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All faiths must face their demons

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    All faiths must face their demons September 18, 2005 http://washingtontimes.com/commentary/20050917-104941-5184r.htm Three militant neoconservative pundits
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1 4:32 PM
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      All faiths must face their demons
      September 18, 2005

      Three militant neoconservative pundits spoke vehemently against the
      Bush administration's gesture to include American Muslim leaders in
      discussions on how to deal with the rising tide of anti-Americanism
      and restore the trust and support the United States enjoyed prior to
      the missteps by the administration at the neocons' urging.

      Frank Gaffney demanded Karen Hughes, the new undersecretary of
      state for public diplomacy, not attend the Islamic Society of North
      America (ISNA) Convention (The Washington Times, Commentary section,
      Aug. 30, Page A14). Ignoring his false alarm, Mrs. Hughes met with
      Muslim leaders and discussed her ideas for bridging the deepening
      divide between the U.S. and Muslim countries.

      Mr. Gaffney warned Mrs. Hughes: "Don't go there." Joel Mowbray
      gave her the benefit of the doubt, allowing her to make one mistake
      for one time: "Given that it is highly unlikely Hughes knew exactly
      what she was walking into, she deserves the benefit of the doubt --
      this time." (The Washington Times, Sept. 1, Op-Ed, Page A23).

      Mr. Gaffney belongs to a small but vocal group of militant
      pundits, bent on maligning Muslim leaders and organizations in a bid
      to marginalize and isolate mainstream American Muslims. He joined two
      other well-known Muslim-bashers, Daniel Pipes and Mr. Mowbray, in
      demonizing ISNA and national Muslim organizations' leaders who met
      Mrs. Hughes.

      The three leveled serious charges against mainstream Muslim
      organizations, of supporting terrorism and promoting radicalism. Using
      quotes out of context, guilt by association, errors of fact, and
      innuendo, they have fed lies to the public and incited government
      officials and law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations and
      use them as a basis for further maligning of law-abiding and patriotic
      American Muslims.

      Last year, Mr. Pipes accused the Center for the Study of Islam and
      Democracy (CSID) of being "part of the militant Islamist lobby," and
      said it was "well-disguised, and has brought in all the Islamist
      trends, giving them a patent of respectability."

      After a thorough investigation of Mr. Pipes' accusations, the U.S.
      Institute of Peace (USIP) issued a statement that brought out the
      irresponsible nature of Mr. Pipes' attacks. "The Institute was aware
      of and took seriously the accusations made against CSID and some of
      the speakers at the event," wrote Kay King, USIP director of
      Congressional and Public Affairs. "These allegations were investigated
      carefully with credible private individuals and U.S. government
      agencies and found to be without merit," she added. "The public
      criticism of CSID and the speakers was found to be based on quotes
      taken out of context, guilt by association, errors of fact, and innuendo."

      Mr. Gaffney, likewise, used misinformation and errors of fact to
      justify his demands the Bush administration isolate the most inclusive
      and mainstream Muslim convention.

      He contended the Senate Finance Committee "listed ISNA as one of
      25 American Muslim organizations that 'finance terrorism and
      perpetuate violence.' " He, however, failed to disclose the Finance
      Committee never found ISNA guilty of such charges and that his
      reference relates to a letter sent by the committee chairman and the
      ranking member on Dec. 22, 2003, asking the Internal Revenue Service
      to investigate Muslim charities for possible links to terrorist
      financing. Eighteen months have passed since Feb. 20, 2004, the
      deadline set for the investigation, with no action or even a Finance
      Committee hearing on the matter.

      Mr. Mowbray, using the same tactic of half-truths, quotes out of
      context and innuendo, cited a Freedom House study that found Saudi
      publications in 12 mosques -- out of 3,500 throughout the country --
      that made bigoted references to followers of other religions. Mr.
      Mowbray omits mentioning that the Freedom House, responding to
      complaints by American Muslim leaders about the misleading title of
      the report, stressed its study was intended to uncover the bigotry of
      the Saudi publications and was never intended to implicate U.S.
      mosques. The Freedom House went a step further and invited two ISNA
      leaders to consult on its report and explore the question of religious

      These shameless attempts by Mr. Gaffney, Mr. Mowbray and Mr. Pipes
      to malign mainstream Muslim organizations and leaders are not driven
      by rational and objective considerations, but by paranoia, prejudice,
      and irrational fear of Islam and Muslims. Such irrational and
      emotional anti-Muslim postures can only confuse the public and
      confound the fight on terrorism with the fight on Islam, and hence
      plays into the hands of anti-American pundits who thrive on the
      missteps, and counterproductive actions and postures urged by Mr.
      Gaffney and his ilk.

      Mainstream American Muslims have already taken a principled and
      firm position against the senseless killings of unarmed and
      defenseless civilians. But they can dry up the swamp of extremism that
      feeds terrorist attacks only if the Jewish and Christian communities
      confront their bigots and extremists, and dry the ponds of bigotry in
      their midst.



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