I derived a kind of grim amusement from the news that the so-called Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its chief censor of American comments on Islam, Ibrahim Hooper, have protested the republication of a comment by Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center on frontpagemag.com.
CAIR objects to Rabbi Hier�s statements appearing on frontpagemag.com, because the latter has published the noted Islamophobe, Srdjan Trifkovic.
This is interesting because CAIR has repeatedly distributed libelous and Islamophobic attacks on me taken from other sources with which Trifkovic is much more closely identified, namely the Russian "red-brown" (Communazi) newspaper Pravda and its homologue, the website Antiwar.com.
I am on record as a total opponent of Trifkovic and his viewpoint. I debated Trifkovic at Stanford University a decade ago, when he was the main public advocate in the West for the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. However, the issue of Trifkovic is much less compelling than that of CAIR�s own alliance with Pravda and Antiwar.com. Together, the Wahhabis of CAIR, the Islamophobes of Pravda, and the neofascists of Antiwar.com form a genuine axis of evil.
How does this axis operate? In a recent appearance at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, I was astonished to see that the local branch of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), another Wahhabi front, had distributed on campus a violent, lying screed against me by a demented neo-Nazi, taken from Pravda. There were important lessons to be learned from this detail. One "liberal" professor added, to these Hitlerian libels, his own Jew-baiting comments. But we expect this from tenured totalitarians of the leftist persuasion.
Incredibly, the self-identified Saudi and other "Salafi," i.e. Wahhabi students handing out this pamphlet across the Florida campus were completely oblivious to the significance of such an action. They had literally stamped an MSA seal of "Islamic approval" on a text lifted from one of the most anti-Muslim periodicals in the world. They attached no disclaimer stating that MSA does not support Pravda, Russian imperialism, or Slav Orthodox Islamophobia. Nor did they see a need to. The MSA members did not stumble on the Nazi diatribe against me as close readers of Pravda. Rather, it was sent to them by CAIR.
When I asked the assorted Wahhabis whether they realized that they were legitimizing, in Muslim eyes, the most extreme Islamophobes known, their reaction was to defend Pravda as a journalistic source! Apparently, they did not know what Pravda was! Thus, it was clear that if they had learned little about Islam in the Wahhabi indoctrination centers of Saudi Arabia, they had learned even less about modern journalism or the history of Communism while enjoying their stay at an American university. CAIR, obviously, prefers that Muslims reading Communazi attacks on me not realize where such polemics originate, and was not about to explain the background and agenda of Pravda to them.
But Pravda�s history is well-known to every Muslim who does not restrict his or her study to Wahhabi propaganda, and who has spent any time examining the Russian chronology of crimes against Muslims. Pravda supported the suppression of Islam under the Soviet regime. Pravda glamorized the Russian horrors in Afghanistan. Pravda is the leading voice on the planet arguing that all Chechens are terrorists and deserve to be liquidated. By contrast, I belonged to a leftist group in Europe that was the first to denounce the Russian invasion of Afghanistan � literally, the night it was reported, in a hastily-mimeographed leaflet distributed in the streets of Paris. My comrades of the time and I instantly knew which side we were on in Afghanistan � with the Afghans against the Russians. I have consistently defended the rights of the Chechen nation against Russian imperialism and, particularly, the need for the expulsion from Chechnya of Saudi-backed Wahhabi colonialists � the comrades of CAIR � as a measure to safeguard the legitimate interests of the Chechens.
Pravda also remains the leading voice on the planet for the claim that all Balkan Muslims were terrorists, and that their massacre at the hands of Serb Stalinists was the consequence of an Islamic "jihad" in the Balkans. Again, I was among the earliest and most prominent American defenders of Balkan Muslims and Albanians against Serbocommunist imperialism. In 1999, I gave up a lucrative job, and a position as a union official (an unpaid post, but of even greater value to me), at the San Francisco Chronicle, and moved to the Balkans to assist in the cultural and moral reconstruction of society.
CAIR purports to defend the Chechens. Supposedly, CAIR also wanted to help the Balkan Muslims. Yet CAIR has no compunctions about getting in bed with Pravda and its Communazi scribblers, who incite murder and mosque-burning throughout the former Communist empires, when it comes to defaming me, a defender of traditional Islam. Thanks to CAIR, Pravda�s garbage now carries an MSA stamp. No amount of Wahhabi apologetics can erase this shame from the University of Florida MSA.
In addition, CAIR has repeatedly recycled the equally-deranged attacks on me appearing on Antiwar.com. Antiwar.com proclaims that Japan should have beaten America in World War II, and in clumsy and amateurish imitation of the pro-Axis traitors of two generations ago, now postures as defenders of the Iraqi dictator, the Saudis, the Wahhabis, and CAIR. But Antiwar.com, however much lipstick is put on the pig, cannot cleanse itself of its brown, neofascist stains. In its latest iteration, Antiwar.com charges that Yugoslavia was destroyed by President Clinton, even though the breakup of Yugoslavia began in 1990, when Clinton was still the relatively-obscure governor of Arkansas and the future founders of Antiwar.com were soliciting gay votes for Patrick J. Buchanan. But what else can we expect from the West�s leading advocate, even surpassing the Wahhabi lobby, for the obscene theory of Israeli guilt for 9/11?
