Monday, July 30, 2007


Ahmed Rehab
Media Monitors Network

"It is an unfortunate consequence of post 9/11 life in America, where
fear-mongering is a reality, that notorious career Islamophobes, such
as this individual, are subjected to little scrutiny and virtually no
credibility tests - even as mainstream Muslim leaders with established
track records are readily second-guessed."

In his latest anti-CAIR attack, Steven Emerson once again unleashes
one of his trademark tirades designed to stifle free and open debate
(The New Republic Online, 03/28/2008). This time, his wrath is focused
against The New York Times. Its crime? Offering two sides of the story
in its recent coverage of the "mounting criticism" against the
nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization, CAIR.

Emerson conveniently fails to disclose to his readers that the
relentless source of this "mounting criticism" is non-other than
Emerson himself and his merry band of collaborators. But like all
professional propagandists, Emerson aspires to be detective,
prosecutor, judge, and jury.

It should come as no surprise that Emerson bears a severe aversion to
common standards of professional journalism like those displayed by
Neil MacFarquhar of The New York Times. After all, Emerson is not a
professional journalist but an agenda-driven demagogue on a mission.
Masquerading as an Islam/terrorism expert, his apparent lifelong goal
is to banish Muslim Americans from American civil life. He recently
went after the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); now it is CAIR.
Going many years back, his track record is fraught with
well-documented anti-Muslim bias.

Unlike neutral journalists, he is not remotely concerned with facts;
rather, he prefers proselytizing his narrow agenda wherever and
whenever it is feasible to do so. His modus operandi is not to inform,
but to brainwash.

Free speech and open debate provide the most serious obstacles to
professional propagandists. It is then no wonder then that Emerson
balks at the notion that there are two sides to a story; the only
noteworthy side, in his view, is his own.

For the Emersons of this world, suspicion raised against Muslims and
their organizations is synonymous with a guilty conviction;
demonstrating actual wrongdoing is unnecessary overhead. "More than
one [government official in Washington] described the standards used
by critics to link CAIR to terrorism as akin to McCarthyism,
essentially guilt by association," reports MacFarquhar in the said New
York Times piece to the obvious chagrin of Emerson who, dismayed with
the message, turns his wrath on the messenger.

"Of all the groups, there is probably more suspicion about CAIR, but
when you ask people for cold hard facts, you get blank stares," said
Michael Rolince, a retired F.B.I. counterterrorism official. (The New
York Times, March 14, 2007)

In Emerson's prejudiced world view, anti-Muslim smear campaigns should
not be up for scrutiny, they should simply be furthered along by
mainstream newspapers like the compliant propaganda outlets he wishes
them to be. (I presume Emerson highly approves of The Washington Times)

It is an unfortunate consequence of post 9/11 life in America, where
fear-mongering is a reality, that notorious career Islamophobes, such
as this individual, are subjected to little scrutiny and virtually no
credibility tests - even as mainstream Muslim leaders with established
track records are readily second-guessed.

The irony is that while many of the Muslim organizations that evoke
the wrath of henchmen like Emerson offer total transparency, the
henchmen themselves flourish in relative obscurity, refusing to
publicize their sources of funding and the nature of their operations.

Emerson may counter in typical fashion that CAIR is deflecting
accusations by raising concerns about their sources. Not true: CAIR
has directly addressed the preposterous accusations in an extensive
response document available online at;
Emerson will have to try harder to duck the credibility question which
is quite a relevant question for concerned Americans to be asking:

Can Steven Emerson and his ilk be trusted as credible sources of
information on Islam and Muslims? Who is Steven Emerson?

A self-anointed "terrorism expert" whose rhetoric is characterized by
charged terminology and a dislike for open debate, Emerson harbors a
longstanding track record of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry.

In March of 1995, Emerson told The Jewish Monthly, "nearly all
(emphasis added) of the Islamic organizations in the United States
that define themselves as religiously or culturally Muslim in
character have, today, been totally captured or dominated by radical
fundamentalist elements..."

Ironically, it took Emerson no more than a few days to demonstrate to
the world why his credibility and integrity as an "observer of trends"
should never be taken for granted – especially when they relate to

In April of 1995, Emerson confidently asserted on a live broadcast of
CBS News that the Oklahoma City bombing – then breaking news – showed
"a Middle Eastern trait" because it was carried out "with the intent
to inflict as many casualties as possible."

"Oklahoma City, I can tell you, is probably considered one of the
largest centers of Islamic radical activity outside the Middle East,"
Emerson explained with an enthusiasm bordering on elation.

While Emerson preoccupied himself with indulging his knack for
conjecture, real detectives worked calmly and professionally to reveal
that, contrary to Emerson's "expert perceptions", Timothy McVeigh and
company were behind the bombings. Emerson's incompetence was duly
exposed; CBS decided not to renew his contract and blacklisted him for
five years.

Then again, Emerson's aversion to facts and affinity for bias are not
breaking news.

A New York Times review of Emerson's 1991 book Terrorist said the book
was "marred by factual errors . . . and by a pervasive anti-Arab and
anti-Palestinian bias."

His 1994 controversial film Jihad in America caused veteran reporter
Robert Friedman to accuse Emerson of "creating mass hysteria against
American Arabs" (The Nation, 5/15/95).

John F. Sugg, then of the Tampa Bay Weekly Planet, revealed in a 1999
article that Emerson's priority is "not so much news as it is an
unrelenting attack against Arabs and Muslims."

"He's made his life's work discrediting Arab American and Muslim
groups," James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, told
The Washington Post in 2001.

Smear campaigns are not unusual for Steven Emerson; they seem to be
his way of expressing disgruntlement with an opposing view.

