Ghoneim Talks about Bachmann's 'Absurd' Witch Hunt Against Muslims

August 23, 2012

MPAC Iowa's Shams Ghoneim talks about Rep. Michele Bachmann's witch hunt against American Muslims in her op-ed "U.S. Politicians Keep Engaging in Muslim Witch Hunts" that was published in the Press-Citizen.

 "Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has been calling for investigations into what she called the supposed “infiltration” of the U.S. government by “fundamentalist Muslims.” What she is really calling for in an absurd and shameful witch hunt that would make Sen. Joe McCarthy proud.

Last month, Bachmann and four other members of Congress sent a letter to the inspectors general of the Department of Justice, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence making baseless claims that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the U.S. government through organizations — including the Muslim Public Affairs Council, for which I am the coordinator of the Iowa chapter — and individuals who are working in the government.

Bachmann and her colleagues — Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, Rep. Thomas Rooney of Florida and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia — are basing their claims on evidence that is questionable at best.

In a 16-page follow-up letter sent to the inspectors general, Bachmann provided “evidence” for her claims that came from Frank Gaffney, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls one of the nation’s top Islamophobes.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is to be commended for taking the issue to the Senate floor and condemning Bachmann’s witch hunt.

“When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it,” McCain said.

Bachmann’s fellow Minnesotan, Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison, took the airwaves and demanded evidence for the accusations of Bachmann and others.

How far will these political figures go to malign and falsely accuse American Muslims and respected Muslim organizations?

Any members of Congress making these baseless accusations have breached the trust of the public they serve. They must be held responsible by the media and, most importantly, by their constituents.

We are amid a highly spirited and contentious presidential election year. These members of Congress — with politically motivated and opportunistic intentions — chose to bash American Muslims and to spread fear mongering against a minority religion. They are using such dangerous tactics to unseat the president by alleging his administration’s failure in protecting our national interest and security.

The situation brings the words of World War II-era German pastor Martin Niemoelle to mind: “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Americans across faith communities must stand firm and stay alert to such divisive, dangerous, politically motivated and opportunistic attempts by some politicians to divide and conquer."

We need to remember Niemoelle, that brave Christian leader decades ago, or risk having history repeat itself again.



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