Running Against Islam

Every political season has its hot-button issues. There’s race, abortion, lunar colonies. But the hottest hot-button issue these days, judging from comments by Republican presidential hopefuls as well as what happened during the 2010 mid-term elections, is Islam.

Islam dominated the headlines during the summer of 2010. Remember Terry Jones and his pledge to burn the Qur’an? Or those persistent rumors of President Barack Obama’s Muslim faith? Plus, of course, that controversy over Park51, the Islamic cultural center planned for lower Manhattan. Those 2010 elections became a litmus test for how a lot of politicians stood on Islam. An embarrassing number of them are against it.

Although they flirt with racism, sexism, and homophobia at their own risk, politicians indulge in anti-Islamic sentiment with near impunity.

One reason for that is the antipathy that nearly half of Americans feel toward Islam. According to a September 2011 study from the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute, 47 percent of Americans believe that Islam doesn’t jibe with American values. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to hold this view.

But the real dividing line runs right through the Republican Party. If you watch Fox News or belong to the tea party, according to that study, you’re primed to see Islam as a threat. As a result, the presidential hopefuls have used Islam to mark their political territory and fire up their base.

Newt Gingrich, who once compared the Park51 organizers to Nazis, has waged a long campaign against the putative threat of sharia law in the United States. Yet virtually no one in the small Muslim-American community supports replacing U.S. laws with Islamic law. Rick Santorum, meanwhile, has argued that Islam hasn’t generated a concept of equality and that Muslims don’t worship the Judeo-Christian God, even though equality is central to Islam and “Allah” in the Qur’an refers to the God of Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

Only Ron Paul has forthrightly rejected Islamophobia. He even connects the anti-Islamic sentiment that’s rife at home with the wars U.S. wages against majority-Muslim countries.

So far, Mitt Romney has largely remained above the fray. He often resorts to carefully couched phrases like “Islam is not an inherently violent faith.” But the man who has changed his position on so many issues may well be laying the groundwork for another flip-flop.

Walid Phares, a right-wing pundit and prominent Islamophobe, is one of Romney’s advisors. And the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future is masterminded by Larry McCarthy, the attack ad specialist. McCarthy not only designed the Willie Horton spot that swung the 1988 presidential race in George H.W. Bush’s favor; he also put together an error-laced ad about Park51 that nearly deep-sixed Iowa Democrat Rep. Bruce Baley in his 2010 reelection bid.

It’s not just the Republicans. Despite his effort to reset U.S. relations with the Islamic world, many of Obama’s policies have infuriated Muslims. Whether it’s the wars that generate civilian casualties who are invariably Muslim, the proxy detentions of Muslim-Americans by other countries, or the expansion of the surveillance of Muslim-Americans at home, his administration has worked hard not to appear “weak on Islam.” Add in worsening relations with Iran, and you’ve got a toxic combination.

Certainly, the economy remains the key campaign issue. But as the Republican hopefuls sharpen their attacks on each other and prepare for a showdown with Obama in the fall, don’t be surprised if Islam becomes as defining a political issue as communism was during the Cold War. If politicians push back against this new McCarthyism, we could avoid a repeat of the ugly Islamophobia of 2010. But thanks to no-holds-barred advertising and lots of it, not to mention a pervasive lack of understanding about the world’s second-largest religion, the hot-button issue of Islam might just get a lot hotter.

Other Words, February 27, 2012

 

Islamophobic Contest, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib


8 Comments

  1. It is hardly believable to state that Professor Walid Phares, the only author who predicted the Arab Spring in his book titled ‘The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East’ is an Islamophobe, let alone a “leading one.” Phares is an adviser to a number of Muslim-Democratic groups across the region from Sudan to Algeria, Syria and Iran. He has been described as a hero to Muslim liberals. While it is true that Islamist lobbies criticize him on the ground of supporting secular Muslim groups, the latter consider him as an asset to democratic Muslim communities. Professor Phares by serving as an adviser to Governor Romney insures that no Islamophobia is allowed while making sure the US will support democracy seeking forces in Muslim majority countries.

