“The only news is that it’s no longer news that a Republican lawmaker spews anti-Muslim bigotry,” said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Hooper was referring to the fact that state Senator Kevin Grantham, a Cañon City Republican, recently said he saw merit in a proposal put forward by lightning-rod Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders that lawmakers should ban any future mosque construction in the state.
“You have to understand the scene,” Hooper told the Colorado Independent. “The theory in these anti-Muslim circles is that Islam is not a religion, that it’s a political ideology, so U.S. laws protecting the expression of religion don’t apply.
“Wilders is not a ‘controversial figure,’” Hooper said. “He’s a straight-up bigot. There’s no controversy about it. Yet he’s invited everywhere. He’s on Fox with Hannity. It’s sad but it’s not news that Republicans [like Grantham] embrace him.”
Wilders appeared as a featured speaker at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver last week. Wilders has long campaigned to ban immigration from Muslim countries to the Netherlands and to outlaw mosque building in the country. He has compared the Koran with Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and has lobbied to have the book banned in the Netherlands.
“If we do not stop the Islamization, we will lose everything: our identity, our culture, our democratic constitutional state, our freedom, and our civilization,” Wilders told the Summit crowd.
Wilders was introduced by former Colorado Senate President John Andrews, who now heads Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, the sponsor of the Summit. Andrews told the crowd of roughly 1,000 that Islam posed an “existential threat” to the United States.
Grantham said he agreed with Wilders that mosques are not primarily religious buildings.
“Mosques are not churches like we would think of churches,” he told the Colorado Statesman. “[Muslims] think of mosques more as a foothold into a society, as a foothold into a community, more in the cultural and in the nationalistic sense. Our churches — we don’t feel that way, they’re places of worship, and mosques are simply not that, and we need to take that into account when approving construction of those.”
Hooper said it’s laughable to put stock in what lawmakers like Grantham say about Islam. It would be better to ignore such comments, he said, if they weren’t so harmful.
“Where do they get the information?” he asked. “It’s this perfect storm of Islamophobia. The Tea Party voters watching the population of the United States change. White people becoming a minority. You see it in the absurd accusations that President Obama is a Muslim.
“It’s not American, that way of seeing. It’s so harmful to relations among people of different faiths.”
'2nd Amendment Remedies'
During Nevada's 2010 Senate election, an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/16/sharron-angle-floated-2nd_n_614003.html" target="_hplink">audio clip</a> surfaced of Sharron Angle <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/sharron_angle_floated_possibil.html" target="_hplink">raising</a> "Second Amendment remedies" as a viable solution to take when "government becomes out of control." The Tea Party-backed hopeful ultimately proved unsuccessful in her campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
'I Do Not Wear High Heels'
Ken Buck, a Tea Party-backed contender who ultimately fell short in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado, made headlines in 2010 when he <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/21/ken-buck-vote-for-me-beca_n_654990.html" target="_hplink">quipped</a> that people should vote for him "because I do not wear high heels."
'I Am Not A Witch'
Christine O'Donnell <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/04/christine-odonnell-witch-ad_n_750140.html" target="_hplink">captured headlines</a> in 2010 with a now-infamous campaign ad in which she tells voters, "I'm not a witch." She says, "I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you." O'Donnell was defeated in her campaign for Senate in Delaware by Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.
Scientists For Creationism?
Rep. Michele Bachmann <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Damah0KH-Co&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">said</a> in October of 2006, "There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design."
Democrats = Communists?
HuffPost's Jen Bendery <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/allen-west-democrats-communist-party_n_1417279.html" target="_hplink">reported</a> in April of this year: <blockquote>As many as 80 House Democrats are communists, according to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.). West warned constituents at a Tuesday town hall event that he's "heard" that dozens of his Democratic colleagues in the House are members of the Communist Party, the <em>Palm Beach Post</em> <a href=" http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/allen-west-hears-cheers-jeers-at-town-hall-2295766.html?cxtype=rss_news" target="_hplink">reported</a>. There are currently 190 House Democrats. West spokeswoman Angela Melvin later defended West's comments -- and clarified to whom West was referring. "The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies. The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren't proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom," Melvin said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
Welfare Prison Dorms?
The AP <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/22/carl-paladino-backs-welfa_n_690284.html" target="_hplink">reported</a> in August of 2010 on then-New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino: <blockquote>Throughout his campaign, Paladino has criticized New York's rich menu of social service benefits, which he says encourages [undocumented] immigrants and needy people to live in the state. He has promised a 20 percent reduction in the state budget and a 10 percent income tax cut if elected. Asked at the meeting how he would achieve those savings, Paladino laid out several plans that included converting underused state prisons into centers that would house welfare recipients. There, they would do work for the state - "military service, in some cases park service, in other cases public works service," he said - while prison guards would be retrained to work as counselors. "Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes," Paladino said. ... Paladino told The Associated Press the dormitory living would be voluntary, not mandatory, and would give welfare recipients an opportunity to take public, state-sponsored jobs far from home. "These are beautiful properties with basketball courts, bathroom facilities, toilet facilities. Many young people would love to get the hell out of cities," Paladino he said. He also defended his hygiene remarks, saying he had trained inner-city troops in the Army and knows their needs. "You have to teach them basic things - taking care of themselves, physical fitness. In their dysfunctional environment, they never learned these things," he said.</blockquote>