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Robert Spencer:

The disparity between the perspectives and values of the political elites and their allies and those of the common people grows ever wider. We saw it again tonight on Staten Island, where my SIOA colleague Pamela Geller and I attended, along with SIOA-New York’s Pamela Hall, a civic meeting that discussed the mysterious sale of a Roman Catholic Convent to the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief operating arm in the United States.

The fix was in, as is always the case. The meeting featured three Muslims affiliated with the MAS, who were billed as being there to answer questions and allay the fears of the community. No opponents of the sale were set to speak from the dais; they were only allowed to ask questions from the floor after the MAS operatives made their presentation. The MAS men came armed with folders for the crowd, full of commendations of the MAS from the likes of the Boy Scouts, the Rotary Club, etc., and began distributing them. I had prepared a one-page summary of the Investigative Project’s dossier on the Muslim Brotherhood, and it was also being distributed among the crowd, along with the full 40-page version — but then one of the local officials running the meeting announced that no materials were to be distributed, as this was a meeting devoted to giving an opportunity to the MAS to explain itself to the community, and now people were distributing material “against” — it had to stop. Many in the crowd took exception, however, to the MAS operatives distributing their folder full of soothing detours as well, and so ultimately that was stopped too and all the printed matter left up front for anyone to take.

I asked them if they were prepared to denounce Hamas and Hizballah, both of which were publicly endorsed by MAS leader Mahdi Bray, as jihad terrorist organizations, and to renounce any intention to bring Sharia to the U.S., in line with the Brotherhood’s stated goal of “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house” so that Allah’s religion is “made victorious over other religions.” In response, the main spokesman for the three hemmed and hawed and emitted billows upon billows of airy nonsense — to the increasing impatience of the crowd. This spokesman, made nervous by the crowd’s vocal disdain for his ever-lengthening non-answer, did ultimately call Hamas and Hizballah terrorist groups and renounce any intention to bring Sharia to the U.S. But since these positions are at odds with what are known to be the positions of the MAS, it seems likely that he was only saying this under pressure — otherwise he wouldn’t have needed to offer so much empty and condescending verbiage to the crowd before getting around to the point.