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Steve Emerson's Fantastic Obsession

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    Obsession with slandering Islam and Muslims Louay Safi 7/3/2007 http://www.iviews.com/Articles/articles.asp?ref=IV0707-3306 Steve Emerson s Fantastic Obsession
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 7, 2007
      Obsession with slandering Islam and Muslims
      Louay Safi

      Steve Emerson's Fantastic Obsession
      What would an investigative reporter turned director of a private
      intelligence operation, who is increasingly obsessed with proving that
      mainstream Muslim American organizations are radical, do when he fails
      to find evidence to support his obsession? Human decency and Ethical
      conduct dictate that he give up his obsession and admit that he was
      wrong. Steve Emerson, the director of the shadowy Investigative
      Project, thinks otherwise. Rather than doing the right thing and give
      up his bigoted endeavor, he decides to use fantasy to forge evidence
      and prolong his compulsive obsession.

      Emerson belongs to a network of anti-Muslim pundits who, driven by
      bigotry and exclusivist ideology, are bent on marginalizing Muslim
      Americans, and using unscrupulous tactics to distort the image of
      Muslims and instill fear of Islam and Muslims in the American public.
      Their strategy is to repeat their unfounded accusations against
      mainstream Muslim organizations so as to create a public record and
      then use it to incite federal officials and agencies against Muslim
      Americans. The idea is that if they can repeat a lie long enough, and
      use different media outlets to propagate their accusations, the lie in
      time becomes "believable" and takes the semblance of "truth."
      Obviously, they have not heeded Abraham Lincoln's wise advice: "You
      can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people
      some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

      In a recent article published in the National Review Online (June 28,
      2007) under the title "Radical Outreach: Bush coddles American
      apologists for radical Islam," Emerson lashes out against President
      Bush for appointing a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic
      Conference (OIC). Emerson made it clear that he resents Bush's
      initiative, which is aimed at mending fences with the Muslim world,
      and fauls OIC for being critical of Israel's treatment of the
      Palestinians under military occupation.

      Emerson was particularly upset that President Bush distinguished
      between Muslims in general and fringe extremist groups whose attacks
      on innocent civilians have been condemned by Muslim communities
      throughout the world, and by mainstream Muslim organizations. By
      making a distinction between ordinary Muslims and extremists, Emerson
      proclaims, Bush advances the "very talking point [that] is the refuge
      of America's supposedly [sic] mainstream Muslim organizations like the
      Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public
      Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Islamic Society of North American (ISNA)."

      To undermine the distinction between mainstream and Muslim extremists,
      he goes to the website of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
      and picks up a news release that was published in 2004. The news
      release reported then the decision of the US Navy Chief of Chaplains
      to remove an article by Salman Rushdie that was intended to instigate
      Muslims against the West and westerners against Islam. I wrote to Rear
      Admiral Louis V. Iasiello, then the Navy Chief of Chaplains, asking
      him to reconsider the decision to publish such a divisive article of
      the website of the Navy Corps. Chaplain Iaseillo realized that it was
      a mistake to republish the article on the Navy website and order its

      Emerson takes the news release and turns its content upside down, and
      without any ifs, maybes, or buts he attributes to me the divisive
      argument advanced by Rushdie. Emerson writes: "In 2004, Louay Safi, a
      top ISNA official, went further, writing that the 'assertion by 'world
      leaders' that the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam is nothing
      but a piece of propaganda and disinformation that was meant to appease
      Western Muslims and to maintain the coalition against terrorism.'"

      Emerson ignores the context of the above statement and omits a key
      phrase that shows clearly that the quoted argument was that of Rushdie
      and not my own as he claims. Here is the paragraph which Emerson
      misquotes in its totality:

      "Salman Rushdie's article 'Yes, This is About Islam,' originally
      published in New York Times, argues that the assertion by 'world
      leaders' that the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam is nothing
      but a piece of propaganda and disinformation that was meant to appease
      Western Muslims and to maintain the coalition against terrorism."

      Emerson representation of my position is not simply an error of
      omission, but a gross distortion of my words and a malicious attempt
      to put a spin on my statement so as to support his thesis of assigning
      anti-American views to Muslim American leaders, scholars, and
      organizations. My correct position is in complete opposition to what
      Emerson presented and is not easy to miss as it is spelled out in the
      subsequent paragraph. Here is my response to Rushdie's argument:

      "In his letter, Dr. Safi pointed out that the article not only insult
      the overwhelming majority of Muslims worldwide, particularly American
      soldiers of the Islamic faith, who every day put their lives on the
      line . . . but its cynicism cannot be easily missed as it accuses the
      commander in chief, and virtually all senior members of the
      government, of duplicity."

      Mr. Emerson has in the past used innuendo and half-truths to malign
      mainstream Muslim individuals and organizations, but he has recently
      reached a new low as he is now willing to use fraud and fabrication to
      undermine Muslim Americans. His unscrupulous attacks and insinuations
      against Muslims in general and Muslim Americans in particular must be
      condemned by every American of conscience, as his hatful and divisive
      message would, if left unchecked, confuse the public and undermine the
      efforts to isolate extremism and defeat terrorism.

      Dr. Louay M. Safi writes and lectures on issues relating to Islam,
      American Muslims, democracy, human rights, leadership, and world
      peace. He is the author of eight books and numerous papers, including
      Tensions and Transitions in the Muslim word, published by University
      Press of America, 2003. His commentaries are available on his blog:



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