"He has been run out of many respectable newsrooms. His response was
the smear job. When The Washington Post shunned him, he branded the
paper `pro-Hamas.' When the Miami Herald strafed Emerson's shoddy
claims, he wrote the city's Jewish leaders claiming the paper's
reporter `was nothing short of racist,' Sugg wrote (Alternet,

So what explains Emerson's anti-Muslim and anti-Arab spin?

The Wall Street Journal provided us with one answer 16 years ago: "Mr.
Emerson's prime role is to whitewash Israeli governments and revile
their critics," wrote Alexander Cockburn.

For whom does Emerson work? Does he represent the interests of
Americans, or the interests of a foreign state at the expense of our
nation's own community relations?

Emerson, who has close ties to the Israeli Mossad according to The
Jerusalem Post (9/17/1994), has yet to disclose key facts regarding
his activities, including his source of funding. While he criticizes
Muslim-American organizations that disclose their operating and
financial details, Emerson shrouds his own in guarded secrecy.

Vince Cannistraro, a former Chief of Operations and Analysis at the
CIA's Counterterrorism Center said of Emerson's closest associates
Steve Pomerantz, Oliver Revell and Yigal Carmon: "They're
Israeli-funded. How do I know that? Because they tried to recruit me."

Of Emerson himself, Cannistraro says, "word has got around on what he
(Emerson) is, that he's a paid polemicist, not a journalist" (Weekly
Planet, May 1998); he characterizes him as "dishonest" and "Joseph
McCarthy-like" (The Forward, 1/26/96).

Journalist Jane Hunter calls Emerson's brand of journalism "nimble in
its treatment of facts, often credulous of intelligence sources, and
almost invariably supportive of the Israeli government" (EXTRA! ,
October/November 1992).

It seems that in his latest attempt at fueling anti-Muslim hysteria,
Emerson is banking on America's short term memory. I am sorry to
disappoint him.


- "Muslim activist takes on his group's critics
by Noreen Ahmed-Ullah
Chicago Tribune, March 25, 2007

- "One Muslim advocacy group's not-so-secret terrorist ties"
by Steven Emerson
The New Republic, March 28, 2007

- "Scrutiny Increases for a Group Advocating for Muslims in U.S."
by Neil MacFarquhar
The New York Times, March 14, 2007

- "A Hezbollah apologist wins an award for tolerance."
by Steven Emerson
The New Republic, August 31, 2006

- "MPAC Exposes Steve Emerson's Self-Serving Distortions"
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), January 28, 2004

Impeding America's Homeland Security
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), December 2004

- "Steven Emerson's Crusade"
by John F. Sugg
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) - Extra! January/February 1999

- "Why is a journalist pushing questionable stories from behind the
by John F. Sugg

- "Tonight on 60 Minutes: Terrorist Chicken Laundering"
by John Sugg
Creative Loafing (Atlanta), June 12, 2003

- "Who is Steven Emerson?"
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Emerson, a Jew who gets it
A perspective of a moderate Muslim

At the risk of sounding anti-Semitic, I want to say this: either American Jews are completely clueless about the internal struggle inside Islam or they are so cowardly, that they are even afraid to voice their opinion. Or maybe it's a combination of both.

Every time there is a development that involves radical Islam, be it a Mayor of New York attending an Islamist parade, DOJ's officials attending an Islamist conference, or a protester being sued for having the balls to expose an Islamist-sponsored event at an amusement park, the American Jewish community is as quiet as a church mouse. It's like it is not even there.

The effect of this silence is devastating. Not for the Jewish community, not yet. That time is still to come. The silence affects the American Muslim community. Every time moderate Muslims are ignored and Islamists are legitimized (by either direct support from government representatives or silent support of the ADL), radicals gain ground. In the current PC climate, moderate Muslims have pretty much no choice but to keep their mouths shut.

Luckily for us, not everyone in the Jewish community is like that. There are some Jews that are speaking out. One of them is Steven Emerson, who has been warning the West about the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism since before PanAm 103. Most of his current work is focused on exposing the radicals masquerading as the moderates – those radicals who are embraced by the DOJ and the Pentagon, by the mayor of New York Bloomberg (Rudy would never get into bed with terrorist supporters) and the Treasury Department, by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, by the Congress and the White House.

There is a war of ideas within Islam, and moderate Muslims are losing. Most of Muslim clergy and Muslim establishment are paid for by the Wahhabis. Moderate Muslims are being run out of Mosques and community centers, and in many cases are physically threatened. Moderate Muslims have no place in the media or public debate, because the place reserved for Muslims is filled by Islamic radicals, who attempt to make criticizing anything Islamic a taboo. According to the Islamists, a Muslim can do no wrong.
1. When a non-Muslim criticizes Islam or Muslims, he/she is an Islamophobe.
2. When a Muslim criticizes Islam or Muslim, he/she is not a real Muslim, therefore see #1.

This is a tactic used by "moderate" Muslims, the darlings of the government and the media. But how can you call someone who praises bin Laden, or has ties to Hamas, or calls for the elimination of Israel, or wants to replace the Constitution with the Koran a moderate? They are anything but moderates, however nobody except for a few people like Steven Emerson seems to notice that. But even when the Emersons of America appeal to the public, they are often being dismissed as alarmists and racists. Well, they are anything, but. You don't have to be a clairvoyant to predict the future when it comes to expansion of radical Islam and extinction of moderate Muslims. All you need to do is get your heads out of the sand.

Why our government is so forgiving and forgetful when it comes to individuals or organizations with known terrorist ties and anti-American views is beyond me. Why the Jewish leaders are so timid when it comes to the subject of radical Islam is incomprehensible.

I thank God every day for people like Steven Emerson, because they are the last glimmer of hope for moderate Muslims.


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