In reply to Brenda Walker, Frank Gaffney backtracks on stopping Islamic immigration and endorses a phony moderate Muslim

Earlier in the year, a handful of establishment conservatives seemed to endorse Geert Wilders’s positions on what to do about Islam, including stopping Muslim immigration. One of these conservatives was Frank Gaffney, of whom I wrote last March:

In a piece defending Geert Wilders from the conservatives who have attacked him as a “demagogue” and a “fascist,” Frank Gaffney writes:

Mr. Wilders also seeks an end to mass immigration from Islamic countries, expulsion of criminal immigrants and a halt to further construction of mosques. Clearly, in some quarters, these are seen as controversial proposals. But they reflect a harsh demographic reality: Failure to take such steps will inevitably condemn free societies like the Netherlands to submission at the hands of swelling numbers of Shariah-adherent Muslims.

This is the first time ever that Gaffney has indicated that Muslim immigration in and of itself is a mortal threat to the West and should be stopped. We see once again how a position that Islam-critical conservatives have been unwilling to take, and have avoided like the plague, they are willing to take when a prominent figure is its main standard bearer. One by one, Wilders is moving American conservatives away from the incoherent and futile stance on Islam in which they have long been stuck.

[end of March 2010 entry]

I pointed out repeatedly at the time that the apparent conversion of Gaffney, Roger Kimball, Paul of Powerline and maybe a few other mainstream conservatives to the Wilders position was a very hopeful development and showed Wilders’s unique ability to move people to a realistic stance on Islam they had never previously considered. However, I also said that the real test of a change of mind on the part of these conservatives would be whether they would embrace the anti-Islam immigration position in their own right, in their own words, without reference to Wilders and without their support for him as a cover.

Now we have an answer, and it’s not encouraging. Brenda Walker, the intrepid writer at Vdare, recently asked both Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Frank Gaffney about Muslim immigration. Here is her transcription (and here is audio file) of her exchange with Gaffney in the Q&A session following his talk on “Sharia Law—A Threat to America?” at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on April 28.

The first question asks, “Should America end Muslim immigration for the duration of Islam’s war against the West?”

GAFFNEY: Well, interesting you ask, isn’t it given that this city has just decided to boycott Arizona for trying to implement federal immigration law. Federal immigration law!

There are those who believe that Muslims should be collectively punished for the sorts of things I’ve just described. I hope you’ve taken what I said at the outset and repeated at the end as my personal view which is that I think we should not be encouraging the admission to this country of people who adhere to and are therefore obliged to promote sharia. I think most of you Muslims who have come to this country, at least until the State Department started bringing in large numbers of sharia-adherent Muslims as refugees, most Muslims came to this country trying to get away from sharia. We have different numbers been given, perhaps two million, maybe more, most of whom are professionals, most of whom practice their faith, if they do at all, practice it in a peaceable tolerant way that is consistent with, and I think, intended to be fully compatible with our Constitution. I personally have no objection to having them in this country at all and think they are part of the solution.

I would like to see them more visible; I would like to see them more vocal. There’s one I know of who’s both visible and vocal, a marvelous man by the name of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, who hails from that state you all are boycotting at the moment, Arizona. He is one of the few who has had unbelievable courage to stand up and say pretty much what I’ve just said. He’s been ostracized for it. He has his life threatened, because after all that is apostasy, according to the sharia adherents, but I personally think you don’t want to leave those people out of the solution.

But I think there’s a lot to be said for saying, as we did at the time, we don’t want communists immigrating to this country. We don’t want sharia-adherent totalitarians here either.

Walker comments:

Huh? So which is it?

Gaffney had just spoken for 30 minutes warning that hostile Islam is a major threat to the survival of all we hold dear in the West—yet he can’t simply say “Yes! Stop immigration!” He has to wiggle and apologize.

How does he think sharia is getting here?

Plus he could name only one admirable Muslim—and that man is “ostracized” for speaking about Islam’s retro nature.

