When the producers of Meet the Press, placed Congressman Peter King, (R-NY), vocal opponent of anything Muslim, next to Keith Ellison (D-Minn) the first Muslim elected to Congress, it was a calculated move, especially in the wake of the protests and bombings around the world at U.S. embassies, sparked in part, by an anti-Muslim video allegedly made by a Christian American. King has not been shy about making his fear of Muslims known, and has held numerous Congressional hearings attempting to gain support for what he sees as a sinister plot by the Islamic community to infiltrate the U.S Government in order to impose Sharia Law.
King, having been positioned by his fellow Republicans as the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, has recruited some allies to help further his conspiracy theories. Others have joined him in demanding there be hearings (click the link for the full hearings report) to investigate and possibly uncover these supposed subversive terrorists, hiding in plain sight. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn) has taken up the cause, and her public outcry has been directly linked to the assault on Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s motorcade while she was visiting Egypt recently.
After researching why the protestors were angry at Clinton, it was discovered that Bachmann, along with Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) accused Hilary Clinton aide and the wife of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) Huma Abedin, of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which proved to be false. Where did they get their information? Look no further than activist Frank Gaffney, says Jonathan Kay in this article from the Daily Beast. The author of the article, Jonathan Kay says,
"In this odd age, partisan hysteria and conspiracy theories have become a common feature of the American political landscape. But the anti-Abedin attack was too much even for fellow Republicans. To his credit, Sen. John McCain publicly declared that the letter constituted "an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant." (He also debunked its factual claims.) Ed Rollins, Bachmann's former campaign chief, wrote an op-ed for FOX calling his old boss' attack on Abedin "extreme," "dishonest," and "vicious."
The Egyptian protestors (limited in what news sources they have access to) believed that the United States, intervened in their first democratic election in Egypt, and influenced the outcome, which resulted in Mohamed Morsi, becoming the first democratically elected President of Egypt. And Morsi’s, foes believed it was Clinton’s ties (via her aide, Abedin) that the Muslim Brotherhood came into power.
As Jonathan Kay stated, the common sense of Senator, John McCain, (R-AZ), as well as many others from both political parties, was in stark contrast to the radical allegations being made by Bachmann and the anti-Muslim gang in Congress, as was reported in this article by Mother Jones on July 18, 2012. In an excerpt from his speech, McCain said,
“Ultimately, what is at stake in this matter is larger even than the reputation of one person. This is about who we are as a nation, and who we aspire to be. What makes America exceptional among the countries of the world is that we are bound together as citizens not by blood or class, not by sect or ethnicity, but by a set of enduring, universal, and equal rights that are the foundation of our constitution, our laws, our citizenry, and our identity. When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.”
Steven King, another anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist, has also been outspoken in his fears of anything Islam as this Huffington Post article and video demonstrate.
Even though investigation after investigation has not turned up a single shred of evidence pointing to the fact that there are Islamic extremists infiltrating the U.S. Government, Peter King and his allies, won’t let that stop them from continuing the search. In this article from June, 2012 from Salon.com, King says it’s time to investigate Muslims again.
According to this article by the American Jewish Advocacy group, AJC, Anti-Muslim bigotry was gaining a strong foothold in Congress in January 2011.
“According to U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-NY, more than 80 percent of the mosques in this country are headed by imams who espouse radical Islamic jihad. King did not claim to have a list of those subversive enemies of American freedom in his suit pocket, as Sen. Joe McCarthy did 60 years ago. But like McCarthy, King does have the chairmanship of a prominent congressional committee, in his case the House Homeland Security Committee. And next month, King’s committee is scheduled to hold public hearings into the alleged disloyalty of the Muslim-American community.”
Sadly, as reported by the MPAC “Muslim Public Affairs Council, after Keith Ellison was elected to Congress, an unidentified woman made the following prayer at the "May Day 2010: A Cry To God For A Nation In Distress," a private event hosted by an array of religious groups from the right in Washington, DC:
“We repent that we have not used godly wisdom when we have elected officials into elected positions in our state and nation.. and that it has opened the door, that Minnesota holds the responsibility for placing the first Muslim in Congress, and for that God, we repent."
Haris Tarin, the Director of MPAC’s Washington DC office, said,
"This type of bigoted and hateful rhetoric directed at a member of Congress is a startling indication of the rapid spread of anti-Muslim rhetoric from the right," said Haris Tarin, the Director of MPAC's Washington, DC office. "Congressman Keith Ellison has served the people of Minnesota and our country with the utmost respect, dignity and patriotism. This type of dangerous rhetoric only serves to divide our country and pit citizen against citizen. The National Day of Prayer should serve its original purpose of embracing America's religious diversity to strengthen its national unity, not to actively undermine it."
People for the American Way, PFAW, reported here that conservatives have eight key strategies to inflame anti-Muslim sentiment. The report reviews the key strategies employed by the Right to inflame anti-Muslim sentiment and turn hatred and bigotry into political weapons. It also details how those who believe in the American dream of pluralism and equality can fight back against this onslaught from the Right.
There may always be those who see bogeymen behind every tree, and feel the need to weed them out and expose them. Just like Senator Joseph McCarthy, saw Communists everywhere, and made it his mission to ruin their lives (which he successfully did, albeit not all the lives he ruined were traitors) so too are some in the United States Congress attempting the same kind of witch hunt for Muslims.
SELF FULFILLING PROPHECIES
Perhaps, the prophecies predicting the downfall of America (embraced so fully by the right) will become self-fulfilling. Could it be the same hatred that consumed McCarthy’s heart, and now consumes the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim provocateurs in Congress, is actually provoking the current escalation across the globe at U.S. Embassies, where Chris Stephens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three others were brutally murdered by an angry mob fueled by the Anti-Muslim Video allegedly created by an American Christian?
What are we Americans willing to do to end the hateful rhetoric and stop the false information that results in violence across the globe? Do we stand up and say, only peace will ever beget peace, and so the buck must stop here? Or will some radical Christians continue their eye-for-an-eye mentality?
It seems ironic that the group who claims the greatest connection to the Bible, are often quick to forget their Master's two greatest commandments: Mark 12:31 'Love your neighbor as yourself" and Mathew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Perhaps if more people could wrap their minds around those two simple concepts, they would begin to see fewer bogeyman around every corner, and more brothers and sister aligned in a desire for the betterment of humanity through peaceful means.