November 6, 2016
By Janet Tassel
When Rabbi Jonathan Hausman arranged for an event called "National Security Chaos" a few days ago at his synagogue in Stoughton, Massachusetts, he didn't expect to become the target of a fatwa.
The evening's speakers included Rep. Michele Bachmann; Frank Gaffney, Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration, and now head of the Center for Security Policy; and retired General Jerry Boykin. These folks did not meet the lofty standards of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which issued an encyclical to that effect, which in turn resulted in a petition circulated by The Islamic Society of Boston and printed in the Boston Globe. Among the delusional piffle we read the all-too-familiar PC hymns to the gods of birkstockian heaven.
As Boston-area religious and cultural leaders, we are committed to building a community that embraces people of different beliefs and practices, including our Muslim neighbors and friends….It is for this reason that we are deeply concerned to learn of an event…featuring three speakers whom the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as anti-Muslim extremists or hate group leaders….As clergy and organizational leaders seeking to cultivate a shared ethos of interreligious and cross-cultural cooperation, we the undersigned reach out and call on Congregation Ahavath Torah to revoke their invitation to these individuals, all known purveyors of vitriol and acrimony. [One day before the event!]
This fatwa was signed by "nearly 100 interfaith leaders…condemning Islamophobic speakers in MA." As always, "interfaith" means larded with rabbis, some thirty of them, who apparently have no problem lining up with well-known antisemites in an auto-da-fe against another rabbi -- the very definition of dhimmitude. Specifically, the petition targets the "three prominent anti-Muslim hate group leaders," referring to Master of Ceremonies Tom Trento, Boykin, and Gaffney.
Gaffney has even been honored by the SPLC with a slot on its latest blacklist, his Center for Security Policy identified as a "hate group" along with the Ku Klux Klan. This blacklist also includes Daniel Pipes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, David Horowitz, attorney Robert Muise, activist Pamela Geller, and Muslim reformists Walid Shoebat and Maajif Nawaz. As the editors at National Review write,
Some of those on the SPLC list are Muslims, former Muslims, and lifelong students of Islam. What they mostly have in common is that they are, broadly speaking, conservatives, or writers and activists admired by conservatives. The SPLC is so drunk on its own poisonous ideological brew that it has simply come to conflate conservatism with violent or potentially violent extremism.
Eventhe Left has awakened. As noted by Austin Ruse at Breitbart.com,
Writing in the left-wing website Counterpunch, Alexander Coburn called SPLC founder Morris Dees "king of the hate business." Coburn wrote, "Ever since 1971, U.S. Postal Service mailbags have bulged with Dees' fundraising letters, scaring dollars out of the pockets of trembling liberals aghast at his lurid depictions of hate-sodden America, in dire need of legal confrontation by the SPLC."
Further: "Writing at the Harper's Magazine blog in 2007, Ken Silverstein said, 'What [the SPLC] does best…is to raise obscene amounts of money by hyping fears about the power of [right-wing fringe] groups; hence the SPLC has become the nation's richest 'civil rights' organization."
Now, a word about The Islamic Society of Boston. According to two organizations, Americans for Peace and Tolerance and Muslims Facing Tomorrow, The Islamic Society of Boston
...was established as a key component of the U.S Muslim Brotherhood. Its founder, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, has been named by the federal government as a key Al Qaeda operative and imprisoned for almost two decades. [Its] trustees have included senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders who have repeatedly used anti-democratic, pro-terror and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
One of its original trustees was spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Yusuf Al Qaradawi. Its illustrious congregants include the Boston marathon bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers; Aafia Siddiqui, now in prison, but earlier involved in plans to carry out large-scale attacks on New York; Tarek Mehanna, also in prison for terror-related charges, and other congregants, staff and donors who are now in prison, deported, killed, or on the run.
