Because I live in the DC area and hang around with lawyers, I can’t say I know many truly noble people. I do know Steve Emerson, however, and he’s an American hero. I had lost touch with him, but then a week ago I saw his picture in a five-column hit piece in the Washington Post.
The story, by Post reporters Hannah Allam and Anjuman Ali, called Emerson a “vocal, anti-Muslim extremist” who was behind the spread of Islamophobia and who had promoted what the Post in scare quotes called “the war on terror.” Citing a report from the left-wing Center for American Progress, the story condemned the “misinformation experts” who “were amplified by an echo chamber of the religious right, conservative media, grass roots organizations, and politicians who sought to introduce a fringe perspective on American Muslims into the public discourse.”
Here’s what really happened. A local branch of the radical Muslim Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) ordered parts for AR-15 rifles, and a whistleblower at the branch leaked news of this to Emerson’s group. That should have been big news. What does an organization that describes its mission as protecting civil rights and promoting justice have to do with a gun which the Post calls an assault rifle?
That’s pretty embarrassing, if you’re a left-wing civil rights organization like CAIR, so you’ll want to get on top of the story with your own spin. First thing you want to do is contact one of your friends in a major media outlet. That’s where Hannah Allam comes in. The Post reporter who co-wrote the story is a Saudi-raised journalist whom the newspaper hired specifically to write about “extremism, domestic terrorism and national security.” Mind you, the extremism she worries about is the right-wing kind, and for her domestic terrorism is what happened on January 6.
With the Post taking dictation, next came the spin. The real story was about the whistleblower’s betrayal and the “heartbreaking” psychological toll that this will take on decent Muslims everywhere. “Oh my God.” “I’m in shock.” “I can’t believe this.” It wasn’t just a violation of privacy. It was, said the Post, “a reminder of the risk of infiltration by anti-Muslim forces that go to great lengths to dig up dirt for smear campaigns that portray Islam as inherently violent and ordinary Muslims as potential threats.”
In fact, if anyone is smearing ordinary Muslims, it’s CAIR itself and friends of theirs such as Rep. Ilham Omar, who said that CAIR was founded because “some people did something” on 9/11. CAIR has a long history of affiliation with Hamas, an Islamic movement which the United States, the UK, the EU, Japan, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates have designated as a terrorist organization.
Nihad Awad, CAIR’s founder and executive director, has explicitly said that he supports Hamas.
In 2009, CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator when the Holy Land Foundation and five of its leaders were sentenced on charges of providing material support to Hamas. U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis ruled that there was “at least a prima facie case as to CAIR’s involvement in a conspiracy to support Hamas.” CAIR remains on the list of unindicted co-conspirators, and avoided prosecution only because their indictments were blocked by the Obama Justice Department.
CAIR’s purpose really isn’t to defend American Muslims. Instead, it supports Arab governments, from whose citizens it has received a major amount of its funding, according to the Capital Research Center. It’s also part of a large network of American left-wing organizations, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, who are eager to paint pretty much every conservative in the country as a racist.
If we know something about CAIR, it’s mainly thanks to Steve Emerson. Steve was a CNN reporter who before the first World Trade Center bombing happened to see a huge crowd at a convention center. Curious, he went in and heard eye-opening speeches by Islamic jihadists about their plans for America. No one had been paying attention to the threat of Islamic terrorism in the U.S., but when he asked CNN to do a story about it, he ended up being fired. So off he went on his own, and became a valued source for the FBI and a respected and best-selling author. He’s carried on the fight for nearly 30 years, for which he’s now rewarded with the Washington Post’s disdain. He’s an American hero.
F. H. Buckley teaches at Scalia Law School. His forthcoming book is Progressive Conservatism: How Republicans Will Become America’s Natural Governing Party (July 2022).
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://spectatorworld.com/.