Bachmann, Bill Maher defend Muslim hearings
Rep. Michele Bachmann defended Rep. Peter King’s investigations into homegrown terrorism among America’s Muslim communities on Saturday just hours before one of her vocal critics seemed to agree with her. On his show, Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher interviewed Rep. Keith Ellison and said that terrorists from an Islamic background present “a unique and greater threat” than right-wing terrorists such as militias and anti-abortion activists. Ellison said Maher is “coming to the wrong conclusions.”
On Saturday, Boston’s Talk 1200 radio host Jeff Katz spoke with Bachmann about New York Rep. King’s hearings on “radicalization” among Muslims in America and Rep. Keith Ellison’s emotional testimony against the hearing. Bachmann said a “veneer of political correctness” was putting the nation in jeopardy, and Katz claimed that Ellison was “pretending to cry” during the testimony last week.
“Let’s talk about the hearings that congressman King is having,” Katz said. “I think it’s a reasonable, common sense approach to this, but you have this Keith Ellison pretending to cry; he’s a hero, I just don’t get it.”
To that, Bachmann said, “Well, I think a lot of people get it; they see through the hearings and they want to see our country be safe.”
She added, “What’s really been a tragedy is applying a veneer of political correctness to national security and also the issue of terrorism in general.”
She talked about the slaying of two American servicemembers in Germany and a Saudi Arabian student in Dallas who was building a bomb, both within the last two months.
“If we don’t understand that there are Sharia-compliant terrorists in our midst, if we purposefully and intentionally fail to understand our enemy, we will make ourselves more vulnerable,” she said.
Bachmann did hint a bit at whether she was running for president, saying she “isn’t in and isn’t out,” and offered this pledge: “I tell you one thing, if I was ever to run for President of the United States, I think the first thing I would do in the first debate is offer my birth certificate so we can get that off the table.”
The same day, Ellison appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, where Maher made statements similar to Bachman’s.
Ellison said he came to Islam after meeting Muslims in college while working on social justice issues.
“We need to have respect for people who are believers and those who are nonbelievers,” Ellison said, noting the need for pluralism in faith debates and public policy.
Maher then talked about Islam and terrorism. “I would say that the threat from radicalized Muslims is a unique and greater threat” than that posed by anti-abortion activists such as Scott Roeder, who killed Dr. George Tiller, or right-wing bomber Timothy McVeigh.
“There is obviously something going on that they’re getting from the Koran,” he said.
“You are casting a very wide net and coming to the wrong conclusions,” Ellison said. On the Koran, he said that “it is easy to take things out of context.”
Maher said, “I’ve heard this many times, and I don’t buy it.”
“Like any ideologue, they will take things out of context to do what they want to do,” Ellison said, adding that many terrorists “cite political grievances; they don’t use too much religion.”
He said many Muslims, like himself, oppose terrorism based on the teachings of Islam.
Maher, who is an atheist, has frequently bashed Bachmann, an evangelical Christian, on his show and his columns. On the Muslim investigations, it seems that the agree.