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 Shariah 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, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is from Obama's home state. Durbin was Obama's former colleague in the Senate and is now the majority whip, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.
The House voted to fund the USCIRF earlier this year. 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, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., called the demand blackmail.
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Durbin showed his true colors when tacking on the amendment to the reauthorization of the USCIRF. 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, Durbin compared American soldiers to Nazis. Today, he is the second most powerful man in the U.S. Senate, after Majority Leader Harry 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, or 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 USCIRF should not come as a surprise to anyone, given his views on Islam and "Islamophobia."
In March of this year Durbin organized a hearing on "Islamophobia" to counter the hearings on "homegrown terrorism" in America held by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. The Durbin hearings featured such notables as Farhana Khera, 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.
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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 chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition based in Washington, D.C. In 2011, he led the efforts of the Sharia Awareness Action Network to hold an international conference on the dangers of Shariah law to Western civilization held in Nashville, Tenn.