  2. Thank you for your comment, but I respectfully disagree. Phares was aligned with the Phalangists in Lebanon during the civil war; he tends to lump all “Islamists” together as Salafists and jihadists; he has worked with the Clarion Fund and its notorious The Third Jihad film. I’m not sure why his ability to predict the Arab Spring proves that he’s not an Islamophobe. I didn’t say he was stupid. I didn’t say that he was an opponent of democracy or liberalism. I simply said that he is an Islamophobe. In my book, Crusade 2.0, you can read a more detailed analysis of Islamophobia.

  3. Meleagris Gallopavo

    John Feffer is by no means an objective commentator on Dr. Phares’ appointment by Mitt Romney as a senior advisor on the Middle East. Feffer definitely has a “dog in the hunt” and adds his voice to those of several “digital assassins” from the pro-jihad lobby that have been rabidly attacking Professor Phares in the blogosphere ever since the former Massachusetts Governor made him a member of his senior national security team. Feffer is just another member of the pack who has it out for Dr. Phares because the latter’s appointment by Romney threatens to blow their cover and disembowel their seditious enterprise.

    Feffer is Co-Director of the Foreign Policy in Focus Project of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), America’s oldest leftwing think tank. The uber-left IPS has been an ardent supporter of Communist and anti-American causes around the world since its inception in 1963. IPS was founded using seed money from the Samuel Rubin Foundation which is named after its founder, Samuel Rubin (1901-1978). Rubin was an avowed socialist and a member of the Soviet Communist International (“Comintern”) (a.k.a. “The Third International”) (1919–1943), an international communist organization founded in Moscow in March 1919. The Comintern sought to fight “by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State.” (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Comintern)

    In an article dated November 7, 2010 entitled, “The Lies of Islamophobia,” posted on IPS’ website (http://www.ips-dc.org/articles/the_lies_of_islamophobia), Feffer casts the crusades in the typical mythological PC lore, as unprovoked attacks by Europeans against the Islamic world and an early harbinger of West’s predatory opportunism. Either Feffer knows the truth about the crusades and is lying, or he has never taken the time to validate the historicity of the prevailing PC historical view on the Crusades, which is patently false.

    There were seven Crusade campaigns that ran from 1095 to 1250. By the end of the seventh crusade, the jihad was a seven-hundred-year enterprise that “advanced with Muslim strength and grew quiescent with Muslim weakness, but was never abandoned by any Muslim leader or sect” (Robert Spencer, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)”). When the Crusades were over, the Muslims resumed their efforts to conquer Europe by violent jihad.

    Twelve hundred years after Muhammad launched his jihad against mankind, John Quincy Adams, the sixth American President, indicated that flagrant Jihad had not been interrupted since Islam’s inception in 610 CE. In 1830, J.Q. Adams wrote, “Between these two religions [Christianity and Islam], thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men.”

    As of Feffer’s February 24, 2012 article entitled, “Running Against Islam” (http://www.johnfeffer.com/?p=466#comment-177), that same flagrant war, now fourteen centuries old, continues to rage. Feffer’s association with the far-Left IPS, and reliance on fraudulent history to support his claims, destroys the credibility of everything else he has to say. Feffer, like every leftist “wing nut” these days, is either incapable of seeing what the jihad lobby is doing, or he is on board with it. He is in no position to cast aspersions on Dr. Walid Phares whose own achievements toward the advance of liberty dwarf his own. Democracy-minded Muslims laud Phares’ support for oppressed Muslim communities in the Middle East. Islamophobic Professor Phares is not.

    Mitt Romney’s choice of Professor Phares to serve as an advisor on the Middle East is an act of genius because it threatens the totalitarian designs of people like Feffer and organizations like IPS which have found common cause with fundamentalist Islamists in their quest to overthrow the US Constitution and empower the Muslim Brotherhood and defeat authentic pro-democracy forces in the Middle East. Feffer’s is simply another digital assassination attempt among many by a cabal of pro-jihad lobby bloggers who seek to undo Dr. Phares’ appointment by Romney because is indeed, the right man, at the right time, for the job.

    • I had to think twice about approving this particular comment. But, in the interest of open debate, I opted for approval. After all, it’s a fascinating example of redbaiting in the age of Islamophobia.

