Friday, 11.09.2012, 06:39pm
Several candidates for Congressional elections known for making anti-Islam statements were defeated during this week’s election, much to the delight of American Muslims and tolerant U.S. residents in general who have grown tired of the unwelcoming climate.
“These encouraging results clearly show that mainstream Americans reject anti-Muslim bigotry by candidates for public office and will demonstrate that rejection at the polls,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, according to the website OnIslam.net.
Candidates known for their hostile, ignorant rhetoric were defeated in several states, another win for tolerance coming off of the failed campaigns of similar presidential candidates such as Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum.
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Friday that President Obama gives people reason to believe that he’s a Muslim.
The statement, which Gingrich made at a campaign event in Port Fourchon, La., comes as the former House speaker is struggling to stay relevant in the Republican presidential nominating contest.
The comment marks the second time this week that the issue of Obama’s religious faith has come up at a Gingrich campaign event, although it appeared to be the first time Gingrich has blamed Obama for public misperceptions of his religion. Obama is a Christian.
At a rally in Lake Charles, La., earlier this week, Gingrich ignored a statement by a town hall attendee who said he believes Obama is Muslim.
Asked afterward by a reporter why he did not correct the man, Gingrich did not answer directly but said that he personally believes Obama is a Christian.
After a month of sparring with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Gingrich has returned to more comfortable territory — criticizing President Obama with language more incendiary than his rivals would dare to use.
In Georgia Tuesday, he called Obama “so pro-Islamic that [he] can’t even tell the truth about the people who are trying to kill us,” the latest in a series of recent attacks on the White House as excessively friendly to Muslims.
In last week’s debate, he used his opening remarks to promise that “no future president will ever bow to a Saudi king again.”
The focus on Islam is a return to form for Gingrich, who in May of last year warned of a United States “potentially . . .dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.” In 2010, he compared Muslims hoping to build an Islamic Center near the World Trade Center site to Nazis.
Republican candidates “believe they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by pandering to anti-Islamic bigotry,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “It’s always been under the surface, ready to pop up at any moment.”
But it’s not certain that this strategy will win Gingrich votes so much as headlines. His May 2011 comments were not followed by a surge in polls.
TUNIS, Tunisia — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton advised an audience in Tunisia on Saturday to “not pay attention” to the comments made by candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination, saying the often overheated rhetoric of the campaign doesn’t reflect U.S. policy.
Speaking at a town-hall style event in Tunisia, the North African nation that sparked the “Arab Spring” revolts, Clinton said the partisan remarks made during campaign events “certainly don’t reflect the United States, don’t reflect our foreign policy, don’t reflect who we are as a people.”
GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich said while campaigning that the apology was “astonishing” and that Obama “has gone so far at appeasing radical Islamists that he is failing in his duty as commander in chief.”
As anti-Muslim rhetoric rises locally and nationally — some of it fueled by the presidential campaign — a group of Chicago-area Muslims is battling back, using tactics including a television ad campaign and public forums against bigotry.
Gain Peace, an Islamic outreach organization based in Chicago, spent $40,000 in December to counter negative portrayals and produce two television ads intended to promote Islam as a just faith. The spots, which will run through March in the Chicago area on Fox, CNN and TNT, depict friendly Muslim students and professionals and display a phone number and a Web site for more information.
In the presidential race, both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have depicted Islamic Shariah law as a potential threat to United States sovereignty. One of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisers, Walid Phares, regularly warns that Muslims aim to take over American institutions and impose Shariah, a legal code based mainly on the Koran that can involve punishments like cutting off the hands of a thief.
Mr. Ahmed, of Gain Peace, dismissed any connection between Islamic Circle and terrorism. “There is always a link people try to make,” he said. “But there is no proof.”
Mr. Redfield, of the University of Illinois at Springfield, said he thought the Muslim groups were smart to combat anti-Muslim rhetoric. “In politics, if you don’t define yourself someone else will,” he said. “They have to be proactive in terms of trying to neutralize ignorance and willful manipulation of negative opinion.”
Islamic Circle hopes to distribute the television ads nationwide.
The largest Muslim civil liberties group in the United States on Wednesday condemned Newt Gingrich for saying he would only hire Muslims to his administration if they renounced the use of Islam’s Shariah law as a tool for U.S. government.
Calling Gingrich “one of the nation’s worst promoters of anti-Muslim bigotry,” the Council of American Islamic Relations suggested the Republican presidential candidate is a segregationist.
“Newt Gingrich’s vision of America segregates our citizens by faith. His outdated political ideas look backward to a time when Catholics and Jews were vilified and their faiths called a threat,” said CAIR Legislative Director Corey Sayolor in a statement.
