6 Right-Wing Zealots (or Groups of Zealots) That Would Blow Up the World for Political Gain
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Ordinary people will find this assertion to be nothing less than bizarre. Obama, after all, escalated the conflict in Afghanistan, turned drone strikes from a military capability into an administration policy and ordered the assault that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. But Romney has surrounded himself with neoconservative extremists like John Bolton, who are heavily invested in the idea that there is a "clash of civilizations" dividing East and West. Reading between the lines, the problem is not Obama's concrete policy choices so much as his refusal to condemn Islam as a death-cult or indulge Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's apocalyptic view that Iran poses an existential threat to the state of Israel.
They are not alone. Right-wing religionists – Christian, Jewish and Muslim – all have a vested interest in making their imagined global conflict a reality. It was Osama bin Laden's goal, just as it's the goal of Pam Geller or those on the fringes of the Israeli settler movement.
And there are more. Here are some other actors that have recently tried to blow up the world in service of their perverse ideologically and theologically informed hatreds, damn the consequences.
Conservative Islamists in Libya and Egypt; Egyptian Right-Wing Media
A 13-minute trailer for a wildly provocative film called either The Innocence of Muslims or Mohammed, Prophet of the Muslims (but which could have been called The Chronicles of the Elders of Islam) was uploaded to YouTube in July and received little notice. According to the Daily Mail, the trouble started when someone translated the trailer into Arabic and uploaded it to YouTube. It was “since featured on Egyptian media reports for several days with ultraconservative clerics going on air to denounce it.”
While Muslims across the political spectrum were offended, according to multiple reports those who rioted in Cairo and Benghazi were “conservative Islamists,” whose thin skin and lack of tolerance led to the chaos.
It wasn't “Muslims,” writ large, who perpetrated the outrageous attacks. It was the Islamic religious right, which sees itself under siege from modern, secular society in much the same way our own Christian right sees itself as under constant siege by perfidious secular humanists.
On Wednesday, hundreds of residents of Benghazi took to the streets to condemn the attacks on the Embassy. Their message:
Whomever's Behind That Stupid, Bigoted Film
As the New York Times notes, the origins of the film are “shrouded in mystery.” Early reports suggested that the film was produced by an Israeli-American real estate developer named Sam Basile, but no such person could be tracked down. Some have suggested that “Sam Basile” is a pseudonym. But someone claiming to be Basile offered several interviews with media outlets, during which he “called Islam 'a cancer,' and said he had raised $5 million from about 100 Jewish donors” to fund the film.
Rumors of who was behind the film – all unconfirmed – abound. Some have suggested the usual suspects: Pam Geller or Robert Spencer or their fellow travelers. The one person who has publicly admitted to being involved with the film is a man named Steve Klein, whom Max Blumenthal describes as “a Hemet, California-based insurance salesman who claims to have led a 'hunter-killer team' in Vietnam.”
Klein is a right-wing extremist who emerged from the same axis of Islamophobia that produced Anders Behring Breivik and which takes inspiration from the writings of Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Daniel Pipes.
It appears Klein (or someone who shares his name and views) is an enthusiastic commenter on Geller’s website, Atlas Shrugged, where he recently complained about Mitt Romney’s “support for a Muslim state in Israel’s Heartland.” In July 2011, Spencer’s website, Jihad Watch, promoted a rally Klein organized alongside the anti-Muslim Coptic extremist Joseph Nasrallah to demand the firing of LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, whom they painted as a dupe for Hamas.