Three U.S. lawmakers who have generated controversy for their statements about Islam and Muslim Americans released a video Saturday praising the Egyptian military and thanking it for staging the July 3 and subsequent crackdowns against their “common enemy,” the Muslim Brotherhood. The video, apparently taken a few hours after meeting with coup leader General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi in Cairo, features Rep. Michele Bachmann reading a statement to the camera. She’s flanked by Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert.
The video, posted below, is a doozy. Bachmann, presumably supported by King and Gohmert, offers fulsome praise for the coup and the military-led government’s subsequent actions, describing its crackdowns against sit-ins and demonstrations as “the front lines” in “the war on terrorism.” She described the Muslim Brotherhood as a common enemy and a “great evil,” implying that it had been responsible for the attacks against the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. King and Gohmert offered similar but more tempered remarks.
Bachmann’s remarks appeared deeply consistent with Egyptian state propaganda that has portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as a secret terrorist organization and an internal enemy.
Though the strong majorities of Americans who support marriage equality and equal federal benefits for gay couples celebrated today’s historic Supreme Court rulings, several prominent conservatives reacted with fear and fury. Though the conservative establishment (by in large) had little to say about the marriage equality cases, the vitriol that came from these particular conservatives stood out:
Rand Paul and Glenn Beck worry about Muslims and animals: In a video captured by Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, the purportedly libertarian Senator and popular talk show host worry about a host of bizarre “logical” consequences of the moves toward marriage equality, with Beck asking “who are you to say that, if I’m a devout Muslim, I come over here and I have three wives, who are you to say if I’m an American citizen that I can’t have multiple wives?” Paul nodded, saying “people take it to one extension further — does it have to be humans?…I’m kinda with you…we should not just say ‘oh, we’re punting on it, marriage can be anything.”
The list goes on and on while Another fiery reaction — outgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann’s declaration that “no man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted” — didn’t have quite the intended impact. “Who cares?” responded House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), when asked for comment on Bachmann’s outburst.
“We see with the new FBI terminology and the new intelligence terminology, they can’t talk about the enemy. They can’t talk about jihad. They can’t talk about Muslim. They can’t talk about Islam.”— Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), speech on the House floor, April 26, 2013
Has the FBI been hamstrung in its investigation of the Boston Marathon bombers because of a “purge” of training materials deemed by the Obama administration to be offensive to various ethnic and religious groups?
That’s a claim that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) keeps raising on the House floor and in media interviews— a point echoed by Sean Hannity on Fox News. (Hannity cites Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as his source.)
Gohmert is a controversial figure who also recently made the unsubstantiated charge that the Obama administration is staffed with “many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence.”
That’s a bizarre assertion, mostly ignored. But his comments on FBI practices have gained wide circulation, so let’s explore the basis of that claim.
Glenn Beck suggested Tuesday that the ethics investigation into the erstwhile presidential campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is retribution for the congresswoman’s outspoken crusade against what she has called the threat of radical Islam.
“We have been sold to radical Islam,” Beck said matter-of-factly on his Internet show. “It has infiltrated and we have documented it.”
Beck continued, claiming that radical Islam is so powerful it affected the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics, which, according to a Daily Beast report, is questioning former Bachmann staffers regarding “allegations of improper transfer of funds and under-the-table payments actions by Bachmann’s presidential campaign.”
Bachmann drew widespread criticism last year for spearheading a campaign alleging that high-profile aides in President Barack Obama’s administration had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Other Republican representatives and conservative pundits, including Beck, backed the discredited claims.
But Beck suggested there were other reasons for a supposed radical Islamic-linked backlash against Bachmann. According to him, she’d demonstrated her clarity on what was “going on” because she’d asked the State Department for answers on why it was sending Somali refugees to her district.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/24/2012) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today asked the Republican Party to reject a newly-adopted platform plank that includes a section supporting a ban on foreign law, which its sponsor admits targets the religious principles of American Muslims.