“The time for bias in American politics has passed and Newt Gingrich looks like a relic of an ugly era,” Sayolor said.
CAIR said the release was prompted by the candidate’s remarks Tuesday in Columbia when, asked if he would ever endorse a Muslim running for president.
“It would depend entirely on whether they would commit in public to give up Shariah,” Gingrich said.
“A truly modern person who happened to worship Allah would not be a threat, a person who belonged to any kind of belief in Shariah, any effort to impose it on the rest of us, would be a mortal threat,” Gingrich told the crowd, adding that he’s “totally opposed” to Shariah law being applied in American courts and favors a federal law that “preempts” its use.
*(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/17/12) *– A prominent national Muslim civil
rights and advocacy organization tonight called on Republican
presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and other GOP representatives to
reaffirm their support of an American republic that treats citizens of
all faiths as equals.
Gingrich today told a South Carolina town hall that he would only
support a Muslim for the presidency if that person would “commit in
public to give up Sharia.”
“Newt Gingrich’s vision of America segregates our citizens by faith. His
outdated political ideas look backward to a time when Catholics and Jews
were vilified and their faiths called a threat,” said *CAIR National
Legislative Director Corey Saylor*. “The time for bias in American
politics has passed and Newt Gingrich looks like a relic of an ugly era.”
Saylor added that Sharia teaches marital fidelity, generous charity and
a thirst for knowledge. It includes religious guidelines for praying,
fasting, giving charity, helping the needy, feeding the hungry, and
caring for the environment. “The last time I checked, that was called
freedom of religion and it is all protected by the Constitution,” said
According to Saylor, Sharia literally means “path,” and it is a set of
interpretations that are dynamic and intended to accommodate the time,
place and laws — like the U.S. Constitution — of a particular
community. Sharia is interpreted differently based on its surroundings.
Sharia mandates Muslims to respect the law of the land in which they
live. Many familiar with Islam note that Sharia is similar to Catholic
Canon law and Jewish Halacha law.
WASHINGTON — Long before he announced his presidential run this year, Newt Gingrich had become the most prominent American politician to embrace an alarming premise: that Shariah, or Islamic law, poses a threat to the United States as grave as or graver than terrorism.
“I believe Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it,” Mr. Gingrich said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington in July 2010 devoted to what he suggested were the hidden dangers of Islamic radicalism. “I think it’s that straightforward and that real.”
Mr. Gingrich was articulating a much-disputed thesis in vogue with some conservative thinkers but roundly rejected by many American Muslims, scholars of Islam and counterterrorism officials. The anti-Shariah theorists say that just as communism posed an ideological and moral threat to America separate from the menace of Soviet missiles, so today radical Islamists are working to impose Shariah in a “stealth jihad” that is no less dangerous than the violent jihad of Al Qaeda.
The epochs of Newt Gingrich’s public life are defined by the books that have revolutionized him — generally of the type that sell well at airports. There is Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” trilogy, Alvin Toffler’s “The Third Wave,” Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and various foundational texts of Total Quality Management and Lean Six Sigma.
These idea crushes are mostly harmless. Sometimes they are not. Gingrich has recently been captured by the theory, developed in books such as Andrew C. McCarthy’s “The Grand Jihad,” that sharia law is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and the world as we know it.
Does this seem an exaggerated description of Gingrich’s view? Here is the former speaker: “Sharia is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and the world as we know it.” Gingrich often precludes the possibility of exaggeration.
The Republican front-runner set out his argument about Islamic law in a speech last year to the American Enterprise Institute. The United States’ problem, Gingrich argued, is not primarily terrorism; it is sharia — “the heart of the enemy movement from which the terrorists spring forth.” Sharia law, in his view, is inherently brutal — defined by oppression, stonings and beheadings. Its triumph is pursued not only by violent jihadists but by stealthy ones attending the mosque down the street. “The victory of sharia,” he concludes, “would clearly mean the end of the government Lincoln was describing.”
MORE than a dozen American states are considering outlawing aspects of Shariah law. Some of these efforts would curtail Muslims from settling disputes over dietary laws and marriage through religious arbitration, while others would go even further in stigmatizing Islamic life: a bill recently passed by the Tennessee General Assembly equates Shariah with a set of rules that promote “the destruction of the national existence of the United States.”
Supporters of these bills contend that such measures are needed to protect the country against homegrown terrorism and safeguard its Judeo-Christian values. The Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has said that “Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.”
This is exactly wrong. The crusade against Shariah undermines American democracy, ignores our country’s successful history of religious tolerance and assimilation, and creates a dangerous divide between America and its fastest-growing religious minority.