Ten Republican Congressmen Push for Islamophobic Author to Speak at Army War College
Back in June, I reported that the U.S. Army War College had pulled the plug on a speaking engagement by well-known Islamophobic author Raymond Ibrahim.
Ibrahim had been scheduled to give a presentation on his latest book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, on June 19 at the College’s prestigious 50th Annual Lecture Series.
Ibrahim’s books and other writings present Islam as an inherently violent religion that is and always has been bent on destroying Christianity, and his Islamophobic views come through loud and clear in the articles he writes, such as “Why Western Nations Should Accept Only Christian Refugees.”
Ibrahim’s scheduled appearance at the Army War College was met with protest from Muslim organizations, most notably the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), with CAIR-Philadelphia writing to the Army War College’s commandant, Major General John Kem, and provost, James Breckenridge, urging them to revoke Ibrahim’s invitation.
Also joining in the protest was the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), with MRFF’s founder and president Mikey Weinstein having a series of phone calls and texts with MG Kem, and sending Kem some information on Ibrahim and his Islamophobic views.
In response to the protest and communications with Weinstein, the Army War College made the decision to pull the plug on Ibrahim’s presentation at the 50th Annual Lecture Series, and postpone his appearance to another event where he can be paired with someone who will present “another historical perspective.”
Ibrahim responded to CAIR’s letter with an article on PJ Media titled “CAIR Demands U.S. War College Withdraw My Speaking Invitation, Branding Me a ‘Notorious Islamophobe,’” and in this article proved CAIR’s and the other protesters’ point — that he portrays Islam as an intrinsically violent and terroristic religion, writing of his book:
“And this history makes abundantly clear that Islamic terrorism and ‘extremism’ are intrinsic to Islam, and have been from its first contact with Western civilization in the seventh century …”
Now, ten Republican congressmen, at least five of them members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, have called upon MG Kem to allow the Islamophobic Ibrahim to speak at the Army War College. In their letter to Kem, presented in its entirety below, these ten congressmen include the usual right-wing Islamophobic propaganda about CAIR, attempting to discredit one of the key organizations involved in getting the College to pull the plug on Ibrahim’s June speaking engagement.
Here is the letter from the ten congressmen to MG Kem:
Dear General Kem,
We write to you with grave concern about the recent decision by the United States Army War College (USAWC) and/or the United States Army Heritage Education Center (USAHEC) to postpone a lecture (original invitation enclosed) by Mr. Raymond Ibrahim on 19 June 2019. Mr. Ibrahim, an established and published historian, was invited in January 2019 to lecture on his newest book, “Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West,” a historical work analyzing eight decisive battles between Islam and the West. His lecture was to be part of the “2019 Perspectives in Military History Lecture Series,” and was to offer a well researched thesis worthy of academic inquiry and debate, not only for faculty, staff, and students of the USAWC, but also to the general public.
The USAWC cancelled/postponed Mr. Ibrahim’s lecture. The USAWC initially informed interested parties that the event had been postponed since so few people/students would be on campus in June; a situation that easily would have been foreseen in January, when he was invited and confirmed to speak. During initial contact with USAWC on this issue, we were informed that the postponement was in no way due to an orchestrated protest from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Another USAWC statement maintained that the event was postponed in order to, “pair Mr. Ibrahim’s military history insights in close proximity with another historical perspective, at a time when the USAWC curriculum has addressed historical analysis of influences on conflict.” Our concern is that the USAWC and/or USAHEC capitulated to the unfounded claims of CAIR, and thus damaged the academic freedom and integrity of the high esteem in which the USAWC is held by many around the world.
On 28 May, CAIR started an orchestrated, public attack on Mr. Ibrahim’s lecture, based on unfounded claims of the book’s scholarly merit and inaccurate claims about Mr. Ibrahim’s character. CAIR is named by the Department of Justice as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 2007 terrorist funding case against the Holy Land Foundation. CAIR also is recognized to have ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and as a result of these connections, our ally, the United Arab Emirates has designated CAIR a terrorist group. CAIR has a clear narrative that it’s attempting to advance, and by ceding to its demands, and canceling events like Mr. Ibrahim’s, the USAWC not only has promoted a one-sided perspective of history, but also denied students a valuable perspective on Islamic history.
Not only are we hearing from constituents — military and civilian — on this issue, but we’re extremely disappointed in the decision to cancel Mr. Ibrahim and his voice on a critical, current issue in our Nation. We depend on the esteem of an exceptional institution such as the USAWC to provide our future senior leaders, not only for our Nation, but worldwide, with an accurate, historical, balanced and thorough education. By postponing Mr. Ibrahim’s lecture, the USAWC jeopardizes academic freedom and the analytical ability critical for senior leaders, but also endangers national security in several ways.
Catering the institution’s valuable, academic offerings to the demands of one side — especially one designated with terrorist ties — deprives our senior leaders of a balanced viewpoint and analysis critical to success on the battlefield and the future of our Nation. No outside organization, including CAIR, should have the power to influence the education our senior leaders receive now or in the future.
We look forward to speaking with you and continuing this discussion, and in advance, thank you very much for your time and service.
Scott Perry, Member of Congress
Chuck Fleischmann, Member of Congress
Louie Gohmert, Member of Congress
Rick Crawford, Member of Congress
Randy Weber, Member of Congress
Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S., Member of Congress
Lee Zeldin, Member of Congress
Glenn Grothman, Member of Congress
Steve Stivers, Member of Congress
Andy Biggs, Member of Congress
cc: Geoffrey Mangelsdorf, Director U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
Written by Chris Rodda
Senior Research Director
Military Religious Freedom Foundation