During the 2013 David Horowitz Freedom Center Restoration Weekend last month, anti-Muslim activists joined conspiracy-driven politicians on a panel regarding Iran, further proving the willingness of elected officials to associate with those on the fringe. The panel consisted of Congressmen Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) along with Islamophobes Robert Spencer, Erick Stackelbeck, and Caroline Glick, all of whom are known for their bigoted attitudes and rhetoric towards Muslims.
The panel discussed the “Genocidal Axis,” which, according to them, is the alleged alliance between the global Muslim Brotherhood movement and the Iranian regime. Each panelist took turns explaining the history of this alliance and the threat it poses to the Middle East and the Western world. They lamented how these groups are working tirelessly to usher in the “global jihad,” and how the Obama administration continues to enable them to do so. The recent surge of criticism towards Iran comes after the country’s historic nuclear deal with the United States, where it was decided there would be no new sanctions imposed on Iran if they agreed to halt their uranium enrichment plan for six months. Those on the aforementioned panel saw the recent deal as an opportunity to stir-up fear about Iran and reaffirm their eccentric theories that President Obama is in league with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Those who sat on the Freedom Center’s panel have histories of streamlining anti-Muslim conspiracies and espousing Islamophobic rhetoric, bringing into question their credibility as reputable sources concerning foreign policy and the Muslim Brotherhood. Reps. Gohmert and Franks are best known for their efforts in teaming up with three other members of Congress, including Michele Bachmann, and leading a smear campaign against Hillary Clinton’s long-time aide, Huma Abedin. Franks and Gohmert, along with the three other Republicans claimed Abedin was a Muslim Brotherhood operative who had infiltrated the U.S. Government to influence policy and ordered an investigation of her. Along with leading character assassination campaigns on aides, Gohmert regularly makes a mockery of Congress by taking to the House Floor to accuse government agencies of working with and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.
The other panelists are also known for their fear-mongering towards Muslims and Islam. Robert Spencer, one of the most prominent figures in the Islamophobia movement, is a leading propagandist in regard to the Muslim Brotherhood. Spencer runs a blog paid for by the Freedom Center where he posts anti-Muslim sentiments and biased views on Islam. Panelist and Christian Broadcasting Network correspondent, Erick Stackelbeck, is also known to take part in furthering conspiracy theories, and has gone on record making disparaging remarks about Muslims in the United States and Obama’s supposed relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. The remaining panelist, Caroline Glick, is the deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post and is known for her unrealistic depictions of Arabs and Muslims and questionable attitude towards Palestinians.
The recent panel only confirmed elected officials willingness to work with prominent Islamophobes in order to whip-up controversy and spread fear about Iran and the Middle East. Their reckless accusations and conspiracy theories add no merit to complex foreign affairs and continue to have no place within our political discourse.