      I’m not sure what dog I have in the hunt. I don’t work for any of Romney’s opponents in the Republican primary. Nor do I work on the Obama campaign. Indeed, I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last couple years criticizing Obama’s policies. It’s fascinating to me how one clause concerning Phares, that he is a prominent Islamophobe, has generated so much sturm und drang (since I work for an “uber-left” organization, I feel free to indulge in Teutonic expressions).

      In the end, I wanted to air this particular comment because it encapsulates perfectly my argument in Crusade 2.0 — that the Crusades, the Cold War, and the war on terror are not over. They still occupy the imaginations of al-Qaeda and Islamophobes alike, including the letter writer above.

      By the way, yes, IPS did get seed money from the Rubin Foundation (Samuel Rubin was a businessman who founded Faberge Perfumes and was a man of the left). I have no idea if he was a member of the Comintern. That is certainly a bit of history that is repeated ad nauseum without citation. But IPS has also received money from the Ford Foundation. And Henry Ford was indeed an anti-Semite. Does that mean that IPS is by definition anti-Semitic?

  4. John, thank you for your response. However I disagree on some of the facts that you’ve posted, perpetuating myths constructed by lobby groups in the US. One, Dr Phares was not aligned with the Phalangists in Lebanon during the so-called civil war, in fact war in Lebanon with foreign interventions. Those who made that assertion in the US fabricated facts that never existed in Lebanon. Phares had his own social democratic group which was in fact suppressed by the Phalangists (Kataeb). But all political parties were part of a coalition of political forces in East Beirut after the collapse of the Government. These parties included left and right and center as well as intellectuals and former diplomats. Phares was part of the coalition but was never a Phalangist. Far from that he was actually threatened by the Phalangists. Unfortunately the poor understanding of the region and of its conflicts as well as of Lebanon’s conflict, allows lobbies to frame their opponents in a way that has no factual bases. How can a social democrat be described as a right wing Phalangist? The founder of a Labor Union, and an author who published books on Pluralism, democracy and rights of minorities, becomes a Phalangist? Besides, his own writings in Lebanon, all available at the Library of Congress talks about mutual recognition between Muslims and Christians and the acceptance of mutual identities.
    Unfortunately, the Muslim Brotherhood and Khomeinist lobby frames anyone who opposes their views as “Islamophobic.” So if Phares opposed the Islamist and Jihadist agenda, he is treated as Islamophobe, even if he was a progressive. That is a failure in analysis.
    Second, another blunder.If there is one analyst who precisely makes distinctions between Islam and Islamists, Muslims and Islamists, and then goes to the details of what kind of Islamists there are, and who among them is Jihadists and what kind of Jihadists, it is Walid Phares in this last four books! He is a leading expert on the Islamist movement as it portrayed itself since the 1920s. So, if his analysis is that Islamists are of two kinds, Salafists and Khomeinists, and the Salafists are of three kinds, etc, you make him into an “Islamophobe?” Is that social science or Inquisition. Either he thinks like you do or he is an Islamophobe? Islamophobia means that one has an irrational fear of all things Islamic and therefore lumps all Muslims under one category. If anything Phares is the absolute opposite of this definition. Furthermore my mention that he is the author of the “Coming Revolution” had to do with his support to Muslim civil societies and his call for them to rise against authoritarian regimes, while the lobbies that are crying Islamophobia in the West used to dine and wine with the regimes. Phares stands with the poor and marginalized in the Muslim world. That makes him an Islamophobe? This looks more like a joke. He should be called Islamophile instead. Haven’t you read criticism of Phares by those who attack Islam as a theology and who accuse him of not addressing this theology.
    You may have a good contribution regarding fighting Islamophobia but I do urge you to actually read Phares works and see for yourself if there is an Arabic speaking author who really represent the aspiration of modern day liberal youth in the region, it would be Walid Phares.
    Now you can still criticize him for his association with right wing groups or the fact that he is serving on a conservative campaign. That is an acceptable criticism to level and he will have to answer. But the charge of Islamophobia against Phares, if anything will push millions of liberal Muslims to doubt your work.

