Thursday, October 1, 2009

Saudi interfaith conference included Nazi

From Melanie Phillips in the Spectator comes word that a Saudi-hosted interfaith conference in Geneva stretched the definition of religious inclusiveness to a new extreme. One of the delegates, William Baker, is a neo-Nazi. (Read here.) In fact, he was the chairman of the neo-Nazi Populist Party, which was founded and directed by Willis Carto. (Read here and here.) Carto is a longtime leader of the American neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial movements who founded the Liberty Lobby, Noontide Press, Institute for Historical Review, American Free Press and the Barnes Review. According to the ADL, The Populist Party was founded in 1984 and
"was first led by Liberty Lobby and Spotlight staff members -- Carto was a member of its Executive Committee -- along with a number of KKK leaders and hate group figures; its first national chairman was former Klan leader Robert Weems."
Candidates running on the Populist Party ticket included David Duke and Bo Gritz.

Revelation of Baker's leadership of this neo-Nazi party led to his 2002 dismissal from his positions as guest lecture at Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral and adviser to Schuller on Christian-Muslim relations. (Read here and here.)

In 2002, at the time of his dismissal from Crystal Cathedral Ministries, Baker claimed in a written statement that he "never supported the views of Willis Carto. I was chairman of the Populist Party for a short time and publicly resigned due to infiltration from various racist individuals and organizations." The internal contradiction of that defense is clear: he claims both that he never supported the racist views of the party's founder and that others with these views "infiltrated" the group. But Stan Brin, a reporter for the Orange County Weekly, found evidence that this odd defense was not only illogical, it was also completely untrue.

"Baker delivered a 1983 speech to the racist Christian Patriot Defense League in Licking, Missouri, in which he made several references to Carto's neo-Nazi newspaper, Spotlight. A 23-page transcript of that rambling speech reveals a number of anti-Semitic remarks, including Baker's reference to Reverend Jerry Falwell as 'Jerry Jewry.' (Falwell is known to be friendly to Jews.) In the same speech, Baker described his disgust at traveling to New York City: "God help me. Why? 'Cause the first people I meet when I get off the plane are pushy, belligerent American Jews."

"The printed Populist platform introduced at Baker's 1984 convention included states'-rights provisions that would allow states to restore Jim Crow segregation laws and repeal the public-accommodations sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The platform also expressed a clear intention to create Nazi-style Nuremberg Laws: 'The Populist Party will not permit any racial minority, through control of the media, culture distortion or revolutionary political activity, to divide or factionalize [sic] the majority of the society-nation in which the minority lives.' "

The Christian Patriot Defense League is a virulently anti-Semitic militia group founded by retired Colonel Gordon "Jack" Mohr. For more on the Christian Identity-affiliated Christian Patriot Defense League, read here and here.

In addition to debunking Baker's false denial of his own bigotry and any knowledge of the Nazism of the Populist Party or its founder, Brin also uncovered the fact that Baker fraudulently bills himself as "Dr. William Baker", in spite of his having undertaken no post-graduate study.

Baker is the founder and chairman of an organization called Christians and Muslims for Peace. Available for purchase at that group's website is Baker's virulently anti-Israel book Theft of a Nation, which calls for Israel to be "dismantled". (Baker's advertisement for his book features an apparently invented anti-Zionist quote he attributes to Albert Einstein. For a debunking of the 'Einstein opposed Zionism' line, read Ami Isseroff's column on the subject here.)

Baker's Nazi ties previously provoked controversy when he was the keynote speaker at a Muslim Student Association conference at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. (Read here.)

The Western Michigan University MSA invited Baker to speak in 2004 in order "to promote peace, tolerance and understanding between the two largest religions in the world." (Read here.) There, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette, he told an audience of 400 that he
"began his 33-year career as a peacemaker after he was taken hostage by 11 men of the Hezbollah who blindfolded him and aimed their AK-47s at him. For three days, he and his captors talked about justice, oppression, innocence and guilt. He also pointed out to them that terrorism is not sanctioned by Quran or Islam."
Daniel Pipes found that yarn interesting because Hezbollah had not yet been founded in 1971, and wouldn't be for another 10 years. (Read here.)

Pipes also points out that Baker absurdly refers to himself as a "Nobel Peace Prize nominee". As I pointed out recently with respect to a similar statement by an undistinguished former cabinet member and adviser to Syrian President Assad (read here), anyone can be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and anyone can make such a nomination. Citing the nomination itself as an honor is always fraudulent.

Baker was honored by the Assidiq Islamic Educational Foundation (AIEF), an Islamic center in Boca Raton, Florida in 2005. (Read here and here.) That foundation was set to honor at the same event the then mayor of Boca Raton, a man who had lost family members in the Holocaust. Upon learning of Baker's participation in the event, he rejected the AIEF's honor. In his speech to the AIEF at the Boca Marriott, Baker claimed that the 9/11 hijackers were not Muslim. (Read here.) According to Pipes:
"Other highlights included Baker's praise for Muammar al-Qadhafi and high praise for the late grand mufti of Syria. He claims to have debated Samuel Huntington in Greece, traveled illegally to Kashmir, and freely practiced Christianity in Saudi Arabia."

To recap: the man who led a Nazi party that he claims he didn't know was Nazi, who falsely claims have a doctorate, who falsely claims not to be bigoted, who claims to have been considered to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, who fraudulently claimed to have been kidnapped by Hezbollah, who apparently fraudulently claimed to have debated Samuel Huntington, who fraudulently claimed to have freely practiced Christianity in Saudi Arabia, and who invented fraudulent anti-Zionist quotes for a book of anti-Israel propaganda is now being touted by the Saudis as a spokesman for interfaith peace.


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