Outrage of the Day
This week the University of Pennsylvaniaâs Muslim Student Association (MSA) is celebrating its âIslam Awareness Week.â For the keynote address on Thursday, October 9, the MSA invited âReverendâ Baker roâBaker William W. Baker, a former chairman of a racist and anti-Semitic organization, the Populist Party.
Baker, the founder and director of Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP) will be one of two invited speakers and the first non-Muslim ever invited to speak at this annual week-long event.
That there says something about him
Bakerâs selection as speaker is bad enough, but the use of university funds to pay for it is a scandal; the Office of the Chaplain and the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life helped MSA come up with nearly $5,000 for the week-long program.
Baker was in the news in 2002 when he was fired by Rev. Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, following an exposÃ© in the Orange County Weekly, for his ties to neo-Nazism and his anti-Semitic writings. (Schullerâs California-based Crystal Cathedral is perhaps best known for its nationally syndicated television program âThe Hour of Power.â)
The weeklyâs investigation revealed that Baker had served as the Populist Partyâs chairman in 1984 and organized its convention that year. The Populist Party was an initiative of Carto roâCarto Willis Carto, the well-known neo-Nazi figure also known for founding the Institute for Historical Review, a group devoted to Holocaust denial, and publisher of the nationâs foremost anti-Semitic newspaper, The SPOTLIGHT (now reorganized as the American Free Press).
Baker has a long record of anti-Semitism; for example, his self-published 1982 diatribe, âTheft of a Nation,â called for the dismantling of the âZionist State.â In a 1983 speech to the racist Christian Patriot Defense League in Missouri, Baker referred to the Reverend Jerry Falwell as âJerry Jewryâ (for his friendliness to Jews), and his disgust at traveling to New York City, getting off the plane to meet, âpushy, belligerent American Jews.â
"They DARE to breathe!"
To accusations of his neo-Nazi ties, Baker responds that he ânever supported the views of Willis Carto.â He does acknowledge being chairman of the Populist Party but says it was only for a short time and claims he âpublicly resigned due to infiltration from various racist individuals and organizations.â
But this defense is spurious. The Populist platform distributed at 1984 convention included provisions calling for the repeal of sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the restoration of segregation laws. Baker appeared as a guest on the Carto-backed âRadio Free Americaâ program. His lecture to the Christian Patriot Defense League in Missouri included numerous citations to the The SPOTLIGHT.
Baker had himself called âDr. Bakerâ by colleagues at the Crystal Cathedral for his âgraduate studyâ in Jerusalem and Oxford but the exposÃ© could not confirm he had engaged in any graduate study of any kind. Baker also called himself âprofessor of ancient history and sacred literatureâ but all evidence suggested he only taught Christian subjects for three years after he graduated from Ozark Bible College in Joplin, Missouri.
Bakerâs most recent book, More in Common Than You Think (1998), claims to map âthe common ground between Islam and Christianityâ and is promoted by such militant Islamic organizations as the Islamic Society of North America. Stephen Schwartz, an expert on militant Islam, finds it clearly âintended to bring together fringe Christians and extremist Muslims.â
A review of Bakerâs work reveals that he often glosses over critical differences between the Christianity and Islam. The CAMP website minimalizes the mistreatment of women in Islam and denies the threat of fundamentalist Islam. Bakerâs lectures at Crystal Cathedral so blatantly ignored the divinity of Jesus that it offended several moderate Protestant pastors who attended.
Baker promotes himself as an âinter-faith leaderâ but his inter-faith work seems to be limited to a close relationship with Ahmad Kuftaro, the grand mufti of Damascus and a functionary of the Assad regime who parrots its line. (Kuftaro, for example, called the war in Iraq an âAmerican, British, and Zionist aggressionâ and called on all forms of âresistenceâ from Muslims, âincluding martyrdom operations.â)
Islam Awareness Week co-chairman, UPenn junior Anjum Cheema, stated recently, âThe main purpose is to get a big non-Muslim audience to come out and hear what Islam is all about,â he said. Bakerâs purpose would seem to be quite different: misrepresenting both Christianity and Islam in an effort to build an anti-Semitic alliance.
Hat tip LGF
Posted by: Atrus 2003-10-09