    Best

  5. Thank you, Tom, for the detailed response. Note that I didn’t say that Phares was a Phalangist, only that he was aligned with the Phalangists. In any case, I’m curious how you would respond to this evidence:

    “During the 1980s, Phares, a Maronite Christian, trained Lebanese militants in ideological beliefs justifying the war against Lebanon’s Muslim and Druze factions, according to former colleagues. Phares, they say, advocated the hard-line view that Lebanon’s Christians should work toward creating a separate, independent Christian enclave. A photo obtained by Mother Jones shows him conducting a press conference in 1986 for the Lebanese Forces, an umbrella group of Christian militias that has been accused of committing atrocities. He was also a close adviser to Samir Geagea, a Lebanese warlord who rose from leading hit squads to running the Lebanese Forces.”

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/10/walid-phares-mitt-romney-lebanese-forces

    This evidence prompted Paul Pilar, certainly no left-wing lobbyist to say, “I can’t think of any earlier instance of a [possible presidential] adviser having held a comparable formal position with a foreign organization. It should raise eyebrows any time someone in a position to exert behind-the-scenes influence on a US leader has ties to a foreign entity that are strong enough for foreign interests, and not just US interests, to determine the advice being given.”

    I don’t see really any evidence that Phares is a social democrat. He hangs around people like Frank Gaffney and FrontPage magazine here in the United States.

    I don’t argue that he must think like me in order not to be an Islamophobe. I am simply analyzing the statements he makes. Frankly, he is the one who accuses those he disagrees with — John Esposito, for instance — of being jihadist sympathizers.

    I have only the greatest respect for those within the Muslim tradition who are pushing for greater liberalization. But I wouldn’t put Walid Phares in that category.

    Again, if you want to read my full analysis of Islamophobia, take a look at my new book.

    • John

      Again, thank you for your open debate of an issue that has been often misrepresented. One of the main reasons why some on the left, and other on the right are missing the point about Professor Phares is their lack of understanding of Middle East politics, let alone of old Lebanese politics. I will demonstrate why in my response:

      You wrote that you “didn’t say that Phares was a Phalangist, only that he was aligned with the Phalangists.” And you referred to an article by Adam Serwer (upon which you built your case) stating as ‘evidence’ that “During the 1980s, Phares, a Maronite Christian, trained Lebanese militants in ideological beliefs justifying the war against Lebanon’s Muslim and Druze factions, according to former colleagues. Phares, they say, advocated the hard-line view that Lebanon’s Christians should work toward creating a separate, independent Christian enclave.”

      Mr Serwer is not expert on Lebanon’s politics and history. Nothing in his CV shows any publication or even travel to Lebanon or knowledge of the language or culture. He claimed he made phone calls to Lebanon and Paris and spoke to individuals who claimed they knew Phares. The quote mentioned above is from a militant with the General Aoun faction (who fought the Syrians in the 1980s and became an ally to them and to Hezbollah as of 2005). Is a militant like this a reliable source while Phares published eight books, hundreds of articles and delivered dozens of public articles in the Lebanese and international press in the 1980s? Serwer has performed hack journalism, and has been laughed at by serious experts and historians. Phares didn’t perform ‘ideological training’ but he delivered open lectures and conducted open forums. In his books, including “Pluralism in Lebanon” and many articles (available at the Library of Congress) he didn’t justify a war against Muslims and Druse. There is not one single reference to that statement anywhere. On the contrary, while he surely stated that Lebanon and the Christian community (and also Muslims and Palestinians) were attacked by the Assad regime and later Hezbollah, must engage in a mutual recognition with the Muslim communities and build a federal system. Unfortunately Serwer constructed his own fantasy world with a fabricated description of Phares comprehensive literature. Phares views aren’t hard line, unless you’d consider federalism, secular democracy and rights of minorities as ‘hard line.’

