Fanatics’ Actions Don’t Define U.S. Muslims

June 15th, 2011 at 10:48 am | 17 Comments |

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On the stage at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire Monday night, Tim Pawlenty offered a definition of religious freedom:  “The protections between the separation of church and state were designed to protect people of faith from government, not government from people of faith.”

Yet apparently not all people of faith are to be protected from government, at least not according to one candidate on that stage: Herman Cain, pizza-maker turned presidential candidate.   In January, the restaurateur-turned-presidential candidate justified the invasion of Iraq in simple, recipe-book English: “The people of Iraq, they wanted to be a democracy. Once it was clear that they wanted to be a democracy, President Bush pledged to help them out”.

But at the debate on Monday, Cain couldn’t countenance the thought of American Muslims sharing that aspiration. In Cain’s eyes, every Muslim must be judged according to the actions of the fanatics “that are trying to kill us.”

For that reason, Cain explained, he would not be “comfortable” including Muslims in his cabinet if elected president. Cain attempted to offer further justification by conjuring the bogey of Sharia law. He needn’t have to: a portion of the audience had by then drowned his words in applause.  Only Mitt Romney — himself sometimes a target of religious prejudice — spoke up against Herman Cain, and then only in the most velvety manner.

“We recognize that the people of all faiths are welcome in this country,” said Romney. “Our nation was founded on a principle of religious tolerance. That’s in fact why some of the early patriots came to this country and we treat people with respect regardless of their religious persuasion.”

As if to offset any offence these words might have caused, Romney added that he would only employ people he knew would honour their oath to defend the constitution. This was more than Newt Gingrich. He interrupted Romeny to remind the audience that breaking an oath was easy — and, to applause, called for more rigorous measures, invoking, as a useful precedent, the treatment of Nazis.

Gingrich justified his treat-Muslims-as-Nazis prescription by citing the case of Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani American who attempted to blow up Times Square.

But what would Gingrich have done with Mohammed Salman Hamdani, another Pakistani American who died while attempting to save lives at the World Trade Centre on 9/11? Hamdani didn’t have to be at the World Trade Centre that morning, but he chose to go.

Would Cain have discharged Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, a Muslim American who was killed while serving in Iraq? It is Hamdani and Khan, not Shahzad, who are more accurately representative of the ordinary Muslim immigrants to America — and the instincts which drove him to the World Trade Centre on 9/11 transcend the distinctions of race and faith: they are the instincts of the best of humanity.

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17 Comments so far ↓

  • Frumplestiltskin

    “The protections between the separation of church and state were designed to protect people of faith from government, not government from people of faith.” What an insipid little POS Pawlenty is. Of course the separation of church and state protects GOVERNMENT from people of faith trying to legislate their faith from their position of power. Until the 1960′s the Lords prayer was said in Public schools, tell me how the hell that happened unless government was not protected from people of faith.
    While our laws can be influenced by our religious moral values, they are also based on reason and rationality. If a law can not be defended via reason then it should not be a law at all.

    As to Gingrich, he is toast. He has been using non profits as personal piggy banks to pay for the salary of his campaign staffers and doubtless buy Callista (greek for homewrecker) nice shiny baubles with his half a million interest free credit line. He will be lucky not to wind up indicted.

  • rbottoms

    Would Cain have discharged Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, a Muslim American who was killed while serving in Iraq? It is Hamdani and Khan, not Shahzad, who are more accurately representative of the ordinary Muslim immigrants to America — and the instincts which drove him to the World Trade Centre on 9/11 transcend the distinctions of race and faith: they are the instincts of the best of humanity.

    This is too much fun watching the GOP candidates trying to out bigot each other.

    I have an idea, how about we tattoo all Muslims with ID numbers? And barcodes, right on their foreheads so we can identify the troublemakers.

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    You’re using facts, reason, and logic. None of that matters in a Republican debate. The party has no policy views; it stands simply for tribalism. Muslims are the Other, so they are bad. It’s simple enough.

  • rbottoms

    [blockquote]Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s comments comparing Muslims to Nazis at the GOP debate Monday night have sparked a firestorm in the blogosphere, where liberals, and even some conservatives, have pounced on the former House speaker for what they view as excessive fear mongering.

    “Of course Newt is taking it too far. He is appealing to the basest instincts of a very small minority of folks,” said Matthew Dowd, ABC News consultant who served as chief strategist on George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election team. “Either he is doing this for political purposes to distract people from a campaign in disarray, which is bad, or he actually believes it, which is scary.”
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/gop-debate-newt-gingrichs-comparison-muslims-nazis-sparks/story?id=13838355&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
    [/blockquote]

    Small minority? Hell, 30% of you nitwits think the president was born in Africa.

