Newt Gingrich Praises the ‘Greatest of the Caliphates’ of Islam
No, I’m not joking, nor have I created a purposely misleading title. Please read on.
As all LGF readers know by now, former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has recently chosen to join in the anti-Islam fearmongering by jumping on the bigot bandwagon with Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, the creators of the anti-Muslim group Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA).
SIOA has been linked to the European anti-Muslim group Stop the Islamization of Europe (SIOE), led by Anders Gravers. You can find a link to a recent article about SIOA on Loonwatch via another page I created earlier today. Additional LGF articles can be found here and here
Mr. Gingrich’s most recent statement comparing the Park51 organizers to Nazis was so far over the top that it even had people like Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and commentator Pat Buchanan saying he’d gone too far.
…”Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain—the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.
Today, some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to “symbolize interfaith cooperation” when, in fact, every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest. It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Compare the statements above to the video below, posted on Mr. Gingrich’s own YouTube channel in October 2007, in which he says (starting around 00:58):
…if you read all of the documents that surround Islam, there are plenty of ways you can decide to be modern.
He follows this up with a good bit of praise:
If you go back and look at the greatest of the Caliphates, they were very modern, they were very cosmopolitan. They were actually better for Christians and Jews than a number of Christian places. They had very enlightened policies. So, obviously, they had really smart religious leaders who said, “Oh yeah, you know, a cosmopolitan, inclusive system with lots of dissenters is fine. And then you have other places that become very obscurantist and basically say, “If you’re not rigid we kill you.”
Next, he tells the audience:
…we should be in the business of maximizing the networking and the communicating and the capabilities of people who are prepared to defend and support a reconcilable modernizing Islam.
According to Mr. Gingrich, this starts with a very simple test based on the role of women (i.e. holding a job, going to school, etc.) If this test is passed, “you’re fine” says he. According to all credible accounts, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf passes the test with flying colors, yet Mr. Gingrich continues to try to paint him as some sort of dangerous radical Islamist. Perhaps Imam Rauf isn’t the one with a hidden agenda.
Listen for yourself:
Islam, Religious Violence and Modernity
The calculated, demagogic grandstanding displayed by Newt Gingrich over the past several weeks is the thing I despise most in politicians and other influential public figures. Too many of them will say or do anything in their pursuit of fame and power, no matter how wrong, untrue, or potentially dangerous they know it to be. Wake up, America—YOU ARE BEING PLAYED BY YOUR OWN, not by the Muslims trying to build Park51.