Donald Trump has nominated Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Ret.) to serve as National Security Adviser in the coming administration. Critics are already calling into question his supposed Islamophobia.
Flynn had been rumored to be a choice for Secretary of Defense, having been a key player in Trump’s presidential campaign and touted as a possible vice-presidential pick. He has bipartisan credentials, having been promoted by President Barack Obama to lead the essential Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn resigned and then retired in April 2014, one year before his term was due to expire. During the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, he served as director of intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command (2004-2007) and served in the same role for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (2009-2010).
There are a number of different issues that Flynn’s critics believe signal his aversion to Islam.
For example, Flynn said this August that Islam is a “political ideology” masquerading as a religion. In a speech he gave in Dallas this year, Flynn referred to his book, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.” Refusing to see Islam as a religion, Flynn likened it to “cancer.” According to the Dallas Morning News, Flynn said, “Islam is a political ideology. It definitely hides behind being a religion.” Flynn added that his studies of the Founding Fathers of the republic were influenced by their religion, saying “This Islamic ideology was something they wanted nothing to do with.”
Flynn is a board member of ACT For America, which has been deemed by the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center as the largest anti-Muslim organization in the United States. ACT has 280,000 members across the country.
Flynn wrote on ACT’s website this year, that “Radical Islam has declared war on America.” The retired officer criticized the Obama Administration for failing to use the term “radical Islam,” which Trump has used repeatedly. In the wake of the deadly Muslim terrorist shootings at a Florida nightclub, Flynn said, “We don’t need him to preach to us, we needed him to lift us out of the shock that America was feeling after yet another horrific attack perpetrated by a Muslim man who has been radicalized in the faith of Islam,” Flynn continued, “Instead, the President demonstrated zero leadership tonight, lacked inspiration and you could tell all he wanted to do was make the statement and get out of the press room…a sad day for America indeed.”
ACT For America was founded by author Brigitte Gabriel, a national security expert who has written the following books about Islamic terror: “Because They Hate” and “They Must Be Stopped.”
In an interview with The Intercept this July, Flynn warned against radical Islam, saying that the government has lied to the American people. The interview contained excerpts from his book:
“There is no escape from this war. Do you want to be ruled by men who eagerly drink the blood of their dying enemies? Such questions are almost never asked. Yet if you read the publicly available ISIS documents on their intentions, there’s no doubt that they are dead set on taking us over and drinking our blood.”
“We’re in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam,” Flynn also wrote in the book. “But we are not permitted to speak or write those two words, which is potentially fatal to our culture.”
“I watched our own government lie to us about a number of things,” Flynn told The Intercept. “I just see us going in the wrong direction, and that’s really why I sort of jumped into the middle of the fray.”
Flynn has said in the past that he has been at war with Islam for more than 10 years. When he was asked in an interview with Al Jazeera whether his rhetoric will enflame bitterness on the part of ISIS, he said that within Islam there is an element that will eventually change it for the worse.
“Let’s not kid ourselves about what it is that we are facing and we are facing and the Islamic world is facing an element within the religion of Islam that is going to change it one way or the other, in my belief, change it for the bad, for the negative, if something is not done. But they have grabbed hold of this religion and they are using it in a very, very dangerous way and if the, if the religious component, the somewhat pro-moderate component of Islam actually stands up to it, I believe that it can be defeated.” He clarified that he was not suggesting a war with the 1 billion Muslim believers, saying “We are at war with a radical component of Islam and the way I believe it is that Islam is a, is a political ideology based on a religion.”
In July of this year, Flynn wrote in the New York Post that he was dismissed from the military because of “the stand I took on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements.” “Everybody,” he said, including “most living Muslims,” know that the “Islamic world is an epic failure.” Flynn wrote in the paper, “We have failed to challenge their jihadist doctrines, even though their true believers only number a small fraction of the Muslim world, and even though everybody, above all most living Muslims, knows that the Islamic world is an epic failure, desperately needing economic, cultural and educational reform of the sort that has led to the superiority of the West.
With regard to limiting or eliminating the admittance to the U.S. of persons from countries controlled by radical Islam, Flynn favors vetting immigrants from war zones. He told Al-Jazeera in May that he favors “vetting of individuals and the proper screening of individuals who are coming from certain parts of the world like Syria.”