And speaking of "trembling liberals," they were on display in a group of about forty mostly polite protesters outside the synagogue Wednesday night, many holding signs reading "Stop Profiling Muslims" or "We Welcome Refugees." Elsa, a local middle-aged Jewish woman belonging to the pro-Palestinian Jewish Voice for Peace, said she was there to "protest the three gentlemen representing hate groups that SPLC identified." And two rabbinical students from Hebrew College, Salem and Benjamin, came to object, according to Salem, to a "house of worship hosting people the SPLC had classified as hate groups, like Frank Gaffney's, whose objective here is to ignite the people." Benjamin, who wore a kippah, was "worried about having these hate-speakers, like Gaffney, a week before the election." Their rhetoric, he said, reminds him of Trump, and the date of November 2 is "provocative."
Among the Muslims was the personable John Robbins, local director of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, organizer of the protest, who begged everyone to eat the donuts he had brought. CAIR, according to federal prosecutors, is part of a radical Islamist network including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, while, according to the Anti-Defamation League, CAIR's "public statements cast Jews and Israelis as corrupt agents who control both foreign and domestic U.S. policy and are responsible for the persecution of Muslims in the U.S." But Robbins was indeed personable.
Also personable was the young Imam of the mosque in nearby Sharon, Abdul Rahman Ahmad, nattily turned out in the traditional hat known as thekofi and the gown, or thoub. Ahmad, a devoted practitioner of shari'a law, said he came out to "meet and greet," and to show that Muslims are "just like other people." He too is disturbed by Gaffney because of Gaffney's attacks on shari'a. He once saw a video….Lisa, a thin, mournful Muslim, said that people say that Muslims "smell funny." She certainly did not. And there was also the elderly gentleman, Suleiman, who has three sons in the armed services, and another local Muslim, Sara, who said she was afraid that the speakers inside were "hateful" and "divisive," and like others, expressed her dismay that the event was held this close to the election.
Here indeed was a vexing problem: The message they carried was misguided, mistaken, dangerous and completely false, but many of the protesters, however misinformed, were in fact quite likable. (That quality must have seduced all those rabbis out in left field.) It was time to hurry inside, past a phalanx of Stoughton police, to hear the "hate speech," also known as the truth.
The crowd inside was sizeable and enthusiastic, as Rabbi Hausman's audiences tend to be. MC Trento immediately disabused us of our expectation of hate speech. "We're hear to talk about security, because we love," he said. "We love our people. It's the Islamists who hate, none of whom would even come in here to debate."
Michele Bachmann too spoke of love -- her love of Israel. But she also spoke of the terrible dangers to Israel of Obama's Iran deal. And she spoke of prescience, how Frank Gaffney came her six years ago to talk about Huma Abedin: How in the world did Huma get a security clearance? Relatedly, Bachmann filed a bill designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist entity. For this she was destroyed by her own party, led by John McCain.
Gen. Boykin took up the refrain: "A World War Two saying went, "A soldier does not fight because he hates the enemy in front of him. He fights because he loves those behind him." The thrust of Gen. Boykin's message was the poor shape of our military. He is appalled by the "social experiments and diversity training" that are devastating our military. Indeed, Boykin said he has been working with Trump; "I told him we must bring up genuine warriors, and get rid of the entire "grossly incompetent" top echelon.
Then Frank Gaffney took the stage, his ears no doubt ringing. "There is, for example outside, a problem that makes this conversation very important." He compared what he and the others were doing to Paul Revere riding to Lexington and Concord crying, "The enemy is coming!" "We are the patriots, and anyone who calls us haters is enabling the enemy."
"Who is the enemy? Something called 'violent extremism?' Something called 'terrorism?' "Shari'a," he continued "is a totalitarian ideology, for 1300 years the definition of a doctrine to achieve Islamic triumph, the body of law designed to control everyone's life until they submit. He spoke of the Islamic injunction to migrate, to colonize, which goes back to Mohammed. "The SPLC says we are making all that up, but just look at Europe."
He spoke of the shari'a-compliant tax, a trillion-dollar industry. And finally, he said, "If the people outside can keep people away from this synagogue, they will have succeeded, and we will not survive."