CAIR noted that the plank appears to be modeled on dozens of bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide based on draft legislation promoted by David Yerushalmi, an infamous Islamophobe with a history of bigoted statements targeting women, African Americans and people of the Jewish faith.
While leaders like Speaker Boehner and Sen. John McCain were rightly praised for taking a strong stand against Rep. Michele Bachmann’s witch hunt against Muslims in the U.S. government, don’t give the party of Lincoln a pass on Islamophobia just yet. In Tampa this week, GOP leaders adopted a plank to their platform supporting a ban on foreign law and aimed at Shariah, the Islamic religious law that many conservatives insist is secretly insinuating itself in the U.S. The platform still has to be approved by the entire convention in a vote next week, but generally, most things approved by the platform committee make it into the final platform.
WASHINGTON — Muslims in Western countries say they have gotten used to the fact that as elections get closer, politicians pump up the volume of accusations against them, whether they are Sunni, Shiite or of another sect.
In some European nations, it was the debate over women wearing the veil that set off the attacks. Now in the United States, where pivotal elections are looming, accusations against Muslims have reached a new level. It seems to some that the days of McCarthyism are back.
Representative Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican and a member of the Tea Party movement, cited Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s longtime aide Huma Abedin as the reason, questioning Ms. Abedin’s loyalty. One of the few Muslims in a prominent government position, Ms. Abedin is a trusted adviser who is known to the public; many have defended her against Mrs. Bachmann’s charge.
It is “so sad to see,” one of the women said. “There is already a lack of Muslims in government positions, but now this debate just shows no matter how loyal you are, some people will always attack you because you are Muslim.”
It is not the first time that Muslim women involved in politics have been attacked because of their backgrounds.
This accusation was a disturbing development for four Muslim women who work for the U.S. government and spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they were not authorized to make comments to the media.
TO CONSPIRACY theorists like Rep. ¬Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the Obama administration’s approach to the Arab world is the product not of considered diplomacy but of wicked “influence operations,” traceable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its agents. Exhibit A among those agents with murky “ties” to the Muslim Brotherhood, Ms. Bachmann warns darkly, is Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Ms. Bachmann’s smear of Ms. Abedin, a 37-year-old Muslim American born and educated in this country, was contained in a letter last month to the State Department’s inspector general’s office. It would be simple to ignore the baseless and paranoid assertions of Ms. Bachmann were she not a member of Congress and an also-ran in the recent race for the Republican presidential nomination. Her status doesn’t confer respectability on her views — Americans are inured to all manner of nonsense from Congress — but it does call for a response, if only to restore a dose of rationality to the public discourse.
Today, though, for arguably the first time in her congressional career, the Minnesota GOP congresswoman is finding herself publicly on the outs with some in her own party. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), among others, have publicly criticized Bachmann for her suggestion that State Department officials, including longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, might be part of a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to infiltrate the U.S. government. (Though notably, Newt Gingrich defended her this morning.)
Rep. Ron Paul may stick to advancing his own positions during debates and letting others do the sniping, but he took a detour on last night’s Tonight Show in a rapid-fire round where Jay Leno asked him to comment on each candidate in term. While he had some nice things to say about Jon Huntsman, his reactions to Newt Gingrich and Rep. Michele Bachmann were particularly harsh, the latter of which he noted “she doesn’t like Muslims… she wants to go get ‘em.”
As it was a quick round of questions, Leno moved on to “thoughtful person” Jon Huntsman before going on to Rick Santorum, who Leno noted that it appeared “gay people, it’s the end of the world for him.” “Gay people and Muslims,” Rep. Paul added.
The rest of the interview centered around Rep. Paul’s semi-feud with Donald Trump, who Rep. Paul noted, somewhat jokingly, that “he was very much offended [by me], so I’m getting a little bit worried,” and whether he would consider a third party run, a question he defined was “way premature.”