Political consultant Dick Morris, who is known for using his appearances on Fox News to solicit support for Republican candidates and policies, now appears to have jumped wholeheartedly on the latest anti-Muslim bandwagon. During an appearance Thursday on Fox & Friends, he gave voice to a particularly extreme form of opposition to the building of an Islamic cultural center near the former site of the World Trade Center.
Morris began by asserting that President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "made a huge mistake" by saying that Muslims have a legal right to build the center at a location of their choosing.
"I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country," the president told a gathering last week. "That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances."
"He should have said 'No way,'" Morris insisted.
Some Democratic politicians, like Harry Reid and Howard Dean, have framed the cultural center issue as one of "sensitivity" towards the families of 9/11 victims, but Morris was far more interested in evoking the specter of terrorists bent on jihad and determined to impose Islamic law on the West.
"The issue here is not religious freedom and it's not people worshipping God through the Islamic religion," he stated. "That's wonderful. But there are a lot of Muslims, about 80% of the mosques, according to a study by the Center for Security Policy, teach Sharia law as the main event at their mosques. ... In this case, the law is a very violent law, stoning of women, killing women who are committing adultery, just horrific stuff."
"Shariah law mandates jihad," Morris asserted. "And it mandates terrorism and suicide bombing. So this is really a juridical center that is being established to study and promote and train and recruit Shariah law advocates which will become terrorists. ... We're establishing literally a command center for terrorism right at the 9/11 site."
Despite Morris's claims, Sharia law is not "the main event" at most Islamic mosques but is a moral system and code of personal behavior based on the teachings of the Koran. It does, however, include harsh, medieval penalties for certain offenses, which have been adopted in a few countries that claim to apply sharia law strictly, and this range of interpretations has made it possible to tar moderate Muslims with supporting the excesses of countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran.
The Center for Security Policy, whose study Morris cited, is widely considered to be a core neocon group and was described by The Nation in 2002 as carrying on a "relentless campaign for war" with the Islamic world. It has recently turned its focus to Muslim-Americans and last month attacked Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan as a "champion of Shariah," which CSP president Frank Gaffney described as an "utterly political agenda of world domination,"
This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast Aug. 19, 2010.