June 23, 2014
A Republican candidate seeking to represent Georgia’s 10th U.S. House district believes that the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty does not apply to followers of Islam.
“Although Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology,” Rev. Jody Hice wrote in his 2012 book It’s Now Or Never, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.”
The House candidate also believes the Muslim Brotherhood is secretly infiltrating the United States in a plot to impose Sharia law on the entire country, a conspiracy theory he shares with Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX).
“Most people think Islam is a religion, it’s not. It’s a totalitarian way of life with a religious component. But it’s much larger. It’s a geo-political system that has governmental, financial, military, legal and religious components. And it’s a totalitarian system that encompasses every aspect of life and it should not be protected (under U.S. law),” he told members of the Coweta County Tea Party Patriots in 2011, according to The Citizen.
“This is not a tolerant, peaceful religion even though some Muslims are peaceful. Radical Muslims believe that Sharia is required by God and must be imposed worldwide. It’s a movement to take over the world by force. A global caliphate is the objective,” he added.
February 2, 2014
A Super Bowl commercial featuring a polyglot America outraged right-wingers—some of whom thought “America the Beautiful” was the national anthem.
Coca-Cola is by no means a progressive company. The soda maker has long been targeted for boycotts by some labor rights groups for undermining workers’ rights at bottling plants in Colombia–and being complicit in the deaths of the labor organizations. There’s also the environmental waste their plastic bottles generate.
But on Sunday night, during the Super Bowl, they became a target of a much different kind of boycott lead by conservatives. A Coca-Cola ad featured the song “America the Beautiful” in multiple languages. Images of a Muslim woman, a Jewish man, and more flashed on the screen.
Right-wingers were none too pleased. On Twitter, the hashtag #boycottcoke picked up steam, though some of that was progressives’ making fun of their outrage.
Outside of Twitter, the outrage was just as ridiculous. Former Congressman and Tea Party star Allen West wrote that it was “a truly disturbing commercial,” as Talking Points Memo notes.
Coke used “a deeply Christian patriotic anthem whose theme is unity – in several foreign languages,” wrote Michael Patrick Leahy on Breibart.com, who added that it featured gay people–the horror!
Perhaps the funniest part of the whole affair was some Twitter xenophobes saying the ad desecrated the “national anthem.” In case they’re reading this: it’s not the national anthem.
Link to Video: http://youtu.be/443Vy3I0gJs
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.
Tea party and anti-Muslim activists are taking aim at a recent hire by the administration of Gov. Bill Haslam, targeting one of its top economic development officers based on her religion and past work experience.
The Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C., organization that has frequently attacked Muslims for perceived ties to Islamist groups, and the 8th District Tea Party Coalition, an umbrella organization of West Tennessee tea party groups, have urged their members to pressure Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty to dump Samar Ali, an attorney appointed last month as the department’s new international director.
The groups depict Ali as an Islamic fundamentalist with close ties to President Barack Obama. The claims are spurious and ECD has no intention of firing Ali, said Clint Brewer, a department spokesman. “She’s eminently qualified to do the job,” Brewer said. “We are lucky to be able to have her.”
The pressure campaign, which began last Thursday with a posting on a Center for Security Policy blog, does not appear to have been effective. Brewer said ECD has received fewer than two dozen emails and phone calls. David Smith, a spokesman for Haslam, said his office had received 18 emails and 13 calls, all of them before Tuesday.
Tea Party candidate for state representative Cindy Pugh uses her Facebook profile to defend Scott Walker, criticize Barack Obama, and boast about her ongoing campaign to defeat incumbent state Rep. Steve Smith, a Republican from Mound.
But she also used it recently to compare Muslim women and children clad in traditional Islamic garb to garbage bags.
Pugh shared the above photo on May 21 with the following commentary: “Disturbing … that women & little girls are OK with dressing like this!!! What will it take for these women to stand up and say, ‘NO’!? Wondering if they will ever do that?!” The photo was originally uploaded by “Proud to be an Infidel,” a Muslim-bashing page with the following slogan: “It’s not Islamophobia when they are really trying to kill you.”