      The most amusing was the statement: “A photo obtained by Mother Jones shows him conducting a press conference in 1986 for the Lebanese Forces, an umbrella group of Christian militias that has been accused of committing atrocities. He was also a close adviser to Samir Geagea, a Lebanese warlord who rose from leading hit squads to running the Lebanese Forces.”
      http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/10/walid-phares-mitt-romney-lebanese-forces

      Obviously Serwer’s sin about guilt by association. Getting one picture from a daily newspaper was made as a ‘scoop,’ while Phares’ pictures and videos of his open lectures are all over the net and in archives in Lebanon and Arab media. As I informed you in my previous note, Professor Phares was the secretary general of a small political party which was part of a coalition of political parties in East Beirut, including right wing, liberals and independents who oversaw as a de facto national council the forces on the ground that resisted the Syrian army, the PLO and Hezbollah. Lebanon was split in two areas, and each area had its defense forces. In each area were national councils governing until the end of the war. I don’t see the point of charging Phares of being a public figure in his own area. He should have been on the other side serving the Syrians and Hezbollah? It doesn’t make sense. He was a public intellectual, not even on the right, serving his mother country as a lecturer and public speaker. What Serwer failed to explain is that the “Lebanese Forces” were not just a local militia but a national resistance institution that governed the free part of Lebanon, like the Libyan National Council in Benghazi. There were Phalangists dominating, but there were other groups as well. The Lebanese Forces and its higher instance ‘The Lebanese Front’ were the de facto representatives of a community which was half of the country. The LF were backed by and recognized by the US, Europe and many Arab countries as such. The issue of ‘atrocities’ is another misrepresentation and association by guilt. The military units of the Lebanese Forces were like any army in the world. They obviously had elements who committed unacceptable violence as the US military or the French or any country on the face of Earth. Besides the so-called Sabra and Shatila shootings were committed by ‘men in LF uniforms’ led by a man who was the ally of the Assad regime. What has Phares to do with this is beyond logic. To make it even more ironic, Phares was himself persecuted by the right wing forces of the Phalanges. On all these counts Serwer piece, which is being used by bloggers is not only empty from any meaning, but is ridiculous. The real question historians would ask Phares about would be this: why would he accept to represent his social democratic party within a coalition that has a dominant right wing force? Well expect the answer like this: First you defend your country from the foreign occupiers, in this case the Syrian army, the PLO and the Iranian backed militias. In that resistance you’ll have people coming from all ideological sides. But better than that is the fact that years later, those who were in West Beirut joined the Lebanese Forces of East Beirut to march against the Syrians, including the Communist Party and the Socialist Progressive Party of Walid Jumblat. So now Phares would be the ally of Communist and Socialists?

      Lebanon’s history is too complex if you don’t know it. Serwer sunk and others as well. Simply because they were driven by Islamists to attack Phares on the wrong grounds. You can’t attack Phares on the ground of having been part of a so-called right wing militia, because he simply wasn’t. You may criticize his agenda for federalism in Lebanon. But to counter his argument with what? The Caliphate? The Baath? The bottom line is that Phares promoted democratic ideals to which Muslim Lebanese rallied to years later. Another irony is that the Lebanese Forces under Samir Geagea were accused of becoming the allies of the PLO as of 1986. So now Phares by association has become the ally of Arafat? Uninformed reporting leads to disastrous analysis.

      You wrote: “This evidence prompted Paul Pilar, certainly no left-wing lobbyist to say, “I can’t think of any earlier instance of a [possible presidential] adviser having held a comparable formal position with a foreign organization. It should raise eyebrows any time someone in a position to exert behind-the-scenes influence on a US leader has ties to a foreign entity that are strong enough for foreign interests, and not just US interests, to determine the advice being given.”

      Again, Pilar’s arguments were made on the assumption that Serwer findings were correct and they weren’t. Pilar’s points were taken down by a piece in the Weekly Standard, certainly not on the left. Phares was committed to the defense of his mother country and to democracy and human rights before he emigrates. Immigrants have a life before they become Americans. You hold them responsible morally to their ideas, statements and to their commitments. Politically you hold them responsible to their positioning since they became US citizens. This is a country of immigrants and yes, a person who wrote and lectured before he immigrates and then became an impeccable US citizen committed to his country of adoption, is not just able to advise but would be ideal to advise, because of previous experience, taking higher examples from Zbignew Brejinski and Henry Kissinger. In your case you may even cite George Soros, also an immigrant who had significant activities before he immigrated. We all know that top advisers in our country’s history, from the right and from the left, were born overseas. Otherwise this would a discrimination against immigrants to ban them from advising on the base that they served their mother country first. Phares record as American citizen since he immigrated is impeccable as his publications shows.

