Guest essay by William J. Murray
There is little doubt that the Obama White House was behind the attempt to defund and shut down the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The USCIRF is an embarrassment to an Administration which wants to pretend that Sharia law, which permits honor killings, is no different than English Common Law. The bleak reports from the USCIRF on religious persecution in many of the Islamic nations favored by President Obama moved his Administration to shut down the USCIRF using a back door in the budget process. His point man, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), is from Obama’s home state of Illinois. Durbin was Obama’s former colleague in the Senate and is now the Majority Whip, the number two Democrat in the Senate.
The House voted to fund the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom earlier this year. Senator Durbin held the funding hostage in the Senate with a “secret hold” but let everyone know the hold was his. In late December Republicans, with much outside pressure from groups such as the Religious Freedom Coalition, forced through temporary funding; however, Durbin added a last minute amendment that ousted Bush appointees using “term limits” which will allow President Obama to stack the deck with liberals who have no problem with Islamic honor killings. The main sponsor of the funding reauthorization in the House, Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), called the demand blackmail.
Senator Dick Durbin showed his true colors when tacking on the amendment to the reauthorizing of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The amendment retroactively limited commissioners to a total of four years of service; thus he rid the commission of some of the most outspoken critics of Islamic extremism such as Nina Shea who has co-authored scholarly works on the subject such as Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide.
His amendment also limited travel of commissioners to the same standards as the State Department, meaning they are now restricted from traveling to areas where religious freedom is most in jeopardy. For example, State Department staff may not travel to areas of the Sudan or Nigeria where Christians have been slaughtered by Islamists. Indeed, commissioners can no longer travel to East Jerusalem. Durbin’s refusal to fund USCIRF had nothing to do with freeing up money to fund a prison in Illinois as his staff suggested, and had everything to do with shutting down critics of radical Islam
Back in 2005 while George W. Bush was still in office, Senator Dick Durbin compared American soldiers to Nazis. Today he is the second most powerful man in the United States Senate after Majority Leader Reid and that makes his staff powerful on Capitol Hill. One of Durbin’s key staffers, Reema B. Dodin, is in regular contact with the Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism case. Dodin is a Palestinian rights activist who organized anti-Israel rallies at the University of California at Berkeley as a student. Dodin was also a member of the Muslim Students Association, which was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood. Durbin’s desire to shut down the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom should not come as a surprise to anyone, given his views on Islam and “Islamophobia.”
In March of this year Senator Durbin organized a hearing on “Islamophobia” to counter the hearings on “homegrown terrorism” in America held by Congressman Peter King (R-NY). The Durbin hearings featured such notables as Farhana Khera, the founder of Muslim Advocates, an organization that has sued the Department of Justice to force it to disclose the FBI’s undercover operations to disrupt terrorist activities inside radical mosques.
Senator Dick Durbin is clearly not a friend of religious freedom, unless that freedom involves the construction of a mega mosque at Ground Zero. His views clearly mirror those of President Barack Obama as implemented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
William J. Murray is the chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition based in Washington, DC. In 2011 he led the efforts of the Sharia Awareness Action Network to hold an international conference on the dangers of Sharia law to Western civilization held in Nashville, Tennessee. Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave, NW #900 , Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 543-0300)
Used by permission ©2014