Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Craziest Republican of the Day: Allen West

Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a newly-elected member who has loudly scapegoated Muslims and campaigned on a promise to oppose religious diversity, appeared on Frank Gaffney's radio program last week. Gaffney, who routinely says that Obama is both a secret Muslim and a member of the "Muslim Brotherhood," asked West about how the new Republican Congress plans to "take on Sharia as the enemy threat doctrine?"

West said that, although he has not spoken with all of the new members, he hoped that Congress would focus on the "infiltration of the Sharia practice into all of our operating systems in our country as well as across Western civilization." He explained that targeting Sharia should be part of America's "national security strategy" and that a response to Sharia would somehow include "tailor[ing]" American "security systems, our political systems, economic systems, our cultural and educational systems, so that we can thwart this."

Thwart what? A completely fabricated threat?

(Seriously, what would George Orwell make of this? It's like we're in the world of 1984, with the totalitarian state essentially sustaining itself on conspiracy theories designed to distract the citizenry into targeting whatever Other the state claims is the enemy. Let's call it Republican Bolshevism.) 

Simply put, there is no Sharia threat to American society. Muslims are not trying to impose Sharia law on America, nor even in their own communities.

Indeed, if there's a danger of the imposition of intolerant and bloodthirsty theocratic rule in America today, it comes not from Muslims (the vast majority of whom accept and abide by the American legal system, not a fundamentalist Islamic system, and are as fully of separating their faith from secular law as any Christian or Jew) but from those on the right (including West) who seek to impose Christian fundamentalism (akin to Islamic fundamentalism) on the country, if not on the rest of the world.

There is the real danger to the Constitution and to the American way of life, not Muslims, a distinct minority that, made up mostly of new Americans, wants only to fit in and peacefully live the American Dream. 

So what is this, then? Does West really believe that the threat is real?

Yes, maybe so. While there is a good deal of political cynicism and manipulation on the right, I suspect that many conservatives really do believe their own propaganda.

But this is bigotry, plain and simple, with Muslims targeted as the Other (just as undocumented Mexicans so often are). It's the politics of division, of discrimination, of hate. And it's an extremely potent force in today's America, with the economy struggling, with the world changing, with America's future uncertain.

History, of course, is littered with the remains of such official, state-sanctioned bigotry, not to mention with the bodies of those who have died as a result of it, and the Republicans, taking over the House, are making it their own as they seek to feed, and capitalize electorally on, the culture of fear.

We are in the midst of an ugly chapter in American history, and the ugliness is only going to get worse.

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  • A Pennsylvania judge threw out an assault case involving a Muslim attacking an atheist for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

    Judge Martin threw the case out on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence, refusing to allow a grainy video of the incident to be entered in. But then he suggested to the victim that his muslim assaulter was obligated to attack him because of his culture and religion. Judge Martin stated that the First Amendment of the Constitution does not permit people to provoke other people. He also called the victim a "doofus."

    In effect, blaming the victim as being the perpetrator of the assault.

    The Sharia law that the Muslim attacker followed trumped the First Amendment.

    Words almost fail.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:23 AM  

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