On April 15, the Green Party published a briefing paper titled "Islamophobia: Another Social Construction of Racism." Across the Western world, Green parties have a long-established history of downplaying the threat of Islamism, and even working with extremists. This briefing paper is no exception.
You can read the 13 page document here. The authors get off to a bad start when they define Islamophobia as "a contrived fear or prejudice" directed at a "perceived or real Muslim threat" [our emphasis].
The paper takes a brief glance at actual anti-Muslim violence – which Islamist Watch and the Middle East Forum agree is extremely worrying – but it then quickly moves onto the problem of "attacking the Muslim faith." In the Green Party, blasphemy, it seems, is a sin.
In denying the existence of Islamism, and the threat it poses, the authors, without irony, warn the readers about the dangers of "theocratic Christian organizations." Similarly, a later section extolls "feminist" tenets of Islam, but claims that Christians work "to preserve patriarchal culture and control."
In America, the paper continues, the "struggle for equality and gender justice" is no different than the challenges faced by "women in Muslim-majority nations." Forced to cover their faces, banned from driving, or locked in a burning building because they were uncovered – Muslim women under Salafist rule might disagree.
The briefing paper continues in this fashion. Its authors advise Green Party activists to work with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of America's most prominent Islamist groups. CAIR has a long history of giving platforms to extremist preachers who advocate sex slavery, beating women and other violent bigotries. You can read some examples of this here.
It seems the Green Party is not defending Islam; it is advocating for Islamists.
This approach is better understood when we take a look at the people involved with the report.
One of the report's authors, Hugh Esco, has an uncomfortable history of promoting conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism. Esco claims that Holocaust survivors bought into the "mythology" of "white superiority and entitlement." He praises armed resistance to Israel as a "right to self defense" against a "campaign of genocidal tactics perhaps more patient, but no less effective, than a Hitlerian Holocaust." And he dismisses criticisms of Hamas as a distraction.
On his social media, Esco expresses support for Jamil al-Amin, an Islamist convert who murdered a sheriff's deputy in 2000. Esco and his phone number are also listed at 911truth.org – a prominent conspiracy theory website.
One of the Green Party officials who helped launch the briefing paper is Farheen Hakeem. Like Esco, she also appears involved with 9/11 conspiracy theories. In 2011, Hakeem spoke at an event organized by "Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth." Hakeem has also promoted Al Quds Day, a worldwide event organized by the Iranian regime in support of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
Arun Kundnani, an academic and writer, also spoke at the launch, and his work is cited in the briefing paper itself. Kundnani has previously worked with Claystone, a British Salafist organization controlled by Haitham Al Haddad, who is frequently described by journalists as one of Britain's most extreme preachers. Haddad refers to Jews as "apes and pigs" and "enemies of God." And in 2011, Haddad claimed Bin Laden was a "martyr" who would enter paradise.
Kundnani has defended anti-Semitism in British politics as a form of benign anti-Zionism, and he has claimed that Salafism – a violent, anti-Semitic, misogynistic theocratic movement – is the "best counter-terrorism partner in the Muslim community."
With friends like these, how will moderate American Muslims ever cast off their Islamist shackles?