    The GOP is poisoned beyond saving, not that will stop Frum from trying.

    “He’s dead Jim”
    ~ Leonard McCoy

    • PracticalGirl

      I have focused on Cain’s remarks, but Gingrich is the one who sends chills down my spine. As a student of history, Newt knows very well the economic unrest that allowed Nazis to come to power. He uses many of the same techniques as Hitler did- some smooth and underlying and some nakedly apparent- in his desperate grab for power. This man would be dangerous, if it weren’t for the fact that he’s already shot himself in his bunker.

  • LFC

    The right-wing bigots always need an enemy, preferably one that is easy to spot. It’s what defines them. They now take a beating when they try to place all blacks in that position (at least publicly), and they are starting to realize that Hispanics make up a massive voting bloc, so them damned dirty evil Mooslims it is.

    I don’t know who raised these people, but they didn’t do a very good job.

    • PracticalGirl

      We certainly know a bit about who raised Cain: Two humble parents-one a cleaner and the other a chauffeur- whose son benefited greatly from the Civil Rights movement.

      One might think that a 65 year old black man from Georgia must have some recollection of what it’s like to be unfairly discriminated against (lumped in with the Black Panthers and such), must have heard at least one family story about trouble at the polls, might remember when calling him “boy” and even “nigger” was commonplace among shopkeepers and townspeople. And he certainly can remember a time when many restaurants would not have him as a patron, let alone their freaking LEADER.

      I’m proud to say I live in a country whose people overcame this sort of bigotry, and I know it is unfair to characterize one’s experiences merely by tying him to the minority group to which he belongs. I just wish Herman Cain did, as well.

  • zephae

    “As a student of history, Newt knows very well the economic unrest that allowed Nazis to come to power. He uses many of the same techniques as Hitler did- some smooth and underlying and some nakedly apparent- in his desperate grab for power.”

    I’m quite shocked to see this coming from you, PG. I mean, I can see comparing him to McCarthy, but Hitler?

    • PracticalGirl

      Well, in my defense I’m giving up caffeine..Mea culpa for slipping into lefty lunacy. The guy gives me the creeps and always has.

    • valkayec

      But does not Practical Girl have a good point in that Gingrich is using the same techniques that Hitler and other fascists did? She’s referring to history and how radical, fascist elements used rhetorical phraseology to sway public opinion in order for the speaker to gain influence and power.

      • zephae

        “But does not Practical Girl have a good point in that Gingrich is using the same techniques that Hitler and other fascists did?”

        Ahhh, Valk, my favorite commenter here. Perhaps she does, but the problem is that, even when used in an academic fashion, invocations of Hitler like this will necessarily bring implications and connotations that, at least to me, would seem to be unintended. I’m pretty certain that PG did not mean that to say that Gingrich support the extermination of American Muslims, but it ends up coming off that way because of how charged this particular case is. All I’m saying is that a comparison to McCarthy is just as, if not more, accurate in this case without all of the baggage that comes with Nazis.

        Edit: Re-reading the piece and watching the Gingrich clip again, I see that my stance here is somewhat undercut by the fact that Gingrich actually invoked the comparison first (actually, both Nazis and Commies). Oh well…

  • Smargalicious

    Rule #1: Never trust an Islamofascist.

  • F.Citizen

    Smarg, I want to thank you.
    Taking into consideration all of your writings, you have methodically and succinctly discredited the cause of Conservatism in a way that should make all of the other posters on this site weep with envy.
    I salute you.

    • Smargalicious

      Citizen, you have now recognized me as your worst nightmare: no liberal can fool me.

  • Arms Merchant

    The libs cry “Bigotry!” but the fact remains that all schools of Islamic scholarship (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali, Sufism, the Jafari (Shia) school and others) adhere to Muhammad’s advocating forcible conversion of “infidels,” a stance diametrically opposed to American ideals of tolerance and freedom of conscience. Of course, the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful. But the politico-religious ideology that is Islam is fundamentally violent and antithetical to Western ideals of freedom.

    Until Islam reforms itself, it will remain an ideology akin to Communism, whereas the demands of the ideology override loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of an organization [including a religious system] that advocates the violent overthrow of the United States government?” is as relevant a question now as it was in the 1950s when it was first asked.

    • Smargalicious

      Bingo. But try to tell that to liberals who value “diversity”. They are, indeed, human garbage.