“You’ve got to start shutting down the mosques that are … practicing sedition,” warned British politician Paul Weston during a session at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. “You’ve got to stop them speaking in Urdu. You’ve got to put spies in there to see what they’re saying.”
CPAC is a mainstream, Republican-allied political conference, and this year’s featured guests included House Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
But the conference also included a number of speakers who fed attendees tales of Muslims conquering Europe, infiltrating our schools, and ending Western civilization as we know it.
It began with a plenary session featuring Iowa Republican congressman Steve King, along with leading Islamophobes Jim Hanson and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
King warned of “radical Islamists in this country” entering the country illegally. He rattled off a list of Muslim-majority countries, claiming that we have “59,000 people from countries other than Mexico … illegally coming to this country. … They’re coming here to do harm.”
Hanson is the executive vice president of Frank Gaffney’s notoriously Islamophobic Center for Security Policy. He pointed to American Muslim organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Muslim Student Association chapters at universities, saying, “These guys have a plan. In their own words, they call it ‘civilization jihad.’”
Hanson said it’s “much tougher to see because they use our own freedoms and liberties against us to try and destroy our own culture from within. That’s where you see things like ‘be Muslim for a day at school,’ where they have school kids reciting a Muslim prayer that’s used for conversion to Islam. They slipped that one past a school board. Those are people who are sharing the same goals as ISIS, as al Qaeda, as Boko Haram.”
Ali, a fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard, has worked hard to reframe herself as a moderate reformer of Islam after previously comparing the religion to Nazism and calling for war on the faith itself. But she didn’t distance herself from Hanson’s likening of Muslim American schoolchildren and vicious terrorists. “I feel like literally everything has been said,” she started, complimenting her fellow panelists.
After Muhammad founded his religion in Mecca, he went to Medina and “developed a philosophy,” she said. “And that doctrine of Muhammad in Medina is the antithesis of the idea of America.”
Gaffney’s group also organized additional smaller panels afterward. At one titled “Countering the Global Jihad,” Hanson and Gaffney were joined by Weston and another far-right European thinker, Lars Hedegaard.
Weston and Hedegaard’s role was to convince attendees that Europe was being dominated by Muslim invaders and that if America did not act, it would be next.
“The English have taken on the teachings of the feminist groups and we no longer have enough children,” claimed Weston, whose claim to fame is being arrested at an anti-Muslim demonstration for blocking the steps of a public building and engaging in incitement, which the right-wing tabloid press later claimed was an arrest solely for quoting Winston Churchill. “The Islamic immigrants coming in are averaging four children per family.” He went on to claim that some families are producing 16 children because Muslim men may take up to four wives.
He claimed that Sweden was “literally a lost country,” and now the “rape capital of the world,” thanks to its policies allowing in Muslim migrants. (In 2009, about 5 percent of Swedes were identified as Muslims.)
Hedegaard, an anti-Muslim writer from Denmark, was shot at in an attempted assassination in 2013. The identity of the attacker remains unknown, but the country’s Muslim organizations immediately rallied to Hedegaard’s defense, arguing that his right to speech should not be impugned.
This show of solidarity apparently had little impact on his thinking. “Europe as we knew it is just a few years away from a complete breakdown,” he told the CPAC audience. The culprits are “millions of so-called refugees.” And he predicted “This will end in breakdown, this will end in warfare, this will end in bloodshed.”
Fear was the order of the day. One member of the audience, identifying himself as a resident of North Carolina, spoke of his fears of traveling with his family to Europe: “They always had a dream of going visiting the queen and London and all that kind of stuff. Not no more! It’s just not worth it for them to go through that and worry about that.”
Another audience member imagined warfare between Muslim migrants and the West: “I don’t think they’re going to totally roll over. And I don’t see, given our Second Amendment, I don’t see us rolling over.”
Shortly before the event, I asked Gaffney about his theory that Dearborn, Michigan, is a “no-go zone” for non-Muslims. Revealingly, Gaffney admitted that he has never even been to Dearborn. When I asked how a city with many bars is somehow off-limits for non-Muslims, Gaffney claimed I was interrupting him and cut off the interview.
CPAC 2016 is not a Donald Trump rally, or a David Duke convention. In fact, Trump is the only GOP presidential contender who didn’t attend. The sponsor list includes mainstream right-wing organizations like the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the Weekly Standard, the Washington Examiner, the National Review, Log Cabin Republicans, Young America’s Foundation, and the Charles Koch Institute.
Yet it featured speakers who were touting civilizational war against the planet’s 1.6 billion Muslims. Where are the moderate Republicans?