A war buddy of John McCain’s upset Muslims by comparing them to terrorists, creating another headache for the Republican presidential candidate bedeviled by misstatements from some of his surrogates.
One of John McCain’s fellow Vietnam POWs compared Muslims to terrorists during a defense of the Iraq War on Friday, saying “The Muslims have said either we kneel or they’re going to kill us.”
There are indeed Muslims who have said things like that. There is a Muslim organization that is dedicated, in its own words, to “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.”
Why does that come in for no mention in this story? It isn’t really surprising, given the tendencies and perspectives of the mainstream media — it would have been more surprising if they had mentioned it. But in a sane world, Bud Day’s remarks would be judged for their accuracy: some Muslims are indeed doing what he said, and to claim offense and pretend that he was tarring all Muslims is just more CAIR victimology. Of course, if it weren’t effective, they wouldn’t do it. Here once again, the attention is on Day’s “gaffe,” not where it should be: on the accuracy of his remarks and the activities of jihadists in the U.S. and around the world.
Col. Bud Day riled Muslim leaders with the remarks made in a conference call with reporters arranged by the Republican Party of Florida on McCain’s behalf.
He added: “I don’t intend to kneel and I don’t advocate to anybody that we kneel, and John doesn’t advocate to anybody that we kneel.”
McCain’s presidential campaign wouldn’t comment. A Republican Party spokeswoman said later that Day acknowledged he misspoke and ”made an unfortunate mistake” because he meant to say ”terrorists” and not “Muslims.”
Of course. Because as everyone knows, the terrorists aren’t Muslims. They’re Methodists. And they aren’t acting in the name of Islam and according to Islamic teachings. Rather, they’re acting according to the teachings of John Wesley.
Muslim leaders and Arab-American groups quickly denounced the ”bigoted” comments by Day, a Pensacola resident, Medal of Honor recipient and member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attack machine from 2004.
”This is as close to racist as it gets. These are cheap street tactics,” said Khaled Saffuri, who helped organize Arab outreach for President Bush’s 2000 campaign but is now a Libertarian. “Even if this is called a mistake or a slip of the tongue, it shows a bigger problem with racism. McCain and the Republican party should denounce this.”
Kenneth Timmerman wrote in 2004: “Saffuri’s ties to radical Islamists and apologists for terror are neither superficial nor coincidental.”
”It’s perpetuating a form of Islam-ophobia,” said Saif Ishoof, a Miami Republican and president of the Center for Voter Advocacy, a nonpartisan group in Florida that educates Muslims about the political process.
Day’s gaffe on Muslims adds to what the community describes as a sweeping backlash from many directions. Many leaders complain that they have been vilified as terrorists since the Sept. 11 attacks launched by a segment of radical extremists who don’t represent the 1.1 billion Muslims worldwide. […]
Muslim leaders say there are about seven million Muslims in the United States, but other estimates put the size of the community around 2.5 million. The founder of the American Arab Institute, James Zogby, said Thursday that the ”rhetoric” of Bush and McCain have furthered misunderstanding of Muslims by frequently pairing ”Islam” and the words ”terrorist” and ”fascism” in stump speeches.
Once again, the fact that Muslims themselves are furthering these “misunderstandings” by committing acts of violence and justifying them by reference to Islamic teaching goes utterly ignored, as if it were only Bush and McCain (and their “Islamophobic” advisers) who are responsible for linking Islam with terrorism.
But as for calling Obama a Muslim, Zogby said, Democrat Hillary Clinton’s supporters bear some of the blame.
”I got those e-mails. I saw them. They were nasty,” Zogby said. ‘They try to sow suspicion and fear by saying: `We don’t know him. He’s not one of us.’ The insult is to all American Muslims. To use ‘Muslim’ as the the ultimate slur does real damage here and abroad. And it’s bigoted.”
That wasn’t Day’s intent, said Republican Party of Florida spokeswoman Katie Gordon.
‘Clearly, he did not intend to alienate the Muslim community in any way. He was talking about terrorists. He mistakenly used the word `Muslim,’ ” Gordon said. “That was 30 seconds of a 30-minute call in which he talked eloquently about his and the senator’s experience in the war and the senator’s leadership qualities.”
He didn’t mean it! Please don’t hurt us!