IMPACT: ACT for America is the largest anti-Muslim organization in the United States, which has led campaigns to ban sharia. The group has boasted a “direct line” to the White House through its connections with Republican lawmakers and other politicians.
ACT for America is an advocacy group founded in 2007 “to establish a means for all American citizens to provide a collective voice for the democratic values of Western civilization and against the threat of radical Islam.”
Led by Brigitte Gabriel, ACT for America claims hundreds of chapters. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identifies ACT as the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the United States, and the Center for American Progress considers ACT part of the “Islamophobia network.”
As the Washington Post has reported, ACT “attacks what it sees as the creeping threat of sharia, or Islamic law, in the form of Muslim organizations, mosques, refugees and sympathetic politicians.” Post reporter Aibgail Hauslohner summarizes that, “a safer America, to ACT, means a nation free of all Islamic influence, a goal that has led some civil rights activists to call it a hate group akin to white supremacists. It wants groups that practice or advocate sharia — the guiding principles of Islam — to be forced to disband, supports President Trump’s attempt to ban travelers from several Muslim-majority countries, and opposes the resettlement of Muslim refugees in the United States.”
ACT has been a central player in the movement to ban Sharia or “foreign law” from U.S. courts. Amid a concerted campaign to engender fear about Islamic law usurping American law, ACT members introduced “anti-foreign law” bills in several state legislatures. In June 2017, ACT organized “March Against Sharia” events in several cities throughout the United States.
As reported by the New York Times, ACT activists have also “ challeng[ed] high school textbooks and college courses that they deem too sympathetic to Islam.” ACT’s efforts have sparked controversy and protests against supposed Islamic “indoctrination” in middle and high school textbooks.
ACT has celebrated its “direct line” to the White House through advisor Walid Phares, CIA director Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Phares and Flynn have served on ACT’s board, and Pompeo has spoken at conferences and hosted ACT on Capitol Hill. In February 2016 during the presidential campaign, ACT head Brigitte Gabriel met Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort where her group says she gave a national security briefing. After Trump was elected, she met with White House staff in March 2017.
ACT has worked with numerous Republican politicians. Ten members of Congress, including then-presidential candidate Ted Cruz, attended ACT’s 2016 conference in Washington, D.C. Peter King, the Republican representative from New York who held hearings on Muslim “radicalization,” appeared on ACT’s internet television show to talk about the hearings in 2011.
ACT has also launched a the Thin Blue Line project, which organizes law enforcement trainings on how the “Global Islamic Movement” operates in the world and in the United States. Additionally, ACT put together a survey about supposed Islamic beliefs that was used by Oklahoma state representative John Bennett, who required Muslim students to fill it out before meeting with him. The questionnaire included things like, “The Koran, the sunna of Mohammed and Sharia Law of all schools say that the husband can beat his wife. Do you beat your wife?”
Last Updated June 13, 2017