On Tuesday, President Trump ousted National Security Advisor John Bolton. Charles M. Kupperman was named to the post on an interim basis, after becoming deputy national security advisor in January. The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) united to attack Kupperman for “hate,” saying they were “appalled” by his elevation in the White House.
“President Donald Trump’s new acting national security adviser once served on the board of directors for the Center for Security Policy, a group that started as a hawkish think tank and morphed into a leading anti-Muslim organization,” the SPLC’s Hatewatch blog wrote. The SPLC has falsely accused CSP of being a “hate group.” Given the SPLC’s history in suing the KKK — and the fact it includes KKK groups on its “hate group” list — lawyers have described the “hate group” accusation as a “reputational death sentence.”
“CSP has continuously promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories, and anyone, like Mr. Kupperman, who has so closely associated with them for so long is — at the very least — complicit in their brand of anti-Muslim bigotry and should not be entrusted with one of the highest ranking security roles in the United States,” CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement. He said his organization is “appalled” at Kupperman’s elevation.
Kupperman, who is Jewish and served in the Reagan administration, served on CSP’s board from 2001 to 2010. The SPLC did not accuse CSP of being a “hate group” until 2015. Yet the Hatewatch article seemed to suggest the SPLC should have attacked the organization far earlier.
“The Center for Security Policy began peddling anti-Muslim rhetoric after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The group, for example, warns that Islamic law poses a threat to American democracy and that Muslims are trying to overthrow the U.S. government from within,” the article warned. It went on to call sharia “is a set of guiding religious principles. Anti-Muslim groups push conspiratorial rhetoric about it in an attempt to frame Islam as a foreign threat.”
Yet sharia is Islamic law, and it has the force of law in many countries. Some Muslim communities in Western countries have indeed attempted to get precepts of sharia enshrined in civil law — a goal of “sharia supremacy” condemned by freedom-loving Muslims like M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).
Jasser, a devout Muslim, has long supported CSP and other persons and organizations falsely attacked as “hate groups” by the SPLC and CAIR. Last month, he appeared in a “Truth Squad” series of CSP videos attacking both organizations.
“Groups like CAIR are the downstream, nonviolent precursors of radical Islamists,” Jasser warned.
CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, and wiretap surveillance captured proof that CAIR’s mission was to assist “Sister Samah,” its founder’s somewhat opaque code-name for Hamas. CAIR opened its first office with a $5,000 grant from the Holy Land Foundation. The United Arab Emirates designated CAIR a terrorist group in 2014. The State Department designated Hamas a terrorist organization in 1997. The U.S., Israel, and the European Union have shut down organizations that funnel money to Hamas.
Yet the SPLC refers to CAIR as a “Muslim civil rights group.” Jasser has accused the SPLC of supporting radical Islamists who wish to silence freedom-loving Muslim reformers like himself.
“The SPLC ends up becoming a tool of the theocrats — like the Saudis and others who you think they’d disagree with — but they don’t care about what they’re facilitating globally, which is global jihad of the Islamic Republic of Iran or Saudi Arabia,” Jasser told PJ Media at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last year.
He expressed support for Maajid Nawaz, founder of the anti-Islamist organization the Quilliam foundation, who sued the SPLC for defamation after the far-left group accused him of being an “anti-Muslim extremist.” The SPLC settled for $3.375 million and gave Nawaz a very public apology.
The SPLC “just want to use us Muslims as an identity politic. So the biggest threat to their power are Muslims within our identity who reject their identity politic. That’s why they want to label us Islamophobes and bigots, and I think Maajid’s suit is a smart thing. Anything I can do to help him, I will. They are basically doing the work to silence and marginalize the authenticity of the voices of Muslim reform.”
In March, the SPLC fired its co-founder and lost its key leadership amid a scandal involving claims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment. In the fallout, a former employee outed the “hate group” list as a cynical fundraising scheme, giving strength to current and potentially future lawsuits against the far-left organization. The SPLC has worked overtime to paint President Donald Trump as a hate monger, branding his social media summit a “hate summit,” and blaming him for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter — even though the shooter hated Trump and Trump proudly embraces the Jewish community, even in his own family.
Frank Gaffney, CSP’s founder, president, and CEO, responded to the SPLC and CAIR attacks, telling PJ Media he stands firmly behind Kupperman, who has not worked for CSP for nearly a decade.
“This is part of the incessant effort of these two discredited political warfare instruments in the Red-Green Axis, the radical left SPLC and the Muslim Brotherhood front CAIR,” Gaffney said. “Charlie was a founding board member and he resigned before we got in the crosshairs of the SPLC and CAIR. He’s had absolutely nothing to do with our work since then.”
“He’s a good friend and I’m very pleased that he’s continuing to serve the president,” the CSP founder added. As for the attack, he called it “complete unadulterated rubbish.”
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.