Whenever right-wing luminaries want to stir up fear and hate about Muslims, they usually turn to a cabal of so-called terrorism experts whose “commentary” is little more than thinly disguised red meat. We got a lovely example of this “commentary” earlier in the week, when one of those “experts” not only demanded that Islamic religious practices be banned, but that we should lock up practicing Muslim lawmakers for treason.
Back in 2008, FBI agent John Guandolo was busted for sleeping with a key witness in the corruption trial of then-congressman Bill Jefferson. He resigned rather than face all-but-certain termination. Indeed, federal prosecutors were so alarmed at this discovery that they filed a sealed submission detailing Guandolo’s actions in the event that the court found Jefferson’s lawyers had a right to know about it.
But Guandolo doesn’t want you to know that. He has insisted for more than a decade that he was pushed out of the FBI when he learned it had been secretly taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood and wouldn’t shut up about it. He has parlayed that lie into a career as a counterterrorism consultant, as well as one of the most notorious of the so-called “terrorism experts” on the right.
Among other things, Guandolo and his organization, Understanding the Threat, would have you believe that Donald Trump’s opponents are on the payroll of jihadis, and we should lock them up for treason. He also believes that a man who drove his van into several innocent people near a mosque in London back in 2017 was merely defending the neighborhood against the jihadi scourge. And he has few qualms about falsely smearing innocent people as Islamist extremists just because they have long beards.
But these remarks were models of sanity compared to what Guandolo served up on Monday, when he was a guest on the weekly webcast of the Truth and Liberty Coalition, a media ministry formed by Lance Wallnau and Andrew Wommack that aims to raise up “statesmen evangelists” who will reclaim the most important of the “seven mountains” that influence our culture–politics and government. Guandolo recently joined the faculty of the School of Practical Government at Wommack’s Charis Bible College, which is helmed by the religious right’s favorite pseudo-historian, David Barton. One has to wonder what that says about Wommack and Barton’s standards for integrity. After all, the last person any Bible college worth its salt would want on its team would be a guy who built his brand on a transparent lie.
During one segment of the broadcast, the dean of the School of Practical Government, Richard Harris, asked Guandolo how we can tell whether you’re dealing with a peaceful Muslim or a jihadi. Watch Guandolo’s response here.
Guandolo claimed that “we’re on the precipice of losing the war” against Islamic terrorism, so he proposed a solution that he openly admitted would be harsh. He called for a ban on “public display of Sharia adherence.” If it were up to Guandolo, mosques would be shut down. He would also ban the public call to prayer, as well as the wearing of Muslim head coverings.
Wait a minute. What about the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of religion? Well, Guandolo had a ready answer. He claimed that mosques don’t deserve the same protection as churches because the Prophet Muhammad claimed mosques are “the place where they launch the jihad.”
He then took aim at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who wears a headscarf, or hijab. To Guandolo’s mind, that alone is grounds to lock her up, and now.
Sharia in and of itself is a system that is seditious. And if you’re in public office like Ilhan Omar, you are committing treason for what she’s doing. She’s treasonous. Yes, read my lips. Trea-son! And she should be charged for it.
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot, shall we? Suppose some liberal pundit claimed that Christianity, by virtue of its association with the likes of Wallnau and Barton, is seditious by definition, and that all public displays of Christian faith ought to be banned.
And what if that same pundit suggested that charismatics and Pentecostals deserve particular scrutiny? Like, for instance, Jackie Walorski of Indiana. Walorski, who represents South Bend and Elkhart, is a member of a Pentecostal megachurch in South Bend. What if someone said that because Walorski raises her hands and speaks in tongues, we should lock her up for treason?
That would be outrageous. That would be un-American. And it’s no different from what Guandolo is proposing here.
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