An anti-Muslim witch hunt in the U.S. Congress and conspiracy theories on Bulgaria attack
Michele Bachmann launches a campaign reminiscent of the McCarthy era; an interview in Russia Today suggests that Israel was behind the bombing that killed 5 of its citizens this week.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, some conservative ideologists who specialized in bashing the Communist menace were baffled: What were they going to do next? Luckily, the opening of the Soviet archives proved that some of those suspected of being communist spies had spied indeed, which brought some consolation that the witch hunt hadn't been all in vain.
When Senator Joe McCarthy died on May 1957 in Bethesda Naval Hospital, he was far from being the most popular man in America. But it turns out that McCarthy's spirit lives on, though the communists were replaced by the radical Muslims as the enemies of state.
Last month, five congressmen, including conservative Congresswoman Michele Bachman (who dropped out of the presidential race around the very beginning of the primaries) sent a letter to the Department of State Deputy Inspector General, with copies to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, raising concerns about the alleged influence of "individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood" on the Obama administration's policies.
The letter focused personally on Huma Abedin (37), Secretary Clinton's longtime trusted aide, who happens to be Muslim, and is married to the Jewish former congressman Anthony Weiner. According to the letter, Abedin has three family members who are supposedly connected to the Muslim Brotherhood (including her late Indian-born father), and "her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policymaking.”
Among the State Department decisions mentioned in the letter mentions are "engaging" the Muslim Brotherhood and releasing U.S. aid to Egypt, despite the Egyptian government's demonstrated hostility toward American NGOs.
The letter drew much criticism, including from House Speaker John Boehner, who called the accusations against Abedin “dangerous,” and Republican Senator John McCain, who defended Abedin in a fervent floor speech, saying that "these attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now.”
On Thursday, Rep. Bachmann found another target - Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Bachmann also accused him of being associated with the Muslim Brotherhood – a claim which Ellison denied.
The moves were criticized by American-Jewish organizations. The Anti-Defamation League sent five congressmen a letter, calling their actions "irresponsible".
“Members of Congress have an essential role to play in raising legitimate concerns about threats to America’s security from international terrorist groups. Those efforts should not be tainted by the kind of stereotyping and prejudice that has too frequently accompanied the public debate … We strongly urge you to reconsider your allegations and to refrain from promoting or trafficking in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories in the future,” the letter read.
National Jewish Democratic Council President and CEO David A. Harris called the accusations "repugnant in the extreme."
"Like so many others," Harris wrote, "I'm forced to make the assumption that top State Department aide Huma Abedin's faith and heritage are what's motivating these attacks, since there are zero facts in evidence - as Sen. John McCain has rightly noted. This is part and parcel of the most base GOP obsession of late with the supposed 'danger' of Muslims in America. As a Jew and a member of a fellow minority faith community, I know that it has to stop, and I know the lurking danger herein."
Last month, the House Homeland Security Committee held yet another hearing on "Radicalization Within the Muslim Community." This time, representatives of the Muslim-American community were present, and provided their perspective on the controversial hearings. Some of them were openly supportive of it, admitting that the Muslim-American community is reluctant to talk about the problem, which is very real. Others expressed concern about the way it was done.
Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said at the hearing that "the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are outstanding Americans. Yet the reality is that the Islamist terror threat comes from that community and, as a recent Pew poll demonstrated, 16 percent of Muslim Americans have a favorable or only somewhat unfavorable view of al-Qaida. That adds up to almost 440,000 people who are living in this country. Also, part of a Pew poll showed that 5 percent of Muslim Americans actually have a favorable view of al-Qaida, and that would come to more that 150,000 Americans who are living in this country. That is why we have held a series of hearings and why we will not back down."
On Friday, President Barack Obama greeted Muslim Americans on the occasion of Ramadan, adding that "here in the United States, Ramadan reminds us that Islam is part of the fabric of our Nation, and that—from public service to business, from healthcare and science to the arts—Muslim Americans help strengthen our country and enrich our lives".
What do you know? The first reaction to this note on my Twitter was: "These are all lies of course from a president kissing the enemies ass AGAIN".
In an age of uncertainty, it's tempting to delve into conspiracies theories. The problem is that when it becomes a norm, no one should be surprised when an "expert" interviewed on TV channel "Russia Today" hints that Israel was the one that organized the terrorist attack against its own citizens in Bulgaria (Quote: "I can’t say for certainty that Israel was behind this or that this was a false flag attack, but I only look at who gains by this operation judging from their past behavior. And to me it does not make sense that Iran would want to carry out this operation.")