Islamophobia Monitor

Introduction

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is a conservative legal foundation established by Televangelist Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow.  The ACLJ is part of the outer core of the U.S. Islamophobia network.

The ACLJ publication “Shari’ah Law: Radical Islam’s Threat to the U.S. Constitution” contains a chart which compares US law with Shariah law “showing the inherent conflict between U.S. and Islamic standards of justice, punishments, and resolution of disputes” (pg 18).

In November 2014, an ACLJ article stated that “radical Islamist terrorists” are never lone-wolf attackers. According to their text, “This is no accident. These individuals did not wake up one day and decide that jihad was their path. They didn’t come up with the goals of terrorism, the symbolic nature of their targets, or their hatred of Christians, America, and the West all on their own.” In essence, ACLJ attempts to make all of Islam culpable for the radicalization of individuals and the emergence of propaganda-driven terrorist networks.

In a blog post dated September 11, 2013, Senior Counsel David French wrote, “After all, the bipartisan American reaction to 9/11 has been characterized by denial…Our president assured us that Islam was a ‘religion of peace,’ and apologists worked overtime to assure us that terrorists represented the tiny ‘few extremists.’”

The ACLJ opposed the development of Park 51, a proposed Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan which became the nexus of a national controversy in 2010. ACLJ representatives acknowledged that their intervention was due to the Muslim nature of the center, as reported in the Daily Caller on August 10, 2010.

After saing that the building was “arguably one of the most significant properties in New York,” [ACLJ attorney Brett ] Joshpe said he would not be pursuing the case if a Christian church were being built on the same site. “Would I be personally involved in this matter if this were a church? No,” he said, “And the reason why is because if it were a church it wouldn’t be offending and hurting the 9/11 victims’ families.”

Discussing the same issue on the August 4, 2010 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now, Jon Scott said “I don’t think there would be a real—these objections if a Catholic community center was put where the mosque—or where the Islamic community center’s going to be, or a synagogue or something like that.  There wouldn’t be the objections.” Jay Sekulow responded, “that argument is like saying this: It would be appropriate and show tolerance to allow a monument to kamikaze pilots at the site of the Arizona at Pearl Harbor.”

Key Individuals

Pat Robertson (President of the Board)

Robertson is a media executive and Baptist minister known for being a key face of Christian conservative politics, having founded the ACLJ and frequently appeared as a commentator on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Robertson compared Islam to Nazism on at least two separate occasions, in 2011 and 2013. In 2013 he said of Islam, “it’s almost like it’s demonic” and “it’s a religion of chaos.”

On November 27, 2013, Robertson equated a Muslim with an “unclean spirit” and defended a woman who had asked a Muslim to leave her home saying, “If somebody in truth is worshiping some sort of a demonic presence then that will pervade your home and no you don’t offer hospitality to something like that.”

Following the Boston Marathon bombings, Robertson claimed that the government “refuses to acknowledge the problem of Islam… During the Second World War we didn’t have any problems saying that Hitler was bad, no problem at all saying the Nazis were monsters… Now we’re fighting a war but we refuse to identify our enemy even though it is in plain sight.”

In 2011, Robertson compared Islamophobes to those who opposed the rule of Hitler in Germany, saying “Why is it bigoted to resist Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and to say we don’t want to live under Nazi Germany?… But oh it’s bigoted if we speak out against a force that slowly but surely is trying to exercise domination over the world.”

During the debate over the Murfreesboro Mosque in Tennessee, Robertson asserted that Muslims will bribe local officials to gain influence.

In 2008, Robertson claimed that “Islam is not a religion” but “a political system bent on world domination.”

A Washington Post editorial published in February 2002 says of Robertson: "Mr. Robertson, speaking on his Christian Broadcasting Network's '700 Club' program, described a veritable infestation of America with violent, subversive Muslims: 'Our immigration policies are now so skewed towards the Middle East and away from Europe that we have introduced these people into our midst and undoubtedly there are terrorist cells all over them...They want to coexist until they can control, dominate, and then if need be destroy'...Is Mr. Robertson trying to start a pogrom? If so, he's headed in the right direction."

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