A remarkably dishonest and self-pitying interview from the Muslim Brotherhood's favorite Congressman. "Rep. Keith Ellison Talks About Beating the Anti-Islam Industry,'" by Seth Freed Wessler in ColorLines, September 16 (thanks to all who sent this in):
[...] Commenting on the controversy surrounding the Park 51 Islamic cultural center in downtown Manhattan, NYC Mayor Bloomberg recently said, "This whole issue, I think, will go away right after the next election." Do you think that these attacks are going to go away after elections?
I do think it'll die down but I don't think it will go away.
Because the people who are struck by fear and who are creating a climate of fear with the thought of this Islamic center are not going away. Yes, it's going to have a tougher time catching the public mind and it is going to have a tougher time getting any news. But you have to understand that there are some people who make their living trying to say, "The Muslims are coming, the Muslims are coming." It's important to bear in mind that these folks are not going to stop and pack it in just because the elections are over. ... They are just going to find something else to make a big deal about.
I don't think it's completely separate from elections either. Certainly certain people like Rick Lazio will try to exploit the upsurge in anti-Islamic ideas to their political advantage. But I don't think it's rooted in the election cycle. I think it's rooted in the idea that there are urges in society from time to time based on a multitude of factors that make some people want to scapegoat others.
In the early 1960s, you had people scapegoating Catholics, saying we can't have Kennedy be the president because then the pope will running the country. Of course we have a long history of scapegoating Jews as well. And we have a long history of racial discrimination and scapegoating. We've seen conservatives and people who want to keep America for people who have traditionally benefited. We've seen these elements scapegoat. We remember Reagan talking about welfare queens. He scapegoated single moms who are poor and tried to say that America's problems are because of them. And then George Bush said, "Well no, the problems are not because of them, but because of black men like Willie Horton and liberals like Dukakis, who let these guys run around." And then we went from there to, "Well the problem is with the gays, they're the problem. They're trying to get married and they're causing the problem." And then it's because of the Latinos, they're taking our jobs.
There is always a scapegoat de jour when fearful people blame the problems of society on a distinct groups that usually does not have much political power. [...]
This is the same dishonest narrative we have seen recently from Nicholas Kristof and many others: that Muslims in America today are facing a resurgence of the nativism that earlier targeted Catholics and others. I wonder who is feeding all these people their talking points. But in any case, the comparison is entirely fallacious: Catholics, Jews, blacks, Hispanics, welfare queens -- all the groups Ellison names as previous "scapegoats" -- weren't carrying out terror attacks against Americans and others worldwide. They weren't justifying violence and hatred by reference to Catholic or Jewish teaching. The people who were worried about the pope running the country could point to no action by the pope to try to achieve such power. The Muslim Brotherhood, in contrast, is dedicated in its own words to "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within" so that Islam "is victorious over other religions."
The idea that non-Muslims are suspicious of Muslims out of bigotry, rather than out of a legitimate concern for both jihad terror and the utterly supine and often disingenuous response to it from peaceful and ostensibly moderate Muslims is nonsense of such an outstanding character that I wonder if Ellison himself even believes it, rather than simply seeing it as a useful line he can use to bamboozle the besotted Leftists to whom he is talking in ColorLines.
So why right now are Muslims being targeted? What is particular about this moment that Muslims are made the targets of scapegoating and fear?
Gee, ColorLines, I can't imagine. In the first place, there is no such scapegoating: hate crimes against Muslims are actually quite rare. But even if they weren't, do you really have to ask this question? Are you really unaware that when so many mass murderers and would-be mass murderers point to Islamic teaching as the motivation and justification for their actions (think of Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihadist; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas underwear jihadist; Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square jihadist; Khaled Sheikh Mohammed and Osama bin Laden on 9/11; the London jihad bombers of July 7, 2005; and so many, many others), that non-Muslims will continue to swallow the increasingly less convincing line that none of this violence has anything to do with Islam?
Of course, many will continue to do so, and they will continue to do so because of articles like this one, which claim victim status for Muslims and do their best to divert attention away from jihadist crimes. Ellison does mention a few of these jihad attacks farther down, but says nothing about the belief-system that motivated them, or what can and should be done within the Muslim community in the U.S. to help ensure that there will be no such attacks in the future -- that is, if that were on the Muslim community in America's to-do list.
Anyway, in response, the Congressman breaks out some half-baked Saidism:
One factor is that in Western thinking the Orient and people from the Orient are somehow foreign or different. Long before 9/11 occurred, you had a whole set of films where the villain is some Arab Muslim guy. Whether it's "True Lies" or it's "Back to the Future," whether it's Libyans who are blowing up something, whatever it is, it is deeply rooted stuff over the long term. What is Islam but the religion of the Orient? So there's that.
Remember The Sum of All Fears? The novel that featured jihadist villains, who became neo-Nazis in the film after Hamas-linked CAIR mau-maued the filmmakers? Has Ellison seen that one?
Then you have other things like 9/11 that make these things more pointed. Of course 9/11 was not the last thing. Like when Faizal Shahzad tried to blow up a bomb in Times Square or when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit or Nadal Hassan did what he did in Fort Hood. These things are incredibly damaging to the way that Americans feel about their Muslim and Middle Eastern neighbors.
No kidding, really? In any case, note that Ellison doesn't even come close to addressing the ideological wellsprings of such attacks.
The Muslim world is incredibly diverse. You have people who are Bosnian Muslims who are white as the moon and Liberian Muslims that are as black as the night. You have white Americans whose families have been here for generations and they have converted to Islam. One example is Hamza Yusuf who is a noted and brilliant scholar. So there is a broad diversity of Muslims. That's just the reality. You know, Islam is not all foreign. When I swore in on the Quran, I swore in on Thomas Jefferson's Quran....
Which he owned, of course, to study the beliefs of those who were menacing American ships in the Mediterranean.
In Park51 you have people who want to bring us back but there are more people who want to bring us forward. You can never suppress people who have reactionary, fearful ideas who want to divide people. But the people who stand up and do the right thing will prevail if they stick to it. It's like MLK said in the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail": "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people." But in the case of Park51, the good people have spoken up.
Should Obama and other leaders have moved faster to speak up?
I think the president has done a good job. He has spoken out clearly and properly on this issue of the mosque and the issue in Gainesville Florida. I am proud of the president. That is one of the good sides of the story. When you have a leader standing up and saying we are not going to divide Americans based on religion. I don't have any complaints about what Obama, Gates, Petraeus or Nadler has said.
They could have ducked and covered but instead they have contributed to the marginalization of people who make their living on this stuff, like Pam Geller and Robert Spencer. ...
Note that we're not marginal enough for Ellison to refrain from mentioning us at all. He would certainly like to see us marginalized, since I have been the one calling attention to his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. As I noted in December 2008, when it was first revealed that Ellison's Hajj was paid for with $13,350 from the Muslim American Society:
The Muslim Brotherhood "must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." -- "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America," by Mohamed Akram, May 19, 1991.
What does that have to do with Congressman Ellison? Everything. The Muslim American Society paid for his Hajj. And what is the Muslim American Society? The Muslim Brotherhood.
"In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members." -- Chicago Tribune, 2004.
Imagine if a conservative Congressman had taken a trip that had been paid for by a Christian group that was, according to one of its own documents, dedicated to "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house" so that Christian law would replace the U.S. Constitution. I expect we would hear more of an outcry than we ever heard about Ellison's Brotherhood-funded hajj.
But I'm going to keep talking about it here. No wonder he wishes we were marginalized.