Republican Debate or Fanaticism?

Muslim Matters

Republican Debate or Fanaticism?

Republican Presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo, John Cox, Ron Paul (L-R) stand on stage during the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, August 11, 2007. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)

By Rashad Jafer

The Republican debate on Sunday the 5th of August, gave me the chills. As a Muslim American of Pakistani descent, the anti Muslim comments made were deafening. Half the time, it seems, was spent on calling the Muslims, “Jihadists”, “Islam-O-fascists” and “Islamists”, terms that do not exist in a dictionary and their sole purpose was to create hatred, racism and bigotry against a religion in the American community.

Senator McCain called it a “generational” war against an ideology that would last till the next century, Governor Romney asserted that the Islamic World needs to be changed to fit the Western standards and Mayor Guiliani was most vocal and exclaimed that the “Jihadists” and the “Islam-0-fascists” have to be eliminated. Rep. Tancerdo stood by his statement that bombing Mecca and Medina would be justifiable in his war against terror. Governors Huckabee and Thompson were equally arrogant and suggested that there should be no “appeasement” of Muslims.

The “Lone Ranger” was Ron Paul, an obvious irritant to his peers, totally disagreed with the other’s rhetoric and insisted that the war was a mistake and should be immediately stopped.

Average Americans do not talk or think like that. They are extremely cordial, understanding, respectful and willing to learn about new cultures and religions. Similarly, The Muslim Americans are gracefully assimilated in the fabric of America. They are doctors, engineers, lawyers, business owners, and teachers and live, breathe and bleed like anyone else. Just visit a hospital, an engineering firm, a school or any other business and you will find and appreciate the Muslim American. And just like any other, they have their “bad apples” that need to be dealt with according to law-not more, not less.

So why are our leaders so “Radical?” Is talking and reaching out to the worst of our instincts important to them? Is creating hatred amongst the masses their goal, or is this a continuation of religious bigotry? What is the difference between Osama Bin Laden hating the West and Guiliani hating the Muslims? The terminology used by the Republican leaders is the same as used by the terrorists.

The need to appear “strong” or “tough” or “resolute” does not mean getting down to the same level of inhumane tactics or civility. For God’s sake Americans are different! This is “One Nation under God with liberty and Justice for All”. Muslim Americans are part of “We the People of the United States…” and are “building a more Perfect Union” and Islam teaches them to “Establish Justice….”

Our leaders seem to have forgotten the building blocks of our nation. There is a fine line between civility and barbarism. That line has been crossed by the enemy; it seems that our leaders, on Sunday, crossed the line too.

Rashad Jafer


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