Via Justin Elliott, Greg Sargent and Tim Fernholz, the aforementioned Republican members of Congress are incensed that the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a lobby group for the American Muslim community, would … lobby Congress. They’ve ordered the House sergeant-at-arms to investigate whether CAIR “is connected to or supports terrorists [and] is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related offices.” The group has no actual evidence any such thing is happening aside from a book published by birther Website WorldNetDaily. Let’s call this what it is: bigotry.
It’s worth remembering that this sort of hysteria from GOPers is nothing new. In 2006, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), then the chairman of the House intelligence committee, publicly asserted without any evidence that al-Qaeda had infiltrated the CIA. He paid no price for such an incendiary charge. You can apparently say these sorts of things if you’re a Republican.
Not only is this shameful stereotyping of millions of law-abiding Americans McCarthyite and un-American, it’s actively counterproductive to real vigilance against terrorism. Fernholz:
These four fools have lined up to say they think any Muslim who might want to peacefully advocate their interests should be investigated for terrorist connections, simply by dint of their religion, which could send the message to Muslim Americans that they aren’t welcome in the democratic process. I hope that isn’t the result of these misguided demands for an investigation. Muslim Americans deserve to have their civil rights respected and should be encouraged to exercise their privilege of participating in our government.
In 2005 I spent months researching and writing a long piece about how American religious tolerance and liberal openness to persecuted minorities had allowed the U.S. to avoid the radicalization of Muslims occurring in Europe. Weakening that prophylactic on the strength of slanders sponsored by the same people who say President Obama is not an American is beneath the dignity of anyone who professes loyalty to the Constitution.