Bust out the burqa! Stash your safety razor! Islamic law is just around the corner.
So says the latest far-right conspiracy theory that’s making the rounds. Word is that a band of Islamic zealots has somehow infiltrated the upper echelons of the federal government – no doubt aided and abetted by the secret Muslim in the White House – and will be imposing shariah law just about any day now.
This lunacy comes via a House of Representatives’ Cuckoo Caucus, ably led by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). Last month, Bachmann and four reality-challenged House members (Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas J. Rooney of Florida and Lynn A. Westmoreland of Georgia) sent letters to the inspector general offices of the State, Justice and Homeland Security departments, demanding an investigation into the infiltration of our government by the Muslim Brotherhood.
At this point, you may be asking, “What infiltration of our government by the Muslim Brotherhood?” See, that just goes to show that you’ve also been duped by the conspirators. You need to tune in to Glenn Beck more often.
Much of the “evidence” for this infiltration centers on Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff and a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Abedin is a Muslim, and, according to the Bachmann brigade, three of her family members are somehow connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. (One of them is Abedin’s father – who died 20 years ago.)
Yesterday, U.S. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took to the floor of the Senate to denounce the campaign against Abedin. McCain called it “sinister” and stated, “Rarely do I come to the floor of this institution to discuss particular individuals. But I understand how painful and injurious it is when a person’s character, reputation and patriotism are attacked without concern for fact or fairness.”
The salvos against Abedin, McCain said, “are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant. These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now.”
Bachmann won’t back down. She issued a statement reiterating her belief in “the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups’ access to top Obama administration officials.” She vowed, “I will not be silent as this administration appeases our enemies instead of telling the truth about the threats our country faces.”
We at AU have had our differences with McCain over the years. (Does anyone recall how he labeled Religious Right leaders “agents of intolerance” in 2000 and then, eight years later, issued a groveling apology as he sought their support while running for president?) But yesterday was a proud moment for him, invoking U.S. Army counsel Joseph N. Welch’s famous 1954 retort to red-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Here’s some more good news on the anti-Islamophobia front. For years, Muslims in Rutherford County, Tenn., have been trying to do something that Christians do every day: open a house of worship. Local officials have erected various roadblocks, and some residents even sued.
Yesterday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it is suing Rutherford County over the matter, charging that officials have violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. At the same time, a federal judge ruled that county officials must give the mosque an occupancy certificate so its leaders can proceed with plans to open the facility.
I have a little reminder for those who seem to have forgotten some basics: This is America. We enjoy religious freedom. It is for everyone. That even includes groups you don’t like.
And if you don’t get something that fundamental about our nation, it’s time to look in the mirror and ask who’s really anti-American.