      You wrote: “I don’t see really any evidence that Phares is a social democrat. He hangs around people like Frank Gaffney and FrontPage magazine here in the United States.” May I respond that this answer is really sad intellectually coming from a liberal. Phares was the secretary general of a social democratic party which was in communications with the French, Swiss and other Social Democratic Parties. The political program of the Party was public and published and cited Phares several times. It is an insult to liberals and social democrats from the Middle East to have them under Inquisition in the West for not adopting the alliance with the Islamic fundamentalists. If some so-called liberals in the West define social democracy as an alliance with the Islamists, any sort of Islamists, Muslim seculars and democrats in the region believe this attitude by American and Western alleged liberals is a betrayal to the principles of social democracy. Besides if Phares published articles in a right wing magazine that doesn’t make him a right wing intellectual. Judge him on his substance not where he publishes. If he speaks with Franck Gaffney that doesn’t mean he is no social democrat anymore. He also speaks to Communists and Socialists. Does that make him a Marxist too? Hard to believe. Phares has struggled for the cause of liberal democracy way more than the bourgeois liberals who sits in the West, live capitalism and blast Middle East and Arab liberals who are leading the real struggle against oppression.

      You wrote: “I don’t argue that he must think like me in order not to be an Islamophobe. I am simply analyzing the statements he makes.” That’s exactly what we should all do. I wish you’ve analyzed his statements, articles and books, most of which are in English. You wouldn’t have coined him as you did. Instead you’ve relied on Adam Serwer piece and on CAIR statements. I do understand that you have developed an expertise on Islamophobia but my point is to help you distinguish who’s who. Many have argued that Phares spends his time on Sharia’s stuff. He simply doesn’t. He is a driving force behind a third view on the debate. Yes he promotes secular, liberal, democratic thought and he criticizes the Islamist agenda, but that doesn’t make him into an Islamophobe. Otherwise half of the Arab world would Islamophobes, including the seculars of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria and beyond.

      You wrote that “Frankly, he is the one who accuses those he disagrees with — John Esposito, for instance — of being jihadist sympathizers.” Again, words are important. You go too far and use words Phares didn’t use. You may confuse him with the people he “appears with.” Phares criticizes the programs led by Professor Esposito but doesn’t accuse him of being a Jihadist or a sympathizer of Jihadists (a la Qaida). He disagrees with his writings and Esposito can do the same with Phares.

      You wrote: “I have only the greatest respect for those within the Muslim tradition who are pushing for greater liberalization. But I wouldn’t put Walid Phares in that category.” I respect your view on all issues. I do believe that liberal Muslims, the real secular liberals, associate with Phares while the fundamentalists obviously attack him. They attack Phares because he claims that secular democracy in the region is possible outside Islamism. He believes that Muslim democrats are not the Islamists. That is his point of view. It doesn’t make him an Islamophobe. That is the essence of my point

      I will get your book and read it.

      Thank you for giving me the opportunity to post on your blog.

      Tom

  6. Hi again Tom:

    I’m certainly no expert on Lebanon. So I will let others weigh in on the subject.

    Rather, I’ll simply point out that Walid Phares makes the common mistake of Islamophobes, that is, to conflate Jihadists with Muslims in general. A good example of this type of conflation is this short article of his: http://www.freeman.org/m_online/dec97/phares.htm

    I want to be clear here. I personally am secular. But I don’t believe that Muslims have to be secular in order to be legitimate political actors. You betray yourself in a sense when you write: “I do believe that liberal Muslims, the real secular liberals, associate with Phares while the fundamentalists obviously attack him.” You are arguing that to be liberal, Muslims have to be secular. You imply that all other Muslims are fundamentalists (a misnomer, in any case, since “fundamentalist” is a Protestant doctrine). This is the essence of Islamophobia — to believe that Islam the religion is the problem rather than Islamic terrorists.

    Some Islamophobes — Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer — are at least honest about their hatred of the religion. Others conceal their hatred in an attempt to appeal to liberal-minded Americans who shy away from any hint of religious intolerance. Walid Phares falls into this latter category. Talk about taqiyya!

    John

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