Michelle Bachmann, speaking at the Values Voter Summit this morning, quickly one-upped Mitt Romney in pinning blame on President Obama for the violent protests in Libya and Egypt and deaths of four Americans in Libya. She accused Obama of appeasing the Muslim Brotherhood and opening our borders to terrorists. Not long after, Paul Ryan also attacked Obama over foreign policy:
Amid all these threats and dangers, what we do not see is steady, consistent American leadership. In the days ahead, and in the years ahead, American foreign policy needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose. Only by the confident exercise of American influence are evil and violence overcome.
But here’s the thing. Ryan and Bachmann are speaking at a Religious Right conference that is making a mockery of diplomacy and even the threat of terrorism. Consider the following:
- the conference features a fake terrorist who claims to have smuggled weapons into the U.S. and carried out “bloody terror” missions against Israel
- the video that sparked the unrest in Egypt and Libya was created and promoted by anti-Muslim activists who have worked with backers of Bachmann’s effort to purge the U.S. government of Muslim Americans and key players in the effort to block the so-called Ground Zero mosque (e.g. ACT! for America and the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission)
- in July, misinformation promoted by Bachmann and two upcoming speakers at the Values Voter Summit, Frank Gaffney and Jerry Boykin, sparked aggressive protests against American diplomats in Egypt, including Secretary Clinton, whose motorcade was pelted by protestors – Boykin and Gaffney have been the leading forces behind Bachmann’s witch hunt against Muslim Americans in the U.S. government
- former Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, now the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, which hosts the conference, significantly set back American diplomacy in 2003, drawing a rebuke from President Bush and Pentagon investigators, when he repeatedly denounced and insulted Islam in uniform and characterized the “war on the terror” as a war in the name of Jesus
Taken together, this suggests more than a lack of seriousness. It suggests that many Religious Right activists are far more interested in fighting a holy war than they are with diplomacy, peace or religious freedom. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we have the live in the same world as them.
The fake terrorist I referred to above is identified on the schedule as Kamal Saleem, but his real name is Khodor Shami. He claims that he was a Muslim Brotherhood operative who “came to the United States of America…to destroy this country” and crossed the Canadian border and “brought weapon caches right through cities.” He also claims to have “completed his first bloody terror mission into Israel for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) at the age of seven.”
Saleem is widely known to be a fraud. Yet he’s being presented by the Family Research Council as the real deal and appears next to Ryan on the featured speakers page, with “former terrorist” under his name. Here’s one of his promotional videos: