Posted by Ryan Suto on April 12, 2018 in Blog

The confirmation of CIA Director Michael Pompeo as Secretary of State would spell disaster for America’s diplomatic efforts throughout the world. Mr. Pompeo has an extensive history of anti-Muslim statements which are indicative of a deeply-held bias against the world’s 1.6 billion adherents of Islam. As a nominee for America’s top diplomat, this prejudice will undermine Pompeo’s ability to effectively advocate for U.S. interests abroad. Mr. Pompeo’s anti-Muslim bigotry alienates American Muslims and would undermine U.S. diplomatic efforts, prompting AAI to sign on to a letter opposing his nomination, along with more than 200 other organizations.

Following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Mr. Pompeo implicated all American Muslims, stating that “Islamic leaders across America” are “potentially complicit” with the atrocity. Indeed, Mr. Pompeo regularly argues that all Muslims are obligated to proffer public statements of condemnation when any individual Muslim transgresses, stating that not doing so, “casts doubt upon the commitment to peace by adherents of the Muslim faith." Pompeo has expressed no similar requirement for the members of any other identity group. Perhaps most alarmingly, Mr. Pompeo explicitly views U.S. foreign policy as a tool of an imagined religious war between Islam and Christianity. These words show an alarming intention to bring into the Department of State one’s personal religious beliefs, instead of an intention to represent all Americans, including American Muslims. The confirmation of Mr. Pompeo would exacerbate and compound the anti-Muslim views of National Security Adviser John Bolton and the President himself.

Mr. Pompeo further willingly and habitually associates with individuals and organizations who are openly bigoted against Muslims. In 2016 Mr. Pompeo accepted the National Security Eagle Award from ACT for America, and has been called “a steadfast ally of ours” by the organization’s founder Brigitte Gabriel. ACT for America has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its anti-Muslim rhetoric and advocacy. For her part, Brigitte Gabriel has stated that a practicing Muslim cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States.

In addition to befriending Brigitte Gabriel, Mr. Pompeo regularly appears on the radio program of Frank Gaffney, founder of The Center for Security Policy, another Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group. In one appearance on the program, Mr. Pompeo agreed with Frank Gaffney’s explicit statement that then-President Obama has an “affinity” for “the cause” of ISIS. In 2010 The Center for Security Policy released a report stating that most American Muslim organizations are hostile to the US and the US Constitution. In 2015 Mr. Pompeo spoke at The Center for Security Policy’s “Defeat Jihad Summit” which purported to challenge “Islamic Supremacism”. The Summit focused on “our jihadist enemies and the mainstream – not extremist –character of their inspiration: the politico-military-legal shariah doctrine derived from the sacred texts, institutions and authorities of Islam.” By accepting awards from, and participating in events of, anti-Muslim hate groups, Mr. Pompeo either explicitly endorses the views of hate groups or lacks the judgement to the sensitive task of conducting international diplomacy at the highest levels.

If confirmed as our next Secretary of State, Mr. Pompeo would infuse U.S. foreign policy with his view that Muslims are a monolith against which America must fight. This ideology is not only inconsistency with American values, but will compromise our nation’s ability to conduct effective diplomacy with the 45 Muslim-majority countries across the world, their allies, and international leaders of conscience who reject religious bigotry.