I found this article on FrontPageMagazine about one man's experience with CAIR and the extend they will go to shut down someone in the public eye up if they criticize Islam. It's worth passing along:
My Battle With CAIR
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Shawn Steel, former California Republican Party Chairman (2001 to 2003). After the 9/11 attack he was disturbed by the lack of Muslim community opposition to the jihadists. He wrote about this issue for the National Review and was immediately attacked and sued by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He won the suit. Mr. Steel helped sponsor Ann Coulter’s appearance during Islamo Fascist Awareness Week at USC (University of Southern California) and also participated in a panel on Oct 26th for IFAW at CSU-Fullerton, in which he debated a member from the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) alongside Dr. Wafa Sultan, Syrian-born Muslim psychiatrist.
FP: Shawn Steel, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Steel: Thanks. Frontpage is now the leading source for monitoring and analyzing the Left/Radical Islam alliance. It’s a pleasure talking with you.
FP: A pleasure to speak with you as well.
I would like to talk about your battle with CAIR and some other aspects of your experience. But first, give us a bit of background and tell us how you came to be working with the California College Republicans’ anti-Jihaddist programs. Share your intellectual journey with us in terms of what your political outlook was before 9/11 and after.
Steel: As a Republican I am always looking for ways to expand the Republican base, particularly in a blue state like California . I believe that if the Party were to give significant visibility to Asians and middle class Latinos our growth would be unparalleled. When I began to notice the significant growth of Muslim populations in the US , that community seemed ideal for the Party. Superficially Muslims, seemed pro-family, hard working, industrious and suspicious of oppressive government. My kind of people. Our Party tried for a generation to aggressively seek Jewish American support. Many of our most prominent thinkers and strategists are Jewish, but the whole of the Jewish community continues to vote for the Left. I had hoped that Muslims could give my Party a better electoral balance. I was wrong.
With the shock of the long planned 9/11 attack, I was stunned with the conspicuous lack of leadership from the “moderate” Muslim community resisting Terror. What is discovered, among some long term Muslim friends, was their fear challenging worldwide Islamists. Merely, seeing the Palestinians and other Muslims jumping for joy with the Twin Towers attack permanently turned me off.
FP: You would think that since the Republicans are stronger on the issue of security for Israel and against radical Islam, that Jews would vote Republican. Why do you think so many Jews are liberal and vote Democrat, when the liberal agenda actually makes Israel and Jews more vulnerable to attack?
Steel: The conflict between the Jews who love both America and Israel yet vote Democrat is a major political conundrum. The usual analysis is that early 20th Jewish-American political history tilted to the Left from its European experiences. Still it’s hard to break historical habits. I have to hope for a new generation of American Jewish leaders.
It’s even more surprising how many Jews are currently anti-Israel or are rather detached. This is ominous for Israel’s future.
FP: Kenneth Levin has dealt masterfully with many aspects of this phenomenon in his book, The Oslo Syndrome.
Let’s go a bit deeper in to the issue of the lack of leadership from the “moderate” Muslim community resisting Terror. Is it really just fear of challenging worldwide Islamists?
Steel: This controversy of whether there is such a thing as “moderate” Islam has two main schools of thought. Daniel Pipes often writes that the solution to radical Islam is moderate Islam. Giants such Tashbih Sayyed [recently deceased editor of Muslim World Today] is proof that a devout Muslim could both be pro-American and anti-Islamist. However, Robert Spencer implies that the core theory of Islam is inherently violent and anti-Western, therefore moderate Muslims are a minority. I want to be more optimistic. I believe Pipes is correct. In the long run the present day fanatics will “die off” eventually burning out for at least one or two hundreds years, before they reappear.
FP: One second, my friend, just for the record, Robert Spencer has never argued that there cannot be moderate Muslims. He has identified elements of Islamic theology and law that mandate warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers. However, he has explicitly and consistently assumed the existence of moderate Muslims, and repeatedly called upon peaceful Muslims to confront and reform these aspects of Islamic teaching. The idea that Pipes and Spencer hold opposing views on this has actually been refuted by Pipes himself, who has said: “Robert Spencer and I have discussed the perceived differences in our view of Islam. He and I concluded that, although we have different emphases - he deals more with scriptures, I more with history - we have no disagreements.” And Tashbih Sayyed was a member of the Board of Directors of Spencer’s Jihad Watch.
Steel: You are probably correct. Pipes is a gentleman. And Spencer is a brilliant historian. Both do seem to have different views as to the potential of a moderate Muslim Renaissance. If there is a moderate Muslim philosophy we need to support it.
FP: Well, let’s just say that they are both gentlemen and both brilliant, and both very courageous people.
So let’s move on to the CAIR story. What happened?
Steel: I met with CAIR leaders before I became chairman. They appeared to me to be a polished interest group, simply trying to empower Muslims in the US into the political process. I had hoped they were leaning Republican. Later it became clear to me they have little interest in the US or our traditions. Instead CAIR is financed outside the US which promotes a virulent extreme form of Islamic radicalism. I wrote a piece in NRO entitled “Who CAIRS?” which documented CAIR’s vitriolic attack against me for a speech I gave at USC promoting the US attack against Saddam Hussein.
In my speech I stated that there is a cancer “within” Islam that is anti-Western and anti-American. The very next day CAIR sent out an email blast to one of their lists attacking me. In short order, I received hundreds of angry emails. It was quite intimidating. I was amazed with the writers’ hostility to the land they immigrated to. I had no idea that many people who call themselves Muslims and live here, hate being here.
