CAIR Forms an Outpost at Georgetown U
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) "will always hold a very, very special place in my heart until the day I die," declared Arsalan Iftikhar on April 1 at CAIR-Oklahoma's annual awards banquet in Oklahoma City. The commentator's affection for the Hamas-derived, Islamist CAIR has now landed him a position at Georgetown University's fount of Islamist propaganda, the anti-"Islamophobia" Bridge Initiative.
Iftikhar will fit right in at Bridge, a "multi-year research project" of Georgetown's Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). Bridge's claim "to fulfill Thomas Jefferson's dream of a 'well-informed citizenry'" is laughable to anyone familiar with ACMCU's Potemkin village of academic integrity. Past ACMCU speakers have included 9/11 Truthers, while the center disinvited an Egyptian neo-Nazi only after public outcry.
With Iftikhar's hire, Bridge/ACMCU becomes effectively a branch of CAIR, as this self-proclaimed "Muslim Guy" worked with CAIR beginning in 2000 while in law school and then served as CAIR's national legal director until 2007. At CAIR he formed relationships with other organizational leaders, including his fellow banquet speaker and "dear brother" Hassan Shibly, a radical Israel-hater and Hamas- and Hezb'allah-supporter. Such are the less than pacific associations of Iftikhar, a "proud American Muslim pacifist."
Reminiscent of the Soviet Union's savvy spokesman Vladimer Pozner, Iftikhar has functioned as an Islamism apologist whose sophistic excuses mask threats with a benign visage. He strains to suggest that disproportionate attention to terrorism exaggerates jihadist violence, which he claims are merely isolated acts. There is a "double standard that exists today where terrorism only applies to when brown Muslim men commit an act of mass murder," he stated at a 2016 Newseum panel in Washington, D.C.
Thus, Iftikhar asserted without evidence that Robert Dear, a bizarre man who killed three in a 2015 assault on a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic and was later declared incompetent at trial, had a "Christianist ideology." Iftikhar himself had earlier written that Dear was "deranged," even while wondering why his crime "was never called Christian terrorism or domestic terrorism." Similarly, following the 2015 Paris Charlie Hebdo jihadist massacre, Iftikhar, speaking to CNN's Don Lemon, employed the canard that the Ku Klux Klan is a "Christianist organization." He also falsely claimed that 2011 Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik described himself in his deranged 15,000-word manifesto as a "soldier of Christianity" while omitting that Breivik hoped to enlist "Christian atheists" in his cause.
By contrast, Iftikhar sought to disabuse Lemon of any association of Islam with the Charlie Hebdo killings, stating that "bringing religion into it at all is actually serving the purposes of the terrorists." Despite numerous worldwide precedents of lethal Islamic blasphemy doctrines, he laughably claimed that the killings were "against any normative, mainstream teaching of Islam" and involved "irreligious criminals." Iftikhar maintained that Islam's seventh-century prophet Muhammad "was attacked and defamed many times in his life and there was not one time that he told people to take retribution," notwithstanding contrary Islamic accounts.
Iftikhar's whitewashes extend beyond Charlie Hebdo. To Lemon's citation of a surveyed sixteen percent of French citizens sympathizing with the genocidal Islamic State, Iftikhar contradictorily claimed that "you can have sympathy for an ideology and not support the mass murder of people." He has previously praised the radical Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi as "one of the most famous Muslim scholars in Cairo, Egypt" while denying his documented support for suicide bombing.
Furthermore, Iftikhar utilized the ubiquitous, deceptive, out-of-context interpretation of Quran 5:32 to claim that "murder has no religion" in the wake of the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas jihadist massacre. Responding to the 2014 abduction of Nigerian Christian girls by the jihadist group Boko Haram, he asked, "Boko Haram, have you read the Quran lately?" and asserted that Islam has no well documented doctrine of sex slavery (yet see here and here). His ignorance would surprise his Bridge Initiative Steering Committee colleague, Georgetown professor Jonathan Brown, who has scandalously justified Islam's history of sex slavery.
Iftikhar's biases encompass Israel, against which he made the usual baseless charges of "war crimes" during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead Gaza military campaign. He equivocated while perfunctorily condemning the Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza that precipitated Cast Lead: "This catastrophic strategic blunder should bring utter shame upon the house of Hamas for needlessly picking a fight with 'the neighborhood bully.'"
Nothing can top Iftikhar's racist derision of former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. He "might be trying to scrub some of the brown off of his skin as he runs to the right in a Republican presidential exploratory bid," Iftikhar ranted in a statement that got him banned from MSNBC. Meanwhile, he has impugned conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer for the completely fact-based "ridiculous assertion" that "no one is starving in Gaza."
Iftikhar adds a trophy to the Bridge/ACMCU rogue's gallery of Islamism's "honor brigade." ACMCU's director, the humorless Brown, is a genuine Islamist surrounded by fellow travelers among his Georgetown professor colleagues, such as Jocelyne Cesari, John Esposito, and Tamara Sonn. ACMCU is thereby transforming from a nest of apologists for Islamists worldwide to an active cell of Muslim Brotherhood-connected apparatchiks.
In Georgetown, CAIR has secured a prized spot in the heart of the nation's capital for exerting an outsized influence on lawmakers, policymakers, and the national media. America's national security will weaken proportionally.
Andrew E. Harrod is a Campus Watch Fellow, freelance researcher, and writer who holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project. Follow him on Twitter at @AEHarrod.