A writer giving soft treatment to Islamists wouldn’t be a new development, but Ben Daniel isn’t just any writer. He’s the pastor of a church and his book was published by the Presbyterian Church USA. This church of 1.8 million has become an ally of Islamists.
Pastor Ben Daniel leads Foothill Presbyterian Church of San Jose and his book, The Search for Truth About Islam: A Christian Pastor Separates Fact from Fiction, was released on March 25 by the official publisher of the Presbyterian Church USA.
His book “explores what he calls ‘the American cult of fear,’ particularly as it relates to the rise of Islamophobia in the United States.”
Islamists have used the term “Islamophobia” to gain political influence and bash opponents – including ant-Islamists Muslims — long before the 9/11 attacks. Now, even Muslims are speaking out against the abuse of the term.
At an August 22 speaking engagement at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, which was attended by almost 150 people, Pastor Daniel said that the CIA estimates there are less than 20,000 terrorists in the entire world.
That’s incorrect, but many Christians in the audience won’t know that. The UN says Al-Shabaab in Somalia alone has 5,000 members. Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria has around 7,000 members. There are over 50 groups designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the U.S. State Department, most of which are Islamic.
Pastor Daniel’s willful blindness to the greater Islamist threat is apparent in his book when he upholds Imam Zaid Shakir as an admirable moderate. He says that Shakir’s Zaytuna College in California is “filling an important niche in American higher education.” There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the education there – including one from earlier this year, when Shakir said that Sharia-based governance is superior to the U.S. Constitution.
Specifically, Shakir said that constitution-based citizenship is “a lofty ideal but after 200, 300 years of experimentation, we find that inequality is greater than it has ever been in the history of humanity.” Instead, governance based on Islamic law is what should be pursued, he asserted.
“Secularism says we keep religion out. Why? Because if we have religion and religion is the basis of membership in the community, we can’t have perfect equality. We can’t have perfect equality. If Islam is the basis, the kafir won’t be equal with the Muslim. The Christian or the Jew will be a dhimmi. They won’t be equal with the Muslim,” he preached.
In 2006, Shakir told the New York Times “he still hoped that one day the United States would be a Muslim country ruled by Islamic law.” Shakir is also famous for writing anti-American poems, justifying attacks on U.S. soldiers, being a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and preaching that a new Caliphate is needed that will wage jihad with “weaponry against the enemies of Islam.”
Pastor Daniel’s book is just an example of what is happening in the Presbyterian Church USA overall. (The Presbyterian Church USA is one of about 14 large denominations of Presbyterians in the U.S. and about the same number of smaller ones.)
The Presbyterian Church USA is an official interfaith partner of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history.
The two are also both members of the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign. ISNA is so proud of the interfaith coalition that it bragged about it during a meeting with Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan this year.
The Presbyterian Church also is part of the Religions for Peace USA coalition that also has a heavy Islamist component including ISNA. The Church has a representative on its Executive Council and Council of Presidents.
In July 2012, the Presbyterian Church Office of Public Witness blasted Rep. Michele Bachmann and four other members of Congress as essentially being bigoted “Joseph McCarthys.” The legistalors’ offense was requesting a review of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations’ involvement with the U.S. government. The Church passionately defended ISNA, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and Huma Abedin.
The Presbyterian Mission Agency website’s "interfaith links of interest" include ISNA, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). All four have Muslim Brotherhood origins and three of the four appear in a 1991 list of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s fronts.
The Presbyterian Church is currently updating its 2010 study on Christian-Muslim relations that was prompted by “alarming anti-Muslim statements and actions.” The list of advisors and sources for the study includes various Islamists including Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder.
We don’t have to speculate about what the ultimate objective is for ISNA, including its interfaith campaigns. Sayyid Syeed, the current leader of its interfaith office was videotaped in 2006 saying, “Our job is to change the constitution of America.”
The Presbyterian Church USA has around 1.8 million members, over 10,000 congregations and 14,000 ministers. Although its membership has been shrinking yearly, its pro-Islamist political activity should not be ignored.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.