Arizona Senator John McCain pushed back against Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade, and their earlier guest Laura Ingraham, strongly announcing that he was not “bailing out” PresidentBarack Obama, and that the Syrian Free Army was not comprised of Muslim extremists, but moderates whom the U.S. should be arming.
Host Brian Kilmeade played a clip of Syrian rebels yelling, “Allahu Akbar” after shooting down a fighter jet, and wondered if McCain, who had met with Syrian rebels, was comfortable supporting an army that might contain “Muslim extremists.”
“I have a problem helping those people if they’re screaming that after a hit,” Kilmeade said.
McCain was flabbergasted. “You have a problem with that? Would you have a problem with an American, a Christian, saying ‘Thank God? Thank God?’ That’s what they’re saying. Come on. Of course they’re Muslims. But they’re moderates, and I guarantee you that they are moderates. I know them and I’ve been with them. For someone to say ‘Allahu Akbar’ is about as offensive as someone saying ‘thank God.’”
A day after the Boston Marathon bombings, the New York Post falsely reported that law enforcement suspected a Saudi national may have been responsible. Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa responded with predictable outrage. “If we can’t background-check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background-check the 11 million to 20 million people that are here from who knows where?” he told the National Review. King, a leading opponent of efforts to reform the nation’s immigration laws, was one of several conservatives—including Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and talk show host Laura Ingraham—who are straining to draw a line from the Boston attack to the immigration bill.
Now the question is whether the Gang of Eight senators who authored the bill, and particularly the Republicans in the group, can wrest back the narrative from these doubters. On CNN’s State of the Union show Sunday, South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham argued that the bombings strengthen the case for reform. It’s better to improve the immigration system than to keep it as is, he said, so authorities have a better idea of who is coming and who isn’t. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Arizona Senator John McCain made similar statements this weekend.
At a recent town-hall style rally in Lakeville, Minnesota, Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain refuted comments from a rally attendee, who told the senator that she could not trust Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama, because he was “an Arab.” McCain responded saying, shaking his head on the false accusation, and told voters that Obama was “a decent person” and a “family many.” While McCain was booed for his intended defense of Obama, others have condemned McCain’s response for being insensitive to Arab Americans and others who expressed that there is not disparity between being Arab, and being decent. The racist remarks from the rally attendee is another in a seeming trend of racism, bigotry, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab comments made against the Christian Barack Obama.
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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) welcomed Senator John McCain’s rejection of bigoted Texas pastor John Hagee’s endorsement, and called on the US presidential candidate to unequivocally distance himself from Ohio pastor Rod Parsley. Parsley, pastor of the World Harvest Church, has similarly supported McCain’s campaign, as he praised the pastor saying he is one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, and a spiritual guide. Parsley has referred to Islam as an anti-Christ religion and expressed his support for seeing this false religion destroyed. McCain has not denounced Parsley’s comments or stance, nor rejected his endorsement. CAIR issued a statement saying: “In the interest of best positioning any future administration to defeat the narrative of anti-American extremists, we call on Senator McCain to unequivocally distance himself from Pastor Rod Parsley.”
A coalition of American Muslim groups is demanding that US presidential candidate and current Senator John McCain stop using the adjective Islamic when describing terrorist and radical enemies of the United States. Muneer Fareed, the head of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), told the Washington Times that his group is commencing a campaign to ask Mr. McCain to rephrase his descriptions. “We’ve tried to contact his office, contact his spokesperson to have them rethink word usage that is more acceptable to the Muslim community […] If it’s not our intent to paint everyone with the same brush, then certainly we should think seriously about just characterizing them as criminals, because that is what they are” said Fareed. An aide to Mr. McCain said that the senator would not drop the word. McCain often uses the term “Islamic” to describe terrorist enemies; however, the two remaining Democratic hopefuls, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, generally avoid usage of the word.
By Stephen Labaton Senator John McCain said in an interview posted on the Internet on Saturday that the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation and that his faith is probably of better spiritual guidance than that of a Muslim candidate for president. I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, that’s a decision the American people would have to make, but personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith, Mr. McCain said in response to a question about the possibility of a Muslim’s running for president.