Following in the footsteps of right-wing pundit Frank Gaffney, David Horowitz is accusing CPAC of having connections to radical Islam. Horowitz spoke at a CPAC panel in 2009, where he was introduced by notorious anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, and the David Horowitz Freedom Center is a CPAC participating organization. But Horowitz, who recently defended Glenn Beck in his linking of the progressive movement to the Muslim Brotherhood and claimed that public school teachers encourage the indoctrination of students into “Jihadist doctrines,” has now joined other CPAC detractors like Gaffney to blast the involvement of Suhail Khan. Khan is a board member of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, and tomorrow is leading a panel on inclusion in the conservative movement.
Gaffney first charged Khan with ties to extremist groups in early January. Now Horowitz and another anti-Muslim activist, Robert Spencer, are joining a coalition of anti-gay Religious Right groups in boycotting the conference.
Rick Scarborough, the head of Vision America, recently placed an ad in The Washington Times attacking CPAC for including the gay conservative group GOProud, and today condemned the gathering for supposedly slighting Religious Right groups (a fear also present at the conference).
The American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, which supports the CPAC boycott, reports:
A full-page ad in The Washington Times — placed by Vision America — challenges the direction of CPAC. Vision America president Pastor Rick Scarborough, who initiated the project, notes that the “driving force” in the conservative movement, generally speaking, has been Christians.
“Right now [though], libertarians are trying to force us out — and I just simply decided that enough is enough,” says the longtime Christian activist. “So we’re trying to speak out, and we’re finding that it’s resonating with a lot of folks.”
Islamic influence within CPAC?
Meanwhile, a terrorism expert who is also advocating for a drastic change in the leadership of CPAC believes the event has been compromised by radical Islamic influences. Author and activist David Horowitz says a CPAC board member by the name of Suhail Kahn has not been forthcoming about his ties to extreme Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Suhail Kahn is a member of the board of the American Conservative Union. He’s moderating a [CPAC] panel,” Horowitz explains. “His father created an Islamist mosque in California that held fundraisers for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number-two [man] in al-Qaeda. This was in the 90s.”
Terrorism expert Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, comments as well on Kahn.
“Suhail Kahn has also spoken about how Muslims should be eager to die for the Palestinian question, using the same kind of language that suicide bombers have employed,” he notes. “This is not really somebody who should be considered moderate or certainly not conservative.”
Spencer is calling for changes. “There needs to be a drastic overhaul at the top of CPAC — and [for] the American Conservative Union that runs it,” he says.