An anti-Muslim hate group boasted Tuesday that it has a “direct line” to Donald Trump and “has played a fundamental role” in shaping the president-elect’s “views and suggested policies with respect to radical Islam.”
In a fundraising email, ACT for America founder Brigitte Gabriel said her organization is “immeasurably optimistic about the future” of a Trump presidency, and crowed about the ACT for America supporters and advisers getting top positions in Trump’s White House.
“Two of our board of advisors Dr. Walid Phares and General Michael Flynn were, and will continue to be President-elect Donald Trump’s National Security Advisors,” Gabriel wrote in the email, a copy of which was provided to The Huffington Post by Right Wing Watch’s Miranda Blue.
Trump last month named Flynn ― who has likened Islam to a “cancer,” once tweeted that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” and holds the unsubstantiated belief that Shariah law is taking over the country ― as national security adviser, one of the most powerful positions in the White House.
Phares, who in the 1980s had ties to a largely Christian Lebanese militia group implicated in the massacre of Muslims, has said “jihadists within the West pose as civil rights advocates” and will recruit until “almost all mosques, educational centers, and socioeconomic institutions fall into their hands.” He has worked as the Trump campaign’s adviser on the Middle East, and is expected to land a foreign policy or national security post in the incoming administration.
“In addition to this, the next [Central Intelligence Agency] Director Rep. Mike Pompeo has been a steadfast ally of ours since the day he was elected to Congress,” Gabriel’s email said Tuesday.
Pompeo, tapped by Trump this month to head up the CIA, sponsored a legislative briefing on Capitol Hill for ACT for America in September. He has also spoken at multiple ACT for America conferences, and, according to Gabriel, accepted the group’s National Security Eagle Award for 2016.
“I think it’s really outrageous that the nation’s most virulent anti-Muslim hate group is bragging about its ties to the incoming Trump administration,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told HuffPost. “And they’re not lying. There are ties.”
“But now is not the time for complacency, it is a time to capitalize, and go for the jugular!”
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists ACT for America ― which has started touting itself as the “NRA of National Security” ― as a hate group. It is arguably the largest and indeed one of the most extreme anti-Muslim hate groups in America, claiming some 400,000 members in over 1,000 chapters across the country.
It often promotes the conspiracy theory of “creeping Sharia,” the idea that there’s a coordinated effort among Muslim Americans to subvert the U.S. Constitution and institute Islamic law. It played an integral role in introducing paranoid and superfluous anti-Shariah bills in 31 state legislatures. At least eight states signed those bills into law.
In 2013, the organization partnered with disgraced ex-FBI agent John Guandolo to develop the Thin Blue Line project, which provides a “Radicalization Map Locator” to law enforcement officials, listing the addresses of nearly every Muslim Student Association in the country as well as many mosques and Islamic institutions.
In ACT for America’s view, all such organizations represent a national security threat. Guandolo even once told a crowd that the only purpose of MSAs is to “recruit jihadis.”
Gabriel, ACT for America’s founder, has said that a “practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Quran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.” She has also said, “Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim.”
In October, Gabriel said voting for Trump would help ensure the “survival of Western civilization.” Tuesday’s ACT for America email shows that Gabriel and her organization are emboldened by Trump’s election victory.
“But now is not the time for complacency, it is a time to capitalize, and go for the jugular!” Gabriel wrote.
“We have a four-year window of opportunity and an especially critical first 100 days from the start of the Trump Administration,” she added.
The email goes on to list ACT for America’s alarming policy agenda over the next four years.
The group, for example, wants to eliminate the country’s refugee resettlement program in its entirety. It wants to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, likely as a means for shutting down important American Muslim advocacy groups and prosecuting those groups’ members.
ACT for America, Gabriel wrote, should also “write and push a resolution that forbids Muslim Brotherhood front groups such as CAIR from addressing state elected bodies.” And she wants ACT for America to “re-write FBI training manuals on counter terrorism.”
Rabiah Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, told HuffPost that she was “not surprised by what’s being claimed or touted in this email.”
“In fact, it only confirms the organization’s troubling connections to the incoming Trump administration and their disturbing agenda,” she said. “If there was anyone who had any doubt, this email should put that question to rest.”
The Trump administration did not reply to a request for comment Wednesday.
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CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Ibrahim Hooper’s position at the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He is the national communications director, not the executive director.