I still stand by my comments.
FP: And there was a law suit?
Steel: Yes, without any notice, one of the leaders in CAIR sued me for my remarks. He sued me in Orange County . His case was shortly dismissed for transgressing my First Amendment rights. I was awarded attorney fees. No one likes to get sued. Particularly for punitive damages, where not even your liability insurance can pay a potential judgment against you. I’ve discovered that CAIR regularly uses our legal system to try to quash dissent. CAIR has sued David Frum [National Review], Congressman Ballenger, Andrew Whitehead [leader of Anti-CAIR] and others. I believe most of the lawsuits were dismissed.
I am an eager campaigner and fully understand that politics is a full contact sport. CAIR is a group of highly paid and ruthless strategists. I would not have paid much attention to them at all. However, when they entered my world, I realized their ambitions are the advancement of an extreme form of Islamic dogmatic groupthink. CAIR is unhealthy for the body politic. It is an integral part of the cancer within Islam.
FP: It is interesting that you give a speech stating that there is a cancer within Islam that is anti-Western and anti-American, and then you get hate mails for saying this, but they are emails that are based on the hate of the West and America . What is the psychology, in your view, of those who criticize you for saying something about them, but they criticize you for saying exactly that which they themselves repeat about themselves in their criticism and actions?
Steel: The philosophy of those who threaten your free speech are from fanatics who use fear as a tool. Self importance social narcissism is what drives their intolerance. Eric Hoffer wrote about this type of fanatic in his classic study in The True Believer.
FP: Also when you say that many of those who call themselves Muslims and live here, hate being here, why do you think they stay or come here? If you hate our society so much, why do you stay here? Why do you come here?
Steel: Why do people work hard to come to America and then some wind up hating the experience is inevitable to those who fail to adapt. Generally, some immigrants can become disillusioned and homesick. Coming to America is a life changing experience. They’ve uprooted all they know. If they meet economic failure here, they can blame America. If their social life is disappointing they can blame America. The Second Generation ingrates are more intriguing. As we’ve see in England, the Second Generation Muslim immigrants, some have developed a strong alienation with their own lives. They are truly not comfortable in their “mother” country, and still seek to blame the host country for their perceived social and economic failures. Generally, these alienated people are a social pathology.
FP: What are your overall thoughts about CAIR today? What should people know about CAIR? What is its future? What action should concerned citizens take in terms of this group?
Steel: CAIR probably has more money and a larger staff than ever. But, CAIR’s reputation is badly damaged. Many writers and opinion leaders are aware of the CAIR masquerade. Even Sen. Barbara Boxer and other democrats have attacked CAIR’s tactics. I believe the CAIR leaders will soon realize that their brand is hopelessly ruined. I expect CAIR will evolve into another organization with a different brand but using the same tactics.
FP: What were your thoughts on Islamo-Fascism Awareness week? Why do you think the Left is so resistant to caring for the victims of our totalitarian enemies?
Steel: Only David Horowitz could come up with a bold plan to cover over one hundred colleges with the big idea to bring Islamo-Fascism to light. I am sure that tens of thousands of students were influenced to take a deeper look into the fascistic tendencies of the worldwide Jihad.
The great irony is how the Left is so devoid of moral character that they proudly associate themselves with today’s nastiest totalitarians. You would think that most thinking people would be offended to those who pay homage to Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Today’s totalitarians are just as anti Jewish as their 1930’s forbearers. Their collective anti-Semitism is breathtaking. Those who love Liberty and want to expand Liberty worldwide have a lot of work to do. We hope that the Islamo-Fascism week influenced a new generation of recruits for the struggle against world wide fascism.
FP: The Left and radical Islam both share the common ground of anti-Semitism. What are your thoughts on this bond?
Steel: The Left has a history of anti-Semitism going back to Stalin if not earlier to some of Marx’s strange writings. Today’s growing anti-Semitism must make some Leftist Jews a bit uncomfortable.
But if you’re a die hard secular-Leftist, why not associate with millions of hateful Muslims who also hate Israel and Jews. It’s a natural alliance. We have seen some of this thinking penetrate into mainstream Democrat ranks. It will take a lot of work for Obama and Clinton to keep the lid on its base, Move On.Com et al are slowing turning more obviously anti-Semitic.
FP: You recently visited Kurdistan . Can you tell us about your trip and your impressions?
Steel: We visited one of the most pro-American populations on the earth. The Kurdish people of some 40,000,000 million souls is the largest ethnic group without its own nation. The years of torment against their culture and language is slowing abating due for only one reason. The United States has liberated the Kurds in Northern Iraq, giving Kurds a chance at democratic self-government. They are a hearty people who have few friends. The Kurds are surrounded by countries ruled by tyrants. After all is said and done and Iraq joins the community of nations as a stable country we will be able to depend on the Kurds to be our eyes and supporters for the next 100 years, if we don’t betray them.
FP: What are some of your short-term future plans?
Steel: My wife, Michelle Park Steel, the country’s highest elected Republican Asian [Calif Board of Equalization with 9,000,000 constituents] has endorsed Rudy. With the California College Republicans I am working with a group who is sponsoring the Three X Terrorists who will appear in early Spring on campuses throughout the state. I am also running for the RNC National committeeman seat this February at the California Republican Party’s convention. I expect my views re Islamic terrorism to find a friendly national audience in the Republican National Committee.
FP: Shawn Steel, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
Steel: Thank you.