Like Pravda, Antiwar.com is replete with disgusting libels against Balkan Muslims and Albanians, intended to justify Serbian crimes in the Balkans. Antiwar.com denies the reality of the massacre of thousands of Muslim men at Srebrenica; I, by contrast, served as an unpaid investigator in Bosnia-Herzegovina for the Dutch inquiry into Srebrenica.
Antiwar.com adulates Milosevic, but when Antiwar.com attacks me, a declared enemy of Milosevic for a decade, CAIR sees nothing wrong with redistributing such despicable garbage far and wide.
So what possible standing can CAIR have to object to Rabbi Hier, or anyone else, appearing as independent commentators in the same media forum as Trifkovic? These are childish gambits.
CAIR and Ibrahim Hooper do not understand America, or American media. They do not comprehend that libels are no reply to serious criticism. Typically, CAIR recently recirculated a news service article in which I criticized anti-Islamic comments by certain Christian leaders. Did CAIR consider it important to inform Muslims that I had denounced Islamophobia? Of course not. For CAIR the only interesting element in said article was a passing mention that I had been invited to address a group at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Their headline, as I now recall it, read, "Schwartz to Give Briefing at Israeli Embassy," completely ignoring my unceasing defense of Islam. (In fact, no such briefing ever took place at the Israeli Embassy.)
CAIR and their courtesans also continue to complain that as a Sufi, I "have an axe to grind" in my attacks on Wahhabism.
Of course I have an axe to grind. As a Sufi and defender of traditional Islam I have the same axe to grind against the Wahhabis and their militia on U.S. soil, CAIR, that a Jew would have had against the Nazis or a Menshevik against the Bolsheviks. Wahhabism promotes suicide terrorism. Sufism promotes reconciliation. In Saudi Arabia, which funds CAIR, Sufism, an integral and central aspect of Islamic faith, is forbidden by law and possession of Sufi texts is a capital offense. And naturally, when CAIR and its chorus of friendly "academics" attack me as a Sufi, and therefore as something other than neutral, they never explain why Sufis and Wahhabis are so deeply opposed to each other.
I have never claimed neutrality. For me, journalistic objectivity means accuracy in describing evil � the evil of Saudi as well as Serbian and Saddamite imperialism.
It is time for CAIR and Hooper to abandon their contemptible campaign to present every inquiry into their character, and the nature of the Wahhabism they support, as a form of oppression. It is not persecution for Americans, and especially American Muslims, to demand an accounting of how Saudi Arabia, acting through CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, and other components of the Wahhabi lobby, created an extremist "Islamic establishment" in America. Few will soon forget that 15 out of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were from Saudi Arabia, the only country whose Ministry of Religion is an official Wahhabi institution.
It is time for CAIR and Hooper to recognize that appearing in an American media forum does not mean agreement with others in that forum. Appearance in frontpagemag.com, National Review Online, or any other such venue, does not constitute an alliance with any other individual published there. The same cannot be said of using materials from Pravda or Antiwar.com, which offer a uniform menu of Jew-baiting, solicitation of treason to America, and Serbophilia. Put at its simplest, CAIR, without comment, republishes Pravda and Antiwar.com. I do not republish, cite, or otherwise whitewash Trifkovic or any other Islamophobe, regardless where they appear. To attack Sufis like me, CAIR blurs the line between themselves and the Islamophobes; in attacking Wahhabism, I keep the line firm, and do not cross it. They seek to confuse; I am committed to making distinctions. Every American, including every Muslim, who has heard me or read my work knows this.
Similarly, if I give a briefing at the Israeli Embassy or anywhere else, the American way of dealing with it is to wait and hear what I have to say, and then to comment � not to suggest, as CAIR did, that such an invitation makes me a "right-wing Zionist."
This is how America works. In America, public organizations like CAIR must accept public scrutiny. In America, media like frontpagemag.com present a diversity of opinions. In America, authors give briefings wherever they wish, in numerous places and before varied audiences. CAIR cannot claim exemption from outside inquiry. CAIR cannot impose its ideological views on American media. CAIR cannot decide where authors on Islam are permitted to speak. CAIR may play by those rules in Saudi Arabia, but not here.
Finally, CAIR has to learn they cannot pick and choose among Islamophobes. They cannot attack Trifkovic�s writings as a means to undermine Rabbi Marvin Hier and frontpagemag.com, while at the same time using the libels of Pravda, Antiwar.com, and other Trifkovic cronies to attack me and other Sufis. Their axis of evil is doomed to defeat.
Frontpagemag.com publishes Trifkovic to promote a freewheeling debate. CAIR recycles Trifkovic�s allies at Pravda and Antiwar.com to stifle debate. Therein lies the difference; therein lies the lesson for Americans, and especially for American Muslims. Muslims who believe in peace have nothing to fear from discussion or debate. But CAIR�s commitment to peace is no more real than those of its partners in evil, Pravda and Antiwar.com. All three seek war, not peace. And in this war I side, as I have always sided, with the real victims � with traditional Muslims in the Balkans, Chechnya, and every other place where the totalitarians commit their vile deeds; with people of good will, of all faiths in all democracies everywhere.
"They have made their oaths a screen (for their misdeeds): thus they obstruct (men) from the Path of God: truly evil are their deeds." (Qur�an 63:2)
Stephen Schwartz, an author and journalist, is author of The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror. A vociferous critic of Wahhabism, Schwartz is a frequent contributor to National Review, The Weekly Standard, and other publications.