Frank Gaffney is the founder of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a neo-conservative think tank that publishes books and pamphlets promoting the conspiracy theory that America is under threat from “Islamization,” and that the implementation of Islamic law is imminent.
Gaffney has promulgated a number of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories over the years. Chief among them is the allegation that the U.S. government has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and that a number of political figures have actual ties to the group.
Gaffney is the host of Secure Freedom Radio, a weekly radio program dedicated to advancement of myriad conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim extremism, which are also the focus of CSP. For example, CSP published a misleading report that claimed there are "ominous levels of support for Islamic supremacists' doctrine of Shariah, Jihad." The report was based on a poll using a flawed methodology. In February 2015, Gaffney wrote an article titled "Good Muslims?" on the center's website claiming the actions of extremists are all "sanctioned by the supremacist Islamic doctrine of shariah."
While there are a number of right-wing figures who claim that American Muslims are trying to undermine the United States, Gaffney has undue influence. His anti-Muslim allegations and studies have been cited by politicians. Thanks to his think tank and conference appearances, Gaffney’s theories reach a relatively wide audience.
Gaffney has opposed the building of mosques in America. He has been highly critical of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He accused the Tennessee imam and others on the board of the Tennessee mosque of being proponents of Shariah (Islam's religious law). In a 2010 interview with CNN about the Murfreesboro mosque, Gaffney said, “They are promoting a program that is at odds with our freedoms, our form of government, our Constitution….” He added, “You have stealth jihadists at work, trying to advance the situation.” Gaffney also appeared at a Chancery Court hearing and claimed the mosque's leadership was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood."
In recent years, Gaffney endorsed calls for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Allegations about government figures’ ties to Muslim Brotherhood
Gaffney has articulated a vision of an Islamic Fifth Column in the United States by working from the inside to undermine the country. He has published numerous articles and reports alleging that Muslims in the U.S. are trying to undermine the country by infiltrating our institutions and gaining direct access to the White House and political operatives.
In 2003, Gaffney wrote an article on alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration for FrontPage magazine, the media arm of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an ultra-conservative organization that claims to combat the efforts of the “radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm this country.” The article claimed that Grover Norquist, an influential anti-tax activist, and Suhail Khan, who worked with the Bush administration on Muslim outreach efforts, have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The article went on to accuse various Muslim leaders of having infiltrated George W. Bush’s administration.
The allegations continued as Bush prepared to leave the White House, when Gaffney turned his attention to president-elect Barack Obama. In a 2008 Washington Times article, Gaffney claimed that Obama hoped “to win the White House by relying, in part, on the Jihadist vote.” In the same column, Gaffney drummed up “birther” conspiracy theories, questioning whether Obama “is a natural born citizen of the United States.”
In a 2009 Washington Times article, reacting to President Obama's trip to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Gaffney claimed that "there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself."
These allegations went beyond President Obama to people in his administration; Gaffney has claimed that Huma Abedin, who worked as an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2011, Gaffney wrote on the CSP website that the country needed a committee modeled after the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee “to investigate in particular the extent to which the Obama administration’s anti-American activities reflect the success of the toxic Muslim Brotherhood…in penetrating and subverting both U.S. government agencies and civil institutions.”
Gaffney also accused Representative Andre Carson (D-IN), who is a Muslim, of having ties to a number of Muslim Brotherhood front groups.
Frank Gaffney employs anti-Muslim bigotry as a tool to discredit political opponents. He frequently hurls accusations of Islamist-affiliation or sympathies to Muslims, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, at high profile politicians with whom he disagrees.
In 2013, Gaffney penned an op-ed for the Washington Times in which he claimed CIA Director John Brennan was "deeply sympathetic" to Islamists.
In January 2015, The Family Research Council, an American conservative Christian group, invited Gaffney to a discussion about “no-go zones” in Europe, theoretical European neighborhoods with robust Muslim populations that are, Gaffney claims, “off-limits” to non-Muslims. At the event, Gaffney stated, “When the President says at the United Nations, ‘The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,’ we could’ve found those words coming out of the mouths of Osama bin Laden, or Mullah Omar of the Taliban, or the leaders of Boko Haram or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of Islamic State.”
