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US Congresswoman Bachmann stirs Islamophobia

Anti-Muslim conspiracy theory

American Muslims in Washington rally to express their love and devotion to being citizens of the United States.

Some of my readers will be surprised to learn that at one point in my life, years ago, I was a very dedicated young Republican. While I’m not proud of some of the positions I took back then, though I did make an effort to think my political positions through to a logical end. Some Republicans today make terribly specious arguments in arriving at whacky, potentially detrimental conclusions.

I’m making this personal confession because of news reports I’ve been reading that Michele Bachmann, along with four other Republican members of the US Congress Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland, have asserted that the Muslim Brotherhood has “infiltrated the US government at the highest levels.” The five congressmen have sent letters to five federal agencies demanding an investigation of the Muslim Brotherhood and Muslims working in government positions.

ADL enjoins inflamatory rhetoric

Robert G. Sugarman and Abraham H. Foxman, the national chair and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, believe these sweeping accusations by members of Congress against Muslim Americans are misguided and unfair. They said in a statement, “Absent clear evidence of direct ties between these individuals and the Muslim Brotherhood, such allegations foment fear and cast the kind of suspicion that undermines rather than advances American counterterrorism efforts.”

The ADL has written letters to these five members of the US Congress, expressing displeasure with their charges.

“Members of Congress have an essential role to play in raising legitimate concerns about threats to America’s security from international terrorist groups,” the ADL wrote. “Those efforts should not be tainted by the kind of stereotyping and prejudice that has too frequently accompanied the public debate…. We strongly urge you to reconsider your allegations and to refrain from promoting or trafficking in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories in the future.”

Huma Abedin, Aide to Secretary of State Clinton

US Secretary of State Clinton with aide Huma Abedin. Abedin was singled out for attack by Bachmann and four other US congressmen.

In their letter the five Republican congressmen singled out Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Abedin is married to former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish and strongly pro-Israel.

Republican Senator John McCain, not mentioning Bachmann or the other lawmakers by name, pointedly criticized their letter.

“The letter alleges that three members of Abedin’s family are ‘connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations,'” he said. “Never mind that one of those individuals, Huma’s father, passed away two decades ago. The letter and the report offer not one instance of an action, a decision or a public position that Huma has taken while at the State Department that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government.”

“These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit,” McCain added. “And they need to stop now.”

McCain said that he traveled overseas with Clinton and Abedin when Clinton was a senator.

On being politically incorrect

Far too often, a few political leaders speak before they think. Facts don’t seem to matter. What does apparently matter to them is grabbing headlines with provocative anti-Muslim sound bites. But such ill-advised speculation is based on a closed-minded opinionating that “all Muslims are terrorists” or are “sleeper agents” just waiting for the their appointed time to blow up America.

Sensationalism may get such people in the news, but these irresponsible individuals are putting American religious liberty and personal freedom at risk, endangering and marginalizing people’s lives–in this case the lives of millions of US Muslims.

Extremism is common to all three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Imprudent, incendiary rants are far too often effective at breeding further misunderstanding and paranoia–sometimes driving radical elements towards militias, violence, bombing, and killing. And many a home-grown terrorist has been born in reaction to hate speech and feelings of alienation.

Anderson Cooper exposé

CNN’s Anderson Cooper entered the fray by televising a brilliant segment on his “Keeping Them Honest” program. It caught my attention this evening here in Saudi Arabia. In his program, Cooper totally debunks Bachmann and company’s latest conspiracy theory.

In the interest of truth and religious reconciliation, I’m posting Anderson’s insightful piece here on my blog. Take a few minutes to watch Anderson’s investigation:

 

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July 31, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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