This is a frightening time for Muslims in America. One of the country’s major parties is in thrall to anti-Muslim ideologues.
If this was not clear before—and it should have been—it is now. On March 17, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is in second place in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, announced his foreign-policy team. As Matt Duss, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, put it on cable news, the advisers “run the gamut from Iran-contra conspirators to anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists.” Duss was referring, on one side, to the sometimes loopy warmonger Michael Ledeen and the convicted liar Elliott Abrams, both of whom were implicated in the Reagan administration’s dirty dealings of the 1980s, and, on the other, a to cadre of Islamophobes whose bigoted and McCarthyite ideas would be laughable if they hadn’t gained so much traction among GOP elites and voters.
Chief among the latter cohort stands Frank Gaffney, perhaps the most notorious anti-Muslim activist in America today. Gaffney is the author of a long list of incredible hypotheses not only about the ills of Islam—the faith of about a third of the world’s population—but particularly about what Muslims are trying to do here in the United States. One of those Muslims, Gaffney suspects, is Barack Obama. That’s why, his twisted logic goes, the Obama administration redesigned the US Missile Defense Agency logo so that it “appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo.” Sounds like an open and shut case.
Seemingly eager to prove that he is endorsing this bigotry, Cruz added a few more prominent Islamophobes’ names to his list of advisers. Fred Fleitz, a disgraced former top aide to the famously mustachioed and infamously hawkish George W. Bush administration UN Ambassador John Bolton, and Clare Lopez, who among other things thinks Iran already has nuclear warheads, both work for Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy. A Bloomberg View report on Cruz’s advisers also included Gaffney’s combative deputy Jim Hanson, bringing the number of CSP officials on the list up to four—more than any other institution represented therein. Next, there’s Andrew McCarthy, a former prosecutor, and Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, a religious-right activist and Holy Warrior, both of whom traffic in Shariah conspiracy theories and otherwise agree with Gaffney on a whole lot.