“Ben Carson and Donald Trump — you are no George W. Bush. And neither are you, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker,” whines David Haynes of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
JS online Six days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which were perpetrated by Muslim extremists, President George W. Bush went to the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., to give a speech (see video below). Concern was rising among Muslims about reprisal attacks, and Bush tried to tamp down the raw emotions as the ruins of the Twin Towers lay smoldering at Ground Zero.
“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,” the president said. “That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.” Bush led Americans to higher ground — it was one of his finest moments as president. But some Republican candidates now insist on leading us into the muck.
Carson told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” last week that he couldn’t support putting a Muslim “in charge of this nation” even though the Constitution is blind on religion.
Trump smilingly played along with a supporter at a New Hampshire town hall meeting who told the real estate baron that “we have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.” The man also claimed President Barack Obama is Muslim and parroted a common meme among the right-wing fringe about supposed terrorist “training camps” in the U.S. “We need this question,” Trump said with a chuckle.
Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor, has warned that Muslims are trying to establish Sharia law in “no-go zones” in western nations, a widely ridiculed notion that even Fox News distanced itself from.
Mike Huckabee has claimed Obama coddles Muslims. “The one group of people that can know they have his undying, unfailing support would be the Muslim community,” the former Arkansas governor said.
And Scott Walker, who quit the race this week amid a cash crunch, declined earlier this year to say whether he thought Obama was Christian — “I’ve never asked him that,” he said.
— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) August 22, 2015
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas gave a similar answer last week, a politically cute wink-and-a-nod that leaves open the possibility that people who believe such rubbish will think you believe it, too.
Marginalizing Islam in these ways is crass and cynical. It is pandering to a slice of Republican voters who are worried about Islamic extremism but aren’t making a clear distinction between terrorists and the vast majority of American Muslims who love their country and abhor violence committed in the name of their faith.
Republicans or those who lean Republican have far more negative views of Muslims than do Democrats, according to a survey conducted last year by the Pew Research Center. Republicans rated Muslims about the same as atheists and far lower than any other religious group.
In a Gallup poll this month, 54% of those identifying as Republicans said they wouldn’t vote for a Muslim for president. A PPP poll from August found that 54% of Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim. No surprise: The Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage” blog found a strong connection between Trump’s support and a belief that Obama is lying about being a Christian.
BNI Readers will recognize the man standing directly behind Bush as Nihad Awad of designated terrorist group CAIR.