National Group Activity
Western Conservative Summit (WCS) features Frank Gaffney: A mix of establishment, conservative and far-right figures headlined this year’s WCS in Denver, Colorado on June 8 and 9. As Hatewatch pointed out earlier last month, “The WCS has been a forum for anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant oratory in the past, and this year looks to be no different.” High-profile anti-Muslim figure Frank Gaffney, who runs the Center for Security Policy* spoke at the event, indulging in conspiracy theories about “refujihad” and Muslims’ “demographic jihad” to “outbreed non-Muslims.” During Gaffney’s presentation he also implied that a coterie of political bodies, social media companies and civil rights organizations — including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League, Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter and the European Union — were “the leading edge of civilization jihad in America and worldwide.”
ACT for America* attempts to expand to college campuses: ACT recently launched a new project called “Campus Hate Watch” to “expose and challenge college or university employees who discriminate against student’s (sic) First Amendment rights and spread hateful propaganda inside the classroom.” ACT claims it will be monitoring faculty who are supposedly spewing “anti-Americanism” rhetoric and “anti-Semitism.” The group makes no specific mention of challenging anti-Muslim hate, which it has a long historyof fomenting. This is not the first time ACT has tried to expand its work to college campuses. In 2014, ACT attempted to launch student chapters on college campuses as a “counterweight” to the Muslim Student Association.
Reaction to White House’s Iftar dinner: Some American Muslim groups, leaders and community members said if invited, they would not attend the White House’s Iftar dinner that took place on June 6. This was in response to President Trump’s draconian policies like the Muslim ban. Meanwhile, anti-Muslim figures criticized Trump for saying favorable things about Islam during the event, such as “Iftars mark the coming together of families and friends to celebrate a timeless message of peace, clarity and love.” Hugh Fitzgerald, a contributor to Jihad Watch*, claimed in a June 8 blog that Trump’s Iftar speech shows he either needs “a re-education on the subject of Islam” or that he was lying and practicing his own version of taqiyya, an obscure and misunderstood Islamic concept that is popular among the far-right who claim it gives Muslims free reign to lie about their nefarious intentions. “Some will still find his remarks on Islam unforgivable,” Fitzgerald wrote. “I’m inclined to think that Trump thought it was okay to practice his own form of taqiyya, offering a modicum of praise of the faith where none was due.” Three days later, during a June 11 episode of his “Understanding the Threat” radio show, former FBI agent turned anti-Muslim conspiracist John Guandolo called for Trump’s Iftar dinner speech writer to be fired, saying “this is a step backwards.” “I don’t know what in the world the president is talking about. Islam does not celebrate love the way we understand love … Islam does not actually teach love.” Guandolo heads the anti-Muslim hate group Understanding the Threat*.
John Bolton’s earnings: On June 11, the White House released financial disclosures of over two dozen staffers, including National Security Adviser John Bolton. According to The Washington Post, Bolton earned $2.2 million in 2017, and $155,000 of it came from the Gatestone Institute, an organization known for spreading anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. Bolton served as chairman of Gatestone before joining the Trump administration.