In an October 2016 podcast, Gaffney led a discussion about UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who prior to becoming UN Secretary General, was the head of UNHCR (The UN's refugee agency). During the discussion, Gaffney accused the UNHCR of supporting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and aiding in the migration of Islamists.
Gaffney’s anti-Muslim activities
Gaffney is still welcome in conservative circles, despite drawing occasional censure for his controversial and bigoted statements. .
In 2011, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) barred Gaffney from participating after he pushed his theories that Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, two fellow conservatives, were tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Despite these criticisms, Gaffney has always bounced back. In 2013, the conservative media outlet Breitbart News held a conference at the same time as CPAC called “The Uninvited: A Session of Controversial Speakers and Topics.” The title was a reference to people like Gaffney who had not been invited to participate in CPAC. The group included a number of anti-Muslim bigots, including Gaffney and Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, the heads of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). Like Gaffney’s CSP, SIOA warns that Shariah law is infiltrating the U.S.
In 2015, Gaffney returned to CPAC. He moderated two panels on “Countering the Global Jihad.” Before the first panel began, Gaffney set the tone by mentioning that in 1991, a Muslim Brotherhood operative produced the “explanatory memorandum on the general strategic goal of the group in North America.” According to Gaffney, the memo explicitly addresses the progress the Muslim Brotherhood has made in building an infrastructure in the United States with the goal of destroying Western civilization from within and establishing Islam as the dominant religion. The memo referenced by Gaffney is a 1991 document that is attributed to the leadershop of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In September 2015, Gaffney came under fierce criticism for hosting Jared Taylor, a white supremacist, on his radio show. In the beginning of the interview, Gaffney describes Taylor, as “the editor of a wonderful online publication, American Renaissance,” a website featuring articles that purport to demonstrate the intellectual and cultural superiority of whites. In response to the criticism, Gaffney removed the interview from his website.
Gaffney is also a prolific writer. In 2010, he published the book, Shari'ah: The Threat To America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, Report of Team 'B' I, which propagates the conspiracy theory that Shariah law poses a serious threat to the U.S. and Americans. It was co-authored by David Yerushalmi, another anti-Muslim bigot and an attorney who is one of the driving forces behind efforts to ban the use of Shariah law in American courts. Yerushalmi is also the general counsel for Gaffney’s CSP.
In 2015, expanding its anti-Muslim agenda to reach an anti-immigrants audience, CSP produced a book by anti-immigrant activist Ann Corcoran titled Refugee Resettlement and The Hijra to America. The book perpetuates the conspiracy that Muslim refugees resettled in the US are part of a “Hijra,” which according to Corcoran is “the model to this day for jihadists who seek to populate and dominate new lands.”
Gaffney has been part of conservative circles since working for the Reagan administration as assistant secretary of defense. He founded CSP after leaving the government in 1988.
In 2012, Gaffney’s influence was apparent when a group of politicians, including Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland, sent letters to inspectors general of five different national security agencies demanding that they investigate infiltration by the Muslim Brotherhood into the federal government. The letters cited Frank Gaffney as the source of the information about alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration.
Gaffney’s work has also influenced violent extremists. Norwegian terrorist Anders Brehring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo and Utoya Island, published a 1,500-page manifesto that repeatedly cited the writings of Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy.
Gaffney has been a relatively prominent figure in the 2016 presidential campaign. In 2015, Gaffney authored a survey that presidential candidate Donald Trump referenced when he declared that “25 percent of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad, and 51 percent of those polled agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” Numerous media sources questioned the validity of the survey. A few months later, when Trump said that “Islam hates us,” Gaffney defended that statement in a CSP column saying, “There is no getting around the fact that the practice of Islam as defined by the faith’s authorities …is hateful towards those like us, who believe that our government should be defined by a man-made Constitution, not by the dictates of a deity like Allah codified in a doctrine like Sharia.”
A few months later, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz selected Gaffney as his foreign policy advisor.