The Republicans are the party of racists and religious bigots, and the Democrats are the party of anti-racists and religious tolerance. That’s why 21 Democrats from the almost entirely Democratic Congressional Black Caucus refused to comment when it emerged in 2018 that in 2005 they had met secretly with Louis Farrakhan. He, of course, was at it again on Thursday night, eliciting a vast and telling silence from CBC members with racist incitement against ‘Satanic Jews’.
That’s also why Eddie Bernice-Johnson, a Democrat from Texas who is one of the CBC members who declines to explain why she met with Farrakhan in 2005, invited Imam Omar Suleiman to read a prayer ‘for unity, not division’ in the House of Representatives on Thursday morning — a prayer which elicited a touching tweet of gratitudes from paragons of unity Ilhan Omar and Linda Sarsour.
Suleiman is the very model of a progressive preacher. That’s why Eddie Bernice-Johnson praised him on Friday as someone who, in ‘times of struggle’, has ‘time and again used his voice to call for peace & justice’. He just hates gays, sexual equality, and the Jewish state. Imagine the outcry if he had been invited by a Republican.
Suleiman thinks homosexuality is a ‘disease’:
‘When Allah describes homosexuality as a repugnant shameless sin and details his punishment of a people that practiced sodomy, how can anyone who believes in Allah not find it immoral? …If as Muslims we don’t take a clear stance on this, we will be forced to confirm and watch this disease destroy our children.’
Homosexuality, Suleiman believes, is ‘wrong’,‘obviously harmful to society’, and ‘not natural, because of human reproduction and all the diseases and things of that sort that come as a result’. Muslims, he says, should try to cure homosexuals of ‘that wrong idea or wrong practice’. Suleiman compares homosexual impulses and acts to bestiality and incest:
‘Now what if someone says, “But what if someone is born that way, what is someone is a homosexual and they can’t help that?” Then we would say that not every impulses is to be acted upon. OK? We don’t allow bestiality. We don’t allow incest.’
Suleiman wants to keep the sexes separate:
‘Basically guys and girls cannot be friends… You have to understand this, especially girls, OK?
Suleiman threatens women by comparing the wrath of Allah to a father committing an honor killing:
‘Allah doesn’t just own 20 guns, Allah owns hell fire. So you’d better be careful. You’re overstepping your bounds. Sisters, the same thing happens too, because you know what happens with a really jealous dad? He kills you and he kills the guy. You are offending Allah… whenever you make yourself promiscuous or whenever you open yourself up to that relationship.’
And, to everyone’s amazement, Suleiman preaches hatred of Israel:
‘The Zionists are the enemies of God, His Messengers, sincere followers of all religions, and humanity as a whole.’
Suleiman talks about ‘Apartheid Israel’ and accuses Israel of ‘genocide’, two lies which meet the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism — a definition endorsed by parties in democratic states all over the world, though, not, curiously, by the Democratic party.
In 2017, after Donald Trump had announced the move of the American embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, Suleiman spoke outside the White House at a protest organized by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). The Investigative Project on Terrorism identifies the AMP as the successor group to the Palestine Committee, which was created by the Muslim Brotherhood to propagandize and raise funds for Hamas in the US — and which closed following the largest terror-financing trial in American history.
In his speech outside the White House, Suleiman rejected not just the legitimacy of placing the American embassy on the Jewish side of Jerusalem and inside pre-1967 Israel. Suleiman rejects the entire existence of Israel:
‘Your maps mean nothing to us, your embassy is as illegitimate as the occupation it seeks to legitimize… Our boycott is our boycott. Our Palestine is our Palestine.’
The Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research doesn’t produce ‘research’ in the academic sense. It proselytizes through ‘research’ like ‘The Physical Miracles of the Prophet’. It denies the validity of real scholarly research through articles like ‘Blind Spots: The Origins of the Western Method of Critiquing Hadith’. And it politicizes its findings in propaganda like ‘Ancestral Knowledge and American Muslims: Rooting Cultural Resistance in Islam’. All harmless, constitutionally protected fun, but none of it ‘research’.
The Yaqeen Institute claims to be devoted to ‘challenging detrimental narratives about Islam’. But its activities, like Suleiman’s extremism, contribute to those narratives. The Yaqeen Institute runs scholarship programs named for Malcolm X, polices the morality of young women, demonizes Israel, and compares gay people to people who commit incest or bestiality. This is detrimental to the dignity of Islam, American Muslims, black Americans — and the Democratic party.
The Yaqeen Institute’s Vanguards of Social Justice scholarship program request recipients to pursue ‘the Islamic outlook on a contemporary social justice issue and recommend practical solutions’. This mixing of Islamism and radical left-wing ideology may, as Suleiman’s history of intolerant statements proves, be an intellectual absurdity. But it is also an opportunist political alliance which has proven itself in the politics of western European states.
This ‘red-green’ politics is now a distinctive and growing feature of the Democratic left. As we have seen in the controversies that erupt whenever Ilhan Omar makes the mistake of speaking honestly, the party leadership are afraid of confronting it. Perhaps Omar Suleiman, as Nancy Pelosi said in her disgraceful apologia for Ilhan Omar, has ‘a different experience of words’, and actually really loves gays and Israel. Perhaps the electoral toxicity of the Democrats’ leftward drift will focus Nancy Pelosi’s mind in the run-up to 2020. We can but pray.
Dominic Green is Life & Arts Editor of Spectator USA.