Trump pick for UN migration job shared tweets warning of creeping Sharia, pushed fringe view of Islam

EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration’s pick to head the United Nations organization that coordinates assistance to migrants worldwide regularly pushed anti-Muslim sentiment, including claims that Muslims were trying to impose Sharia law in the US.

A CNN KFile review has turned up previously unreported tweets that reveal Ken Isaacs has an extensive history of sharing anti-Muslim sentiment. Isaacs pushed a conspiratorial view of Islam and promoted the fringe views from prominent anti-Muslim activists, the review shows.

The State Department last month nominated Isaacs nomination to serve as director general of the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration, a 169-member organization whose mission it is to promote “humane and orderly migration” through assistance to both governments and migrants. The organization is actively involved in resettling refugees, a hot button issue in Europe and the US as large populations of migrants, many of them Muslim, have fled from the war torn regions of Iraq and Syria.

Isaacs, who has spent a large part of his career in relief efforts, currently heads international relief efforts for Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian non-profit founded by Franklin Graham. Isaacs previously served in President George W. Bush’s administration as director of foreign disaster assistance for the US Agency for International Development.

In June, the UN group’s members will hold a vote on Isaacs’ appointment. He must receive support of two-thirds of its members to get elected.

It has been a long-standing practice for members to elect the US-chosen candidate. The current IOM Director General, Ambassador William Lacy Swing, has served two five-year terms since 2008. Prior to that, US pick Brunson McKinley served from 1998 to 2008.

After his nomination was announced, The Washington Post reported that Isaacs had made disparaging remarks about Muslims and suggested Islam was inherently a violent religion on social media. Isaacs apologized at the time, telling the Post that he “deeply” regretted his comments, and added, “I pledge to hold myself to the highest standards of humanity, human dignity and equality if chosen to lead IOM.”

KFile’s subsequent review turned up tweets not identified in the Post report that shed more light on his anti-Muslim views, including pushing claims from fringe, anti-Muslim groups and individuals.

Isaacs did not respond to a request for comment on this report.

Asked about the tweets in this story, the State Department sent CNN’s KFile a statement that spokeswoman Heather Nauert gave to the Post in February.

“Mr. Isaacs has apologized for the comments he posted on his private social media account. We believe that was proper for him to do so,” Nauert said last month. “Mr. Isaacs is committed to helping refugees and has a long history of assisting those who are suffering. We believe that if chosen to lead IOM, he would treat people fairly and with the dignity and respect they deserve. I would refer you to Mr. Isaacs for any information on his statements.”

In December, Isaacs retweeted anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer, who has said that there is no way to “tell peaceful Muslims from Jihadis in any discernible manner.” In the tweet, Spencer defended President Donald Trump’s retweeting of anti-Muslim videos by Britain First, a far-right group that has since been suspended by Twitter for violating their rules.

“Apparently you would prefer we become ‘desensitized’ to jihad mass murder,” Spencer wrote. “‘Islamophobia’ is a smear term designed to intimidate people into fearing to oppose jihad terror.”

In January, Isaacs also retweeted anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, who tweeted out an article encouraging Trump to take on the Muslim Brotherhood, which Gaffney wrote “has been working patiently, stealthily with the stated purpose” of destroying America from within.

In July 2017, Isaacs retweeted a user who warned that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “allows Sharia law to creep into school & community. Appeasement will eventually destroy freedom,” with an embedded video of de Blasio announcing that Muslim holidays would be added to the school year calendar.

In January 2016, Isaacs retweeted an image warning parents their children were being taught that Islam was a peaceful religion.

“To all you parents out there, pay attention to what your kids are being taught in school,” the tweet said.

In November 2015, Isaacs retweeted a user who said it was insane to claim Muslims were not terrorists. Isaacs has since removed the retweet.

“27 dead after Islamic terrorists seize Mali hotel. Remember, #MuslimsAreNotTerrorists < #insanity,” the tweet read.