A Project of the Council on American-Islamic Relations


Michele Bachmann


Bachmann is a founder of the U.S. House Tea Party Caucus, and a former U.S. Representative from Minnesota.

In October 2013, Bachmann falsely claimed in a radio interview that American mosques are seeking to “advance the goals” of foreign nations and organizations.

In June 2012, Bachmann led a group of House Republicans—Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.)—on a series of five letters to federal inspectors alleging that the Muslim Brotherhood was infiltrating the U.S. government.

Bachmann’s conspiracy theory was built on a report issued by the Center for Security Policy, the organization headed by Frank Gaffney.

Central among those targeted was Huma Abedin, aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After having a team evaluate Bachmann’s allegations against Abedin, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “But the truth is [Bachmann and the others] don’t have any direct evidence. What they have are allegations of past connections of relatives of hers that are tenuous at best.”

Others attacked by Bachmann and her colleagues included:

  • Mohamed Elibiary: An advisor to law enforcement organizations at the local, state, and federal levels. In 2011, the Society of Former Special Agents honored Elibiary for his “extraordinary contributions to specific cases in support of the FBI’s counter terrorism mission.”
  • Dalia Mogahed: Mogahed was appointed to the president’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and has advised the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Imam Mohamed Magid: He enjoys widespread interfaith respect and has also advised the Department of Homeland Security

The letters also attacked organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and Muslim Advocates.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) responded to his fellow Minnesotan in a letter of his own. Ellison questioned Bachmann’s reliance on Gaffney, saying, “Mr. Gaffney’s views have been widely discredited, including by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and conservative organizations.” Bachmann’s 16-page response to Ellison contained no substantive facts to back up her allegations.

Bachmann’s original conspiracy theory was soundly criticized by other Republicans.

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), said, “These attacks have no logic, no basis, and no merit and they need to stop. They need to stop now.” McCain also said, “These allegations about Huma, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant.”

When asked about the controversy, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “From everything that I do know of [Abedin], she has a sterling character and I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.”

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), a former FBI agent who chairs the committee on which Bachmann serves,also rejected her allegations saying, “That kind of assertion certainly doesn’t comport with the Intelligence Committee, and I can say that on the record.”

Edward Rollins, who was Bachmann’s campaign chief during her 2012 presidential run, said: “Having worked for Congressman Bachman’s campaign for president, I am fully aware that she sometimes has difficulty with her facts, but this is downright vicious and reaches the late Senator Joe McCarthy level.”

The episode ended up being a very welcome example of public officials supporting Americans of the Islamic faith in a bipartisan manner. On Election Day 2012, Bachmann only retained her House seat by a very narrow margin. It was not a total loss for Bachmann: she raised more than $1 million in 25 days after the letter controversy started.

In November 2011, Bachmann fed into the conspiracy theory that sharia, may replace the Constitution saying its consideration in American courts “would usurp, and put Sharia law over the Constitution, and that would be wrong.”

In response to a 2005 debate question about French Muslims, Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said: “Not all cultures are equal. Not all values are equal.” Additionally in 2011, Bachmann signed the Family Leader’s pledge that upheld controversial implications to many elected officials who were also asked to sign the pledge.

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