Muslims in Politics: Islamophobes Worst Nightmare

Rep. Keith Ellison, one of two Muslims in Congress

by Garibaldi

Muslims make up 1 to 2% of the population in the United States, a number which is reflected in their limited political clout. This fact however does not hinder the Islamophobia Movement’s growing fear and anxiety about Muslim advancement in the political realm. LoonPolitics, as has been clearly demonstrated over the years, is a central feature of the surreal world of anti-Muslim bigotry.

One could be forgiven if while reading Islamophobic blog headlines one actually thought he or she was reading a chapter heading of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, or Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, or maybe even the Arabian Nights. President Barack Obama is still supposedly our first “Mooslim-in-Chief” according to AtlasShrugs’ Pamela Geller, JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer and a “healthy chunk” of Americans. Even after several House hearings on the subject, conspiracy theories about the insidious world-wide octopus known as the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating all branches of the government are regular political parlay with prominent politicians such as Michele Bachmann. Former terrorism supporter and current Chair of the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Rep. Peter King is due to hold his millionth hearing on the supposed “pressing” issue of the radicalization of American Muslims. I can go on and on but you get the picture.

So why are Islamophobes so anxious? Why do they feel the need to pre-empt Muslim political advancement in the United States–at any and all cost? Is it a fear of phantom Sharia’ Law replacing the US Constitution? Is it a fear of the Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation of the Holy Quran replacing the King James Holy Bible as part of the canon of English literature? No, these are not the true reasons for their fear. As one of the godfathers of Islamophobia, Daniel Pipes put it at an American Jewish Congress convention, “the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims” is “dangerous.”

Pipes was speaking in the context of how such a scenario would “affect American Jews,” but his statement holds true with nearly all Islamophobes; they believe Muslim advancement in American life will challenge their agendas.

Almost anytime a Muslim is elected to congress, appointed as a judge, a city councillor and/or an advisor expect immediate Islamophobic backlash. Reverberating across the looniverse will be hundreds, if not thousands of blogposts and opinion articles, each one mirroring one another’s talking points.

Remember Rep. Keith Ellison and the manufactured “Koran swearing-in controversy?” Islamophobes were in a twist over Ellison putting his hand on the very same Quran Thomas Jefferson owned; un-American they claimed! Rep. Andre Carson recently faced a barrage of accusations about “stealth jihad” and slanders that he wanted public schools to teach the Quran–all because of a misunderstood and decontextualized four sentence quote ripped from a 15 minute speech. Who can forget when Judge Sohail Mohammed was appointed to a state bench and the immediate hysterics from Geller and company claiming Sharia’ Law had penetrated New Jersey–Gov. Chris Christie responded in bewilderment, “Sharia Law has nothing to do with this at all, it’s crazy!” There was also the ACT! for America campaign that targeted a Muslim Fulbright Scholar and Business professor, Parvez Ahmed appointed by Jacksonville’s mayor to a Human Right’s Commission–according to many the anti-Muslim bigotry was an embarrassing episode for the City of Jacksonville.

So it is not surprising that Islamophobes once again got bent out of shape when anti-Loon Ahmed Rehab was recently announced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as part of an advisory committee on immigration issues (h/t: FernandoA).

The anti-Muslim Islamophobic websites would have us believe that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former IDF soldier, appointed a “Hamas-linked” operative as an advisor! Most of the recycled headlines in the looniverse read, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Appoints Hamas-Linked CAIR’s Ahmed Rehab to Advisory Committee. Yes, you read that right, a former IDF soldier, now the mayor of one of the largest US cities supposedly appointed a Hamas-linked individual to his advisory committee. That’s as surreal as Islamophobic stupidity gets. I mean I know they pack a lot into those deep dish pizza’s in Chicago, but there ain’t nothin’ in those pizzas that would make Emanuel, ever, appoint a “Hamas linked advisor!”

The well worn anti-Muslim smear and slander campaign (they never provide real evidence of Hamas links) against Rehab seems to have fallen on deaf, or at least unsympathetic ears, as good judgement generally sees clear through Islamophobic BS.

The most ironic and surreal part of all this is the true missed terrorist link: Mayor Emanuel’s own father, Ari Emanuel was really a member of a terrorist organization, the Irgun, but for Islamophobes such a link would never be an issue.

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

Loonwatch was live blogging the controversial (anti)-Muslim Hearings being chaired by bigoted ex-IRA terrorist supporter Peter King. It was a circus. It devolved along partisan lines with Republicans predictably falling behind the rhetoric and narrative of Peter King. Democratic Congressmen/women issued strong rebukes: Rep. Sheila J. Lee, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Sanchez, and others delivered the message home that these Hearings were nothing more than political theater meant to castigate and intimidate a minority group and most importantly they were bereft of facts and therefore unbeneficial.

The leading witnesses for King were non-experts, Zuhdi Jasser, AbdiRizak Bihi and Melvin Bledsoe, all of these individuals were bereft of any credentials or expertise in the field of radicalization, terrorism or extremism. Zuhdi Jasser is considered an apologist for Neo-Cons and is viewed with suspicion amongst American Muslims for his close association with Islamophobes and war-mongerers. AbdiRizak was incomprehensible at times and much of what he and Bledsoe said were anecdotal and not factual evidence.

King began the hearings with what can only be classified as a bigoted comment, he said, “Moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community.” He said this to set up a straw man argument for what would become a recurring attack on CAIR, almost making it into a hearing about CAIR.

After getting its name wrong, calling it the “Committee of American Islamic Relations,” he and other Congressmen labeled CAIR a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood group. This is the usual trope brought forth by Right-wingers and anti-Muslims such as Robert Spencer and co., the best response came from Sheriff Lee Baca (one of the anti-Loons of 2010) when he said, ‘If CAIR is this terrorist group or has terrorist links then why hasn’t the FBI prosecuted them? Why haven’t they charged them? They wouldn’t be around if they were terrorist or terrorist sympathizers.’

Some highlights included:

Keith Ellison made three important points: 1.) Security is important to all American Muslims, 2.) Hearings threaten our security and 3.) We need increased engagement with Muslims.

Ellison also got quite emotional while mentioning the story of a Muslim first responder who died saving people but was the victim of a smear campaign by Islamophobes who attempted to link him to the 9/11 attacks.

Andre Carson brought up an excellent point about the fact that cooperation between law enforcement and communities such as the American Muslim community is endangered by the backdoor actions and methodologies of  organizations such as the FBI when they send agent provocateurs into Muslim mosques. Such actions cause distrust and engender fear that Muslims’ civil rights and liberties are being violated. One really only has to look at the example in California of the criminal Craig Montielh who was later arrested and confessed that he was sent by the FBI on a fishing expedition to entrap Muslims.

There were also other quite interesting WTF moments: Such as when Peter King mentioned Kim Kardashian and CAIR in the same sentence. Or when non-expert witness Melvin Bledsoe told Rep. Al Green “you don’t know what these hearings are about.” There was also the earlier moment when Peter King denied making the comment that “there are too many mosques in America.” A blatant falsity.

We will have more in depth coverage but it is safe to say that American Muslims are in for a rocky Islamophobic time with these hearings.