Conservatives and members of the Tea Party movement are ratcheting up their rhetoric against Muslims and the religion of Islam.
Last week National Public Radio fired longtime news analyst Juan Williams after comments he made during a discussion with Bill O'Reilly on Monday's "O'Reilly Factor." O'Reilly asked Williams if he had been in the wrong during his now-infamous appearance on "The View" last week.
O'Reilly's statement that "Muslims killed us on 9/11" caused Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to walk off the set in anger.Â Williams replied that he thought O'Reilly had, in fact, been right.
"I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
In May 2010 Tea Party activist-blogger Pamela Geller,Â called Islam "the religion of barbarism" that "inspired Hitler and the Nazis." Geller has used her blog to assail this religion. She has claimed that President Barack Obama is â€œa muhammadanâ€¦who wants jihad to win" and recently posted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as a pig with the words "Piss Be Upon Him," as CAIR cites in its statement on Geller. She is scheduled to present the Tea Partiers a lecture on the "Threat of Islam."
Sarah Palin chosen by Republican Party presidential candidate John McCain in August 2008 to be his running mate in that year's presidential election also added to the the anit-Islamic rhetoric.Â In a Twitter message earlier this year, Sarah Palin displayed her lack of command of the English language when she coined a new word, calling on American Muslims to "refudiate" a planned mosque near the World Trade Center site.
"Ground Zero mosque supporters, doesn't it stab you in the heart as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, please refudiate."
Now another Tea Party official is brewing up a storm over comments suggesting a congressman is unfit to serve because he is Muslim.
Judson Phillips, who heads up the Tea Party Nation group, sent out a letter last weekend taking aim at Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim and Democrat from Minnesota.
"He is the only Muslim member of Congress. He supports the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Hamas and has helped Congress send millions of tax dollars to terrorists in Gaza," Phillips wrote in support of Ellison's opponent, Republican Lynne Torgerson.
Many polls show that the majority of Americans disagree with NPR's firing of news analyst Juan Williams over his anti-Muslim comments.Â Some polls report that the percentage is as high as 85%.
What is your opinion?Â Are Republicans and the Tea Party movement using this data to shore up thier base?Â Will the alienation of Muslim Americans prove to be a deciding factor in the upcoming mid-term elections?
Â©2010 by Lloyd Cope for Gather.comÂ All rights reserved