During its national conference this week in Washington, D.C., ACT! for America is holding events on Capitol Hill for the grassroots Anti-Islam/-Muslim organization’s chapter leaders and activists to meet with their congressional representatives. Additionally, some of ACT!’s allies in the House spoke to ACT! members during a “legislative briefing” where reps discussed various national security legislation they are involved with and lauded the ACT! members in attendance. Shortly after the briefing, an ACT!-honored congressman went on to condone bombing Muslim institutions and holy sites in response to a hypothetical attack.
The outrageous position was endorsed by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) during the conference’s awards luncheon. This year, ACT! presented Duncan with its “Patriot Award.” After his acceptance speech, an ACT! member in attendance proclaimed a need for “mutually assured destruction” should the United States be subject to a nuclear attack, citing Egypt’s Al-Azhar University and the city of Mecca as targets for nuclear retaliation. Duncan began his response emphatically saying, “I agree with you,” and then attempted to change the conversation’s direction by discussing the importance of the U.S. Constitution.
Duncan’s response is reminiscent of former Rep. Tom Tancredo who once similarly designated Mecca and other holy sites as possible targets for retaliation. By entertaining, let alone condoning, the idea of wiping Islam’s most holy site off the face of the planet, Rep. Duncan has certainly earned himself a spot among the House’s most extreme members – the makings for a perfect ally for the extremist ACT! for America.
ACT! for America serves as one of the primary vehicles driving anti-Muslim animus in the country by being at the forefront of nearly all of the so-called “counter-jihad” movement’s battles against the supposed threat all Muslims pose to the country. This includes the persistent battle for needless “American Laws for American Courts” state-level legislation, an initiative conceived primarily to focus on the conspiracy of Islamic Sharia Law being implemented in America. Other ACT! members also played a prominent role in protests of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” and, more recently, protests of a Tennessee forum in which protesters cheered at the mention of a mosque burning.
Having appeared at ACT! conferences in the past alongside other nativist members of the House, Duncan’s latest work with ACT! is unsurprising. It should, however, be noted that few members of Congress have done as much to help the organization. ACT! President Brigitte Gabriel revealed to the audience that Duncan was responsible for securing the Capitol Building’s auditorium as the venue for the legislative briefing.
Others that spoke during the briefing include Reps. Rohrabacher (R-CA), Franks (R-AZ), Lamborn (R-CO), Wolf (R-VA), Blackburn (R-TN), Pompeo (R-KS), and Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The key attraction for the crowd, though, was the House’s two most notable nativists: Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA). Their presence at the event delighted attendees as the two spoke about the Muslim Brotherhood supposedly infiltrating the government and a need to repeal birthright citizenship, respectively.
With the presence of these congressmen and women at its national conference, ACT! has illustrated its influence among a small group of lawmakers in the House. The organization will only work to increase this number of allies. Lawmakers and citizens alike must recognize the extremist motivations of the organization as well as those in Congress that already stand beside them.