Larry Smith, Army veteran and former Drug Enforcement Administration agent running for congress in Smith County, Texas, has a unique plank in his platform: He has pledged to protect this deep-red border county from the creeping menace of Islamic religious law, or Sharia.
Caller South Texas congressional candidate Larry Smith forged his views on Iraq as an Army captain training Iraqi security forces and fighting insurgents. Wounded in the streets of Bagdad, the Republican challenger in the 34th District race said he doesn’t suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Neither is he plagued by guilt about his experiences in a 14-month tour in Iraq beginning in 2004.
“It was rough, and they really made it easy to kill them,” Smith said during a June visit to Washington. “I really dislike who these people are.” Smith was proud to help get rid of reviled dictator Saddam Hussein, but Iraq, now in crisis, isn’t ready for democracy and will be stable only as a dictatorship, Smith said. He didn’t come away from Iraq with a high opinion of Arab culture.
Repelled and mystified at times while deployed with the Second Brigade, First Cavalry Division, Smith and his fellow soldiers had a saying, “This is your brain on Arab.” It meant they couldn’t understand something like an elderly man riding a donkey while an elderly woman walked behind lugging a bag of rice, a herd of goats eating garbage in the streets in lieu of trash pickup, or an 8-year-old girl who exposed herself and made lewd faces at Smith.
He asked his Iraqi interpreter if the girl’s father was prostituting her. The interpreter explained daughters are seen as financial burdens until they are 12 and husband material — and yes, the girl’s father was prostituting her, Smith said. He said he was repelled by the Muslim religion and religious law.
“They talk about Islam being a religion of peace and understanding. It absolutely is not. It is horrendously oppressive to children and women,” Smith said. “This is a war on women.” A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations called Smith’s views “bigoted and extremist.”
WND Mustafa Carroll, executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth CAIR branch, says:
Muslims living in America should not be bound by U.S. law, according to a leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who delivered the controversial message to a crowd at a Muslim rally in Austin, Texas. “If we are practicing Muslims, we are above the law of the land,” said Mustafa Carroll, executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth CAIR branch.
According to the event website, Muslims from around Texas went to the Texas capitol to “promote civic and political activism throughout the wider Muslim community.” The organizers said one major issue discussed “was the recent House and Senate bill proposals involving the implementation of ‘anti-Shariah’ legislation, where the First Amendment rights and freedoms of Muslims would ultimately be hindered.” Critics argue Shariah prohibits other faiths from free exercise of religion when enforced, giving freedom only to Muslims.
Carroll’s statement was similar to a statement allegedly made by CAIR co-founder and former chairman Omar M. Ahmad. He was paraphrased by a reporter saying, Carroll is on record defending Hamas, classified by the U.S. as a terrorist group.
“To make sweeping condemnations of the Arab culture or the faith of one-fifth of the world’s population is just something beyond the pale,” said Ibrahim ‘Dougie’ Hooper, of CAIR, a Muslim advocacy organization. “It’s really unworthy of any public official or candidate.” Time and again, CAIR has called on Republican leaders to repudiate Islamophobia in their ranks, Hooper said.
Smith hopes to unseat U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, and the challenger’s military background is reflected on his campaign website, which says: “When we were overseas, we risked our lives for the sake of American families. How much different is politics from combat?” Medically retired from the Army, Smith was awarded a Purple Heart.
When he sees news about the onslaught on the Shiite-dominated government’s forces from Sunni rebels calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Smith might spot the uniforms he picked out for the Iraqi security forces. Smith was reserving judgment on why these forces, far outnumbering ISIL, hadn’t fought harder to fend off the terrorists. He didn’t do the same for lawmakers’ responsibility.
Smith said “rather than waiting for it to fall apart to do something about it,” lawmakers should have taken preventive action. He said he believes the Obama administration failed in Iraq and, through neglect, tossed away sacrifices made by veterans.
In response to ISIL, President Barack Obama has authorized fewer than 1,000 troops to protect the U.S. Embassy, act as military advisers to government forces and perform other duties in Iraq not including combat, although they can defend themselves.