Editor’s Note: This is Part VIII of an ongoing series by Robert Spencer highlighting human rights hypocrisy and fraudulent peace activists. For Part I see “The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam,” for Part II see “The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism,” for Part III see “The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women,” for Part IV see “The Hypocrisy of the Western Christian Response to Muslim Persecution of Christians,” for Part V “The Hypocrisy of the Leftist Response to Ariel Sharon’s Death,” for Part VI see “The Hypocrisy of Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR’s ‘Islamophobic List,'” and for Part VII see last week’s “The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad.”
How clueless and compromised are this country’s moneyed Leftist elites? This clueless and compromised. Intersections International, a group that styles itself as dedicated to promoting “peacemaking” and “interfaith outreach,” is honoring the Leftist media’s darling of the moment, Reza Aslan, “for his work at the intersection of religion, scholarship, and global peacemaking.”
It is hard to overstate how spectacularly bad a choice Reza Aslan is as someone to be honored for “global peacemaking,” unless Intersections International is using the word “peacemaking” as a synonym for “surrender to the enemies of the United States,” particularly Iran — which, in light of the fact that Intersections International is a Leftist group, may well be the case. For Reza Aslan in no way represents peacemaking, either professionally or personally. He is, for starters, a board member of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has been established in court as a lobbying group for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This is not hearsay or rumor; there is an abundance of evidence for it. Michael Rubin noted in February 2013 that “Jamal Abdi, NIAC’s policy director, now appears to push aside any pretense that NIAC is something other than Iran’s lobby. Speaking at the forthcoming ‘Expose AIPAC’ conference, Abdi is featured on the ‘Training: Constituent Lobbying for Iran’ panel. Oops.”
According to Charles C. Johnson in the Daily Caller: “Iranian state-run media have referred to the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) since at least 2006 as ‘Iran’s lobby’ in the U.S.” Iranian freedom activist Hassan Daioleslam “documented over a two-year period that NIAC is a front group lobbying on behalf of the Iranian regime.” NIAC had to pay him nearly $200,000 in legal fees after they sued him for defamation over his accusation that they were a front group for the mullahs, and lost.
Yet Aslan remains on their board.
Reza Aslan is a busy man, living a life of hectic vacancy as he rushes from one adoring Leftist crowd to another, and it may be that in between media appearances to tout (and wildly overstate) his credentials, he just hasn’t had the time to find out what NIAC is all about. That’s unlikely, however, as his own words and actions are consistent with this affiliation. He tried to pass off Iran’s frenziedly antisemitic and genocidally-minded former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a liberal reformer, even calling on the U.S. government to negotiate with him, as well as with the jihad terror group Hamas.
Aslan even praised the terror group Hizballah, Iran’s jihad terrorist client group in Lebanon, as “the most dynamic political and social organization in Lebanon.” He has also singled out for praise the antisemitic, misogynist, Islamic supremacist Muslim Brotherhood, which is dedicated in its own words, according to a captured internal document, to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.”
At the height of the “Arab Spring,” Aslan wrote: “The Muslim Brotherhood will have a significant role to play in post-Mubarak Egypt. And that is good thing.” (That’s right, there was no indefinite article in that last sentence. Basic grammar and spelling are not the “scholar” Aslan’s strong suit.) Tens of millions of Egyptians registered their disagreement with Aslan’s assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood was “good thing” when they took to the streets to topple the Brotherhood government in the summer of 2013.
Intersections International says this of itself: “Since its establishment in 2008, Intersections International has worked toward a world where every person—regardless of race, culture, gender, ideology or sexual orientation—is treated with mutual respect and understanding.” Yet Reza Aslan isn’t a peacemaker as a human being, either, and has no interest in showing “mutual respect and understanding” to his ideological opponents. He has applauded and called for fascist thuggery to deny the freedom of speech to those he hates. This in itself probably doesn’t bother Intersections International, however, as the group is no stranger to lauding fascists: it previously honored anti-free speech vandal Mona Eltahawy.
Aslan is publicly obnoxious, usually on Twitter, and gleefully unrepentant about it: when Buzzfeed published just a sampling of the foul-mouthed abuse he spews at those who cross him, Aslan shrugged it off, saying that his opponents were terrible people, and deserved everything he said to them. Similarly, when a Muslim woman in California, Shaima Alawadi, was murdered in what was widely and erroneously reported as a “hate crime,” Aslan tweeted: “If a 32 year old veiled mother is a terrorist than [sic] so am I you Islamophobic fucks Gellar [sic] Spencer et. al. [sic] Come find me.” When it became clear that the murder was actually an Islamic honor killing, not an “Islamophobic hate crime” at all, I asked Aslan for an apology for essentially accusing me of complicity in a murder. He tweeted: “You owe me an apology for that beard you sexy walrus.” Gandhiesque!
Despite all this, the Intersections International award is not the first such honor Aslan has received; last May, the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding also celebrated Aslan, in terms similar to those of Intersections. Tanenbaum’s CEO, Joyce S. Dubensky, asserted that “all of Reza’s accomplishments — from his books, to his media efforts, to his activism and interfaith work — share a theme. All inform, build bridges of respect and enable greater understanding of Islam and religious extremism.” Respect? Yes. Dubensky added: “We are particularly excited about honoring Reza. He is tackling hard issues and does it in a way that allows people to listen and learn. And that’s both unusual and critical if we are to achieve mutual respect.”
It’s laughable to see this foul-mouthed terror apologist being touted for his abilities at “peacemaking” and fostering “mutual respect,” but of course neither Dubensky nor Intersections is laughing or even sees the irony. They don’t have any illusions, mind you; they don’t think that Aslan fosters peace with those who disagree with him politically, or that he respects conservatives or foes of jihad terror. Nor do they expect him to. In their world, which is also Aslan’s world, people deemed “right-wing” are unworthy of respect, and unworthy even of basic courtesy. No matter how much Aslan engages in immature, ungrammatical and R-rated rants at the “Right,” he will still qualify in the Left’s mind as a “peacemaker” – indeed, as even more of one, for the “right-wingers” are the only ones really disrupting the possibilities for peace, now, aren’t they?
As far as Intersections, the Tanenbaum Center and Reza Aslan are concerned, we deserve all the abuse they can hurl at us. And as they grip their cocktails on awards night in hands smeared with mud and blood, they will congratulate each other on how wonderfully peaceful and respectful they all are.
image courtesy bizpacreview.com