An anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist with ties to both white supremacists and several GOP presidential candidates has invited European racists to take part in panels at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
Just five years ago, the Center for Security Policy and its founder, Frank Gaffney, were banned from the annual conservative gathering over their accusations that two CPAC board members, Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, were secretly aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.
But now Gaffney — who drew Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin to his anti-Iran rally last year — has returned to a position of influence and has invited admitted racists to speak at CPAC, reported Hatewatch.
English white nationalist Paul Weston and Lars Hedegaard, a Danish anti-Muslim activist, will take part in a panel sponsored by Gaffney’s group on “The Global Jihad Movement in America and the Counterjihad Campaign.”
Weston once headed the British Freedom Party, the political wing of the racist xenophobic English Defense League, and called in September for a ban on all Muslim immigrants — whom he described as rapists and murders — to Europe.
Hedegaard is the founder of the International Free Press Society, a “free speech” group that rails against the evils of “political correctness” and works with the Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders.
Their inclusion, as well as CSP and Gaffney’s return to prominence, illustrate the creeping influence of anti-Muslim extremists on mainstream American conservatism.
Trump, echoing Weston and other European extremists, called for an end to Muslim immigration to the U.S. — and he cited a shoddy poll conducted by Gaffney’s group to justify his proposal.
“A poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing ‘25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah,'” Trump claimed in a statement outlining his proposal.
News organizations found numerous problems with the survey conducted by CSP — including its tendentious position on Muslim immigration, as well as sample size, methodology and the fact that respondents were U.S. Muslims, not immigrants.
Gaffney complained just two years ago that CPAC had ignored the threat from Muslim immigration, so he took part in a parallel event sponsored by Breitbart and EMPAct America — a tax-exempt group that warns against the dangers of electromagnetic pulse attacks on the power grid.
That 2014 event, called the “National Security Action Summit,” drew the participation of Cruz and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), in addition to Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Jim Bridenstein (R-OK).
CPAC let them in the front door last year, hosting panels on the dangers of jihad featuring Fox News analyst Walid Phares and CSP vice president Clare Lopez — a former CIA officer who claims President Barack Obama is aiding Islamic terrorists.
This year Gaffney managed to convince event organizers to let him usher foreign extremists into the conversation.