How should we sort out the “good” Muslims from the sharia-adherent ones, assuming that’s what Gaffney has in mind? Lying to promote Islam (aka taqiyya) is believed by sharia adherents to be moral behavior. So it’s not like a State Department official could question a prospective newbie and expect an honest response.

And what is this “punishment” Gaffney mentions? Immigration to America—or any country—is a privilege, not a right.

Can I, a Presbyterian-American woman, immigrate to Pakistan, or China? Certainly not—yet they expect to be admitted here in the millions. But we cultural realists are castigated for drawing a line against insane diversity.

To top it off, Gaffney praised Geert Wilders only a month previous in his column for recognizing the demographic danger to the Netherlands:

Geert Wilders Deserves Praise for Attacking Sharia, Newsmax, March 15, 2010

“Wilders also seeks an end to mass immigration from Islamic countries, expulsion of criminal immigrants and a halt to further construction of mosques. Clearly, in some quarters, these are seen as controversial proposals. But they reflect a harsh demographic reality: Failure to take such steps inevitably will condemn free societies such as the Netherlands to submission at the hands of swelling numbers of Sharia-adherent Muslims.”

As if the same rules don’t apply to the United States!

Gaffney’s response to Walker is deeply disappointing. First, by abandoning his previously expressed apparent agreement with Wilders’s view that Muslim immigration must be stopped, he shows that he only supports Wilders as a person and doesn’t agree with his policies. His idea of not encouraging the immigration of sharia-believing Muslims is impracticable, as Walker points out and as Robert Spencer himself admitted in 2007, after previously advocating the screening of Muslim immigrants for jihadist tendencies. Spencer came to the conclusion that we simply lack the ability to distinguish jihadists from non-jihadists, and therefore the only recourse was to stop all immigration from Muslim countries, though, unfortunatelly, Spencer has failed to follow through on that position.

Second, and perhaps even more worrisome, Gaffney upholds Zuhdi Jasser (!!!) as the model Muslim moderate. Jasser is the prototypical deluded/deceptive moderate whose message is that moderate Islam is the real Islam and that radical Islam is not the real Islam and therefore is not really a problem—a position disproved by the fact, mentioned by Walker, that Jasser is treated as a pariah in the Muslim community for criticizing radicals. So who is in charge of the Islamic community and thus represents the real Islam? Obviously it’s the radicals. Yet Jasser, with Gaffney’s blessing, ignores these evident facts and goes on gassing about how the real Islam is his own Westernized, secularized, assimilated Islam. He thus serves the function of putting Westerners to sleep about the Islam menace. That Gaffney is promoting Jasser at this late date is appalling. It means that, notwithstanding his increasingly urgent warnings about Islam over the last couple of years, he is still toiling in what I described in 2007 as a massive disconnect on the Islam issue. He is unable to think coherently on the subject, for the simple reason that he is unwilling to state that Islam itself is the problem. So he keeps writing article after article about the dread danger of Islam in the West, while he simultaneously tells audiences that the majority of Muslims are desirable and we should continue letting them immigrate en masse into our society. The net effect of these contradictory statements is to leave conservative audiences in hopeless intellectual confusion and paralysis on the subject—as Gaffney is himself, notwithstanding the fact that he is considered a hard-liner.

See my 2007 article on the screening and discussion of Frank Gaffney’s film on Islam, in which I refer to Jasser (because I didn’t know his name at the time) as the Moderate Muslim. See also my later pieces on Jasser here and here.

D. from Seattle writes:

Speaking of moderate Muslims, or moderate Islam, Serge Trifkovic years ago came up with the best and the most concise definition I know of. Here it is, maybe not to the letter but pretty close.

“Moderate Islam is like a unicorn—everybody knows what it looks like but nobody has ever seen it.”

LA replies:

That’s amusing.

Of course they could say that a moderate looks like Zuhdi Jasser. The problem is not that such moderates don’t exist, but that they don’t and never will represent Islam or lead Islam; and, worse, that the only function they serve is to help keep Westerners in a state of denial about the Islam menace. I consider it a disgrace that Gaffney commends Jasser.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 15, 2010 12:57 PM | Send

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