Last week's near-massacre at the Family Research Council (FRC) put into sharp relief a curious fact: The people most aggressively denouncing others for their "hatemongering" sure are engaging in a lot of it themselves, with dangerous and potentially lethal repercussions.
Take, for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Back in the heyday of the civil rights movement, the SPLC helped counter the Ku Klux Klan and other racists and anti-Semites. At the moment, though, the SPLC is hanging out with today's counterpart to the KKK and the pre-eminent threat to civil rights -- especially those of women -- in America: Islamists bent on insinuating here their anti-constitutional, misogynistic and supremacist doctrine known as Shariah.
A case in point occurred Wednesday night, just hours after a gunman named Floyd Lee Corkins entered the headquarters of the FRC. Mr. Corkins apparently was bent on killing as many of the center's employees as possible, perhaps because of the social conservative group's listing (along with this columnist and a number of others) earlier this year by the SPLC as among the worst hate groups and bigots in America.
It turns out that, as with the Family Research Council, what seems to qualify one for smearing by the Southern Poverty Law Center is disagreement with its political agenda. If you lawfully object to, say, the erosion of traditional marriage or open borders, you stand to be condemned by the SPLC as a hater. It seems that if you are militantly in favor of the radical homosexual agenda or racist groups such as La Raza, however, you get a pass from that organization.
Particularly striking in this regard is the utter blindness of the SPLC to the hatemongering in which Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist organizations in this country regularly engage. If you warn, on the basis of abundant evidence -- including such Islamist groups' own statements -- that they are seeking to subvert our freedoms and form of government by insinuating Shariah into this country, the self-appointed arbiters of hate will brand you a monger of it. But those whose Islamic creed promotes hatred of other religions, man-made laws and people who embrace them are never mentioned as a problem.
On Aug. 15, the director of the SPLC's "intelligence project," Heidi Beirich, participated in an open conference call organized by one such Islamist group, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). She used the occasion to inveigh against anti-Muslim hate groups and to declare that her group was "very, very concerned" about their proliferation.
What makes this performance bizarre is that the MPAC is not simply a Muslim Brotherhood-associated organization that, by definition, is in the business of promoting Shariah's virulently intolerant code. The group also has a documented history of anti-Semitism, including such hatemongering as the contention on Sept. 11, 2001, by its executive director, Salam Al-Marayati, that Jews should be viewed as possible perpetrators of the attacks of that day; repeated claims that Zionists and Jews "own" the Congress, its staff and the American media; and vitriolic support for the designated terrorist organization, Hamas, whose explicit goal is destroying Israel.
So egregious is the Muslim Public Affairs Council's record of hatemongering that an ecumenical group of seven leaders of national faith-based and civil rights organizations wrote the leadership of the Southern Poverty Law Center last week urging the SPLC not to associate with those Islamists. An attachment noted that an MPAC-sponsored event in December 2000 featured an exhortation from Imam Muhammad al-Asi, a supporter of the quintessential Islamist hate group, Hezbollah, and director of the Islamic Education Center in Potomac. He declared on that occasion:
"Now, all our khatibs (speakers), our imams, our public speakers, should be concentrating on militarizing the Muslim public. Rhetoric is not going to liberate Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and al-Aqsa [the mosque on the Temple Mount]. Only carrying arms will do this task. And it's not going to be someone else who is going to carry arms for you and for me. It is you and me who are going to have to carry these arms."
It is deeply regrettable that the Southern Poverty Law Center has been reduced to a propaganda arm of enemies of freedom. It should be embarrassed about its evident refusal to hold accountable any of the myriad Islamist entities that are authentic promoters of hatred -- apart from Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, a group so racist, so anti-Semitic, so hateful that even the SPLC evidently could not overlook its record. The SPLC should abandon its odious practice of listing as hate groups those -- such as the Family Research Council -- with whom it simply disagrees politically and seeks to silence.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is quick to allege ties between people it calls haters and people who use violence against the object of the purported hatred. If the SPLC is genuinely interested in preventing such behavior, then the organization and its leaders should stop what amounts to encouragement of it.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.
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