He is the number one cleric of the Muslim Brotherhood, and make no mistake, he is a virulent anti-Semite. I could list so many others, some right here in America.
Read this report carefully. If you buy into it, you must accept that there is no Islamic terrorist threat. There is no intolerance of other religions within Islam even though it is documented in the Quran and the hadith. You must accept that there are no radical Islamists in our midst who preach hate against the US, Israel, Jews and non-Muslims. You must ignore the parts of sharia law that dictate death for apostates, stoning for women who commit adultery, dhimmitude or death for non-Muslims and all the rest. You must say that we have no right to challenge that.
My impression of this report is that the true purpose is not to defend innocent, peaceful Muslims (which I also support) but to make political points against the conservative right. However, it does remind us that we must always differentiate between those Muslims who have a radical, fundamentalist agenda and those simply trying to lead their lives as best they can. To point out the legitimate concerns that we have is not to preach hate against an entire group of people. To this end, I bring up Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who recemtly committed mass murder over this issue. This report tries to make the point that he drew his inspiration from the same people the report condemns. Yet none of those people or anyone else I am aware of has applauded his act. They have universally condemned it.
The very language of the report gives it away. It has a purely political agenda.