Pugh launched a right-wing campaign to unseat 22-year state Rep. Smith, a moderate Republican, earlier this year. Although Pugh defeated Smith for the Republican endorsement at the party convention May 23, he has announced that he’ll challenge her in the August primary.
Pugh co-founded the Southwest Metro Tea Party and touts herself as a successful small business owner. She’s also a former general manager of Dayton’s in downtown Saint Paul.
As the 2012 presidential election picks up steam, Republican candidates find it tempting and beneficial to bash Muslims as a way to attract voters. In the wake of the 2010 midterm elections, “Americans are learning what Europeans have known for years: Islam-bashing wins votes,” the journalist Michael Scott Moore wrote that November. At the time, many of the 85 new Republican House members buoyed by the surging Tea Party movement found the political virtues of anti-Muslim rhetoric an easy way to prove their mettle to the surging conservative base.
Since then, the animosity against Muslims has only intensified. Republican presidential hopefuls Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich frequently warned that Muslims were attempting to take over the government and impose Shariah law, using “stealth Jihad,” as Gingrich put it in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute late last year.
The problem for the United States, the former speaker of the house argued, is not primarily terrorism; it is Shariah — “the heart of the enemy movement from which the terrorists spring forth.” Rick Santorum, not one to shy away from the subject, continues to conflate Muslims with radical Islamists. He has often warned audiences of the dangers of losing the war to “radical Islam,” even suggesting in a 2007 speech at the National Academic Freedom Conference that the American response to the threat should be to “educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate.”
Although it is true that American Muslims constitute a small percentage of the national population, they are concentrated in key swing states such as Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. Despite being very diverse and far from monolithic, this constituency is growing faster than any other religious community and has become increasingly visible and sophisticated in its political engagement. Republicans who found the Muslim community an easy target in the primaries may find themselves in trouble in the states that may determine the winner of the election.
There have been a slew of local controversies in the past decade over the proposed construction of mosques and Islamic community centers. Mayor Michael Bloomberg rightly stood up for religious liberty against vitriolic opposition to the construction of an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan. With the mayor’s support, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously allowed the project to proceed and it is, slowly.
Such good sense is not as common as it should be. This spring, officials in Bridgewater, N.J., opposed a plan to turn an old inn, formerly used for weddings and political events, into the town’s only mosque. Rather than stand up to the opposition, stirred up partly by the Tea Party, the mayor, the township council and the planning board raced to change the zoning rules so that a house of worship would no longer be a permitted use on the inn’s property.
NPR has been jolted by the release of a videotape that showed one of the organization’s fund-raising executives repeatedly criticizing Republicans and Tea Party supporters during a meeting with a fictional group.
The executive, Ronald Schiller, was recorded secretly by the Republican filmmaker and mischief-maker James O’Keefe. On the videotape, Mr. Schiller tells people posing as Muslim philanthropists that the Republican party has been “hijacked” by the Tea Party and that Tea Party supporters are “seriously racist, racist people.” Mr. Schiller indicates that he is sharing his personal point of view, not NPR’s.
Mr. Schiller was essentially set up by Mr. O’Keefe, who has become well-known for such stunts. The people he is heard talking to on the videotape are posing as members of the Muslim Education Action Center Trust, a fictional group. They falsely claim that they want to donate up to $5 million to public media.
America’s reputation for religious tolerance and decency has taken a terrible hit with this brouhaha over the proposed mosque near Ground Zero. It is a self-inflicted wound, aided in no small part by the Tea Party and the fear-mongers at Fox News who never miss an opportunity to summon the darker aspects of our nature for political purposes. All this in the name of a higher patriotism, of course.
By MARGOT ADLER
A proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center has become a flash point of controversy. The Islamic center is supported by most politicians in Manhattan and by religious leaders of many faiths. It is opposed by some Sept. 11 families, by conservative politicians, bloggers and Tea Party activists. In the last weeks, meetings have been raucous, tensions growing and emotions raw.