MONITORING AND COMBATING ISLAMOPHOBIA

A Project of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann

Who is Michelle Bachmann? 

Michele Bachmann is an anti-Muslim political figure who previously served as a former U.S Representative.  

Bachmann was a founder of the U.S. House Tea Party Caucus. Bachmann supported President Trump’s Muslim Ban and while in Congress pushed Islamophobic conspiracy theories. As of 2023, Bachmann is the current dean at Regent University’s Robertson School of Government. 

Anti-Muslim Activities  

In 2017, The Hill reported that Bachmann, “is accusing Muslim immigrants of trying to undermine Western civilization, strongly backing President Trump’s travel ban on refugees from six majority-Muslim countries.” Bachmann is reported to have said, “After all of this phony, fake, Russia-collusion nonstory, the number one thing that voters in America stand with Donald Trump on, it’s the idea that they want the pause button hit on immigration from Islamic countries because of the problems that are coming into this country.”  

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 Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy.  

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.  

Then U.S. 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.  

Then U.S. 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, then 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 chaired the committee on which Bachmann served, 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.  

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.”   

Bare Naked Islam

Bare Naked Islam is an anti-Muslim Internet blog and online community that portrays Islam as “a totalitarian political cult-like ideology.” Bannered with the line “It isn’t Islamophobia / When they really are trying to kill you,” the blog Bare Naked Islam is run by New York-based ‘Bonni’ Benstock-Intall.

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Center for Security Policy

The Center for Security Policy is a key anti-Muslim lobbying and propaganda group founded by Frank Gaffney. CSP seeks to advance anti-Muslim sentiment in both policy and society and predicates Islam as an existential threat to America. 

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Clare Lopez

Clare Lopez is an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist. The Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University asserts that Lopez “promotes falsified claims about Muslims in America, particularly the notion of a Muslim Brotherhood infiltration under President Obama.” 

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Clarion Project

The Clarion Project is a non-profit organization founded by Rapheal Shore that creates, funds, and disseminates anti-Muslim propaganda to influence American politics. Formerly known as the Clarion Fund, the organization purports that its films have been seen by 125 million people globally.  

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