Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and Frank Gaffney have long argued that the Obama administration and the “liberal media” have sold out to the Muslim Brotherhood. Saturday, all three redoubled their allegations that conservative leaders are guilty of the same.
The trio appeared on an unofficial CPAC panel that Salon.com called “so fringy that they were not technically invited to the conference.” The panel was part of a broader program, “The Uninvited: A Session of Controversial Speakers and Topics,” organized and hosted by the Breitbart News Network.
Organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) went to great lengths to ensure minimal embarrassment by controversial players in the conservative movement, but the “Uninvited” panel put them front and center and the panelists did not hold back. Geller embraced her reputation as a provocateur and said that CPAC board member Suhail Khan is more of a threat than an accused terrorist killed by an American drone strike in Yemen.
“Am I saying that Suhail Khan is as bad as al-Awlaki? He’s worse,” she said. “Listen to me. He’s worse because look what he’s done to this conference.” Defying the moderator Steve Bannon’s request to refrain from personal attacks, Spencer blamed the influence of Khan and and leading conservative Grover Norquist as the reason he, Geller and the other panelists were not invited to participate in CPAC 2013. Speaking of Norquist and Khan he said, “What I do know is that they’re completely in bed with the same people Barack Obama is listening to to craft the Muslim Brotherhood-positive policy of the United States and domestic policy as well.”
As a former U.S. attorney general, Michael Mukasey may not seem to be as much of a fringe character as the other participants, but he fit right in. He accused the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) of being branches of the Muslim Brotherhood and said both groups are pressuring the government to go soft on radical Islam.
Mukasey, who served during George W. Bush’s presidency, said the Bush administration was just as guilty as the current White House of being soft on violent extremists and drew laughs when he reminded audience members that Bush referred to Islam as a “religion of peace.”
The panel also featured Nina Shea, co-author of Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide; Daniel Goure, Vice President of the Lexington Institute; and Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA.
Jenks’ appearance alongside unapologetic anti-Muslim activists such as Gaffney, Spencer and Geller represents another step toward closing the gap between the anti-immigrant network and the anti-Muslim movement.
Conflict and confusion were on full display at the event. The question-and-answer session even included a testy exchange between birther Orly Taitz and Geller before Taitz reportedly stormed out.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, who has worked with Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy, looked on from her near-front-row seat. “I don’t worry so much about the fanaticism of the enemy,” Geller said. “I worry about the confusion on our side. That is the problem,” And with that, she threw her hands up in the air and concluded her remarks.