What is the 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.
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identifies Center for Security Policy as an anti-Muslim hate group. SPLC calls Gaffney “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes” and as a key propagandist and conspiracy theorist for the Islamophobia movement.
A 2019 report by CAIR detailing support for Islamophobia originating from philanthropic organizations revealed that Center for Security Policy received more than $3.4 million in funding from charitable groups between 2014 and 2016. In the same period, Center for Security Policy spent close to $1.5 million to advance anti-Muslim positions and policies with Republicans officials as well as engaged in anti-Muslim law enforcement training.
Founded in 1988 by Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration official, the Center for Security Policy is “a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the anti-Muslim movement in the United States.” The Center for Security Policy’s website features rhetoric characterized as anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim. Gaffney has spread hysteria about “creeping Sharia,” and its perceived threat to American democracy. He has also accused Islamic organizations and individuals of conspiratorial ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Center for Security Policy has published articles alleging that Muslims in the US aim to destabilize the nation by infiltrating institutions and gaining access to top government officials and political operatives. CSP published “A Trojan Horse for the Islamists” that alleges President Biden’s support for the Muslim American community signaled he was “clearly handing over the reins of American policy domestically and abroad to the most radical of the Red-Green alliance and those who tow the line of the Islamist way of thought.”
CSP engages in anti-Muslim law enforcement training, often working closely with disgraced former FBI agent John Guandolo on providing anti-Muslim instruction for U.S. law enforcement officials. John Guandolo is founder of Understanding the Threat, a training group known for providing anti-Islam instruction for U.S law enforcement officials, and has portrayed American Muslims “as secret operatives in a war against Christianity and the Constitution.” In 2007, CSP gave Guandolo its “Defenders of the Home Front” award.
At a 2015 conference hosted with Guandolo in Denver, Gaffney called Somali-American communities as “colonies” and said of Somali workers at meatpacking plants in Colorado: “I don’t know about you, but it kind of creeps me out that they are getting jobs in the food supply of the United States.”
In 2010, the CSP partnered with various anti-Muslim activists, collectively referred to as “Team B II,” to produce a report titled “Shariah: The Threat to America.” The report claimed that numerous Muslim organizations in America were attempting to implement Sharia law across the country and alleged that some of these organizations were fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.
In another report from 2015, the Center for Security Policy falsely accused Grover Norquist, a prominent Republican anti-tax activist, and Suhail Khan, a former Bush administration official involved in Muslim outreach initiatives, of having connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. The report further accused various Muslim leaders of infiltrating the George W. Bush government.
Gaffney falsely accused former President Obama of being a secret practicing Muslim. Gaffney asked The Washington Times: “What if it turns out that some of the people the Obama administration has been embracing are actually promoting the same totalitarian ideology and seditious agenda as al Qaeda, only they’re doing it from White House Iftar dinners?”
Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy funded the introduction of anti-Sharia bills, many using the American Laws for American Courts template legislation, in state legislatures across the United States. According to a report published by Haas Institute at the University of California Berkeley, Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy provided $153,000.. From 2010 to 2016, Haas Institute reported 194 anti-Sharia bills were introduced in 39 state legislatures, of which 18 bills were enacted into law.
In 2015, CSP organized four National Security Action Summits in Nevada, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa — all critical primary states. Prominent Islamophobic speakers included Herman Cain, Steve King, John Bolton, and Phyllis Schlafly were platformed. A number of anti-Muslim GOP candidates attended, including Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson.
Further strengthening its ties to presidential candidates, in September of 2015, CSP co-sponsored an anti-Iran rally in Washington, D.C. where it invited Cruz and Trump to speak. CSP also invited Act for America president, Brigitte Gabriel, who took the stage to amplify the demonization of Muslims.
On December 7, 2015, then presidential candidate Trump cited a debunked CSP poll as justification to call for a Muslim Ban, a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States. CPS commissioned The Polling Company, led by Kellyanne Conway who became a Trump advisor, to conduct the poll in June of that year. The Intercept reported the poll utilized a non-probability based, opt-in online survey that had no statistical validity.
Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, responsible for the deaths of 77 people in Oslo and Utoya Island, cited the works of Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy on eight occasions in his manifesto.