ADL Deeply Troubled by American Military Officials Speaking at Conference Co-Hosted by Anti-Muslim Group

New York, NY, October 17, 2018 … ADL today issued the following statement, expressing serious concern about reports indicating that four senior American military officials were scheduled to speak at a conference in Virginia co-hosted by Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy:

We are deeply disturbed that four senior American military officials, representing the Air Force, the Army and the Marine Corps, are scheduled to speak at today's symposium on “asymmetric threats” in Virginia co-hosted by notorious anti-Muslim advocate Frank Gaffney and his organization, the Center for Security Policy.  According to the agenda, the symposium includes several active high-ranking military officers to speak on the same panel as Frank Gaffney.  We question their judgment in deciding to associate themselves with Gaffney and his organization, which actively promotes the conspiracy theory that our nation is under threat from “Islamization,” and we strongly urge them to withdraw from presenting at the symposium.

Frank Gaffney has falsely claimed that the United States Government has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and that implementation of Islamic law is imminent.  He has objected to the construction of mosques and called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the country, and his work has influenced and given support to violent extremists here and abroad.   

Each of the services has an equal opportunity policy that bars participation in extremist organizations and the service chiefs have all taken strong positions against intolerance within their ranks, particularly after the events in Charlottesville last year. Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists have already been given a measure of unwelcome credibility and legitimacy by the current administration.  At a time when the Muslim community in the U.S. continues to be targeted by increased hate crimes and policies which further marginalize the community, the participation of prominent American military leaders at an event with Frank Gaffney and co-hosted by the Center for Security Policy compounds this bad judgment.  Unfortunately, it is likely to further embolden anti-Muslim extremists whose actions are not only inhumane and offensive, but also directly contrary to our national interest.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.