By Bill Bird
|File: Moon Khan|
U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh remains steadfast in his conviction that â€œradical Islamâ€ threatens the American way of life â€” a view the controversial congressman again expressed to an unhappy group of Muslim constituents Friday night.
Moon Khan, a Republican Party precinct committeeman in DuPage County and member of the York Township board of trustees, was one of about 80 people who attended an â€œintenseâ€ meeting with Walsh Friday night in the back yard of Khanâ€™s home in Lombard.
â€œIt was a very, very intense meeting, and he did not change his mind,â€ Khan later said of Walsh.
The meeting was called after Walsh alleged there is â€œa radical stream of Islamâ€ in the U.S. that threatens the lives of Americans â€” including residents of Addison, Elgin and Elk Grove â€” at a townhall meeting in Elk Grove.
At the meeting Friday night, Khan said members of the local Muslim community â€œare young, American-born-and-raised individuals who share the American dream of a life of liberty, peace and the pursuit of happiness. They are your teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, policemen and hard-working Americans that are productive members of society …â€
â€œYour recent speeches have created catalogues of issues for the Muslim community,â€ Khan told Walsh, according to a transcript of his remarks.
â€œWe want to ask the congressman why he is the only person who sees the ghost of radical Muslims everywhere. Why did not his colleague, Congressman Peter Roskam … raise such alarm? We did not hear such warnings from U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, not to mention the Democratic members of Congress. You are running the idea up the flag, and nobody is saluting it.â€
â€œWe would also like to know if you found any radical Muslim in this gathering. If yes, please tell us, how did you detect that? Do you have a device like a metal detector that you rotate around and find Muslim radicals?â€
Khan said he and others â€œare here to pick up the stones that have been thrown at us by the congressman, and turn them into the milestones of tolerance.â€
Khan later said it appeared Walsh during the meeting â€œwas kind of trying to defend himself about what he has been saying in the media. He was trying to clarify that he is just talking about a tiny, tiny percentageâ€ of people with the â€œradical Muslimâ€ agenda, Khan said.
â€œBut [Walsh] said that he did not want to apologize … and just defended himself,â€ Khan said. â€œHe said he did not want to hurt people and he does not hate the Muslim community, and he was just raising the question.â€
Walsh spokeswoman Erin Rapp said Friday night she was sorry Khan felt the way he did.
â€œThe congressman is glad he brought everyone together, but he has nothing to apologize for,â€ Rapp said. â€œHe implores all Muslim Americans to condemn radical Islam.â€
Walsh also issued a prepared statement, in which he said he â€œthought it was important for me to reach out and meet with concerned Muslim Americans in my district to discuss the threat that the radical strain of Islam poses to all of us …â€
â€œWhile this issue brings heated emotions from both sides, I was happy to hear their thoughts and concerns,â€ Walsh said. â€œIt affirmed my belief that the vast â€” vast â€” majority of American Muslims are peace-loving, patriotic citizens.
â€œHowever, there is still a radical strain of Islam within our country, Attorney General Eric Holder has said it, [Homeland Security Director] Janet Napolitano has said it, and I will not back down, and will continue to say that it is a major threat to our safety and security.
â€œThus, after tonightâ€™s meeting, I stand by my original statement that while the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are as peace-loving as everyone else, there are radical Islamists, right here in the United States trying to kill Americans and destroy this country.â€
August 24, 2012
TEXT OF MOON KHANâ€™S SPEECH
Honorable Congressman Joe Walsh, leaders of the community, citizens of the 8th congressional district, ladies and gentleman.
On behalf of the organizers of this event, I warmly welcome you and the members of the local Muslim American community. They are young American-born and raised individuals who share the American dream of peaceful life, liberty, peace, and the pursuit of happiness. They are your teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, policemen, and hard-working Americans that are productive members of the society, which represents the 21st century and also the face of the world in the new millennium. These are your neighbors who live in your district and registered to vote.
Your recent speeches have created catalogues of issues for the Muslim community. I will highlight only a few. Subsequent speakers will itemize them later.
We hope that you listen to those reactions carefully and respectfully and try to respond to those issues without dodging them. At the end of your speech, we want to hear from you if this meeting helped you in understanding the Muslim community in a better way. We would also like to know if you found any radical Muslim in this gathering. If yes, please tell us, how did you detect that? Do you have a device like a metal detector that you rotate around and find Muslim radicals? Does this device work on only Muslims or does it have a universal use? Last but important, are you going to stay away from the hateful remarks and would you like to make any conciliatory gesture toward the Muslim community? By doing so, you will not only win the hearts of the grieving people, you will also save the face of the Republican Party of DuPage County, which does not harbor any animosity like yours toward local Muslims.
In the same spirit, I will request the members of this gathering to demonstrate your Islamic attitude of tolerance. We are not here to play the game of tit for tat or an eye for an eye, which will make all of us blind.
After me, there will be a few more speakers. There will be a pause of 10 minutes for the Maghrib prayer. Honorable Congressman will deliver his speech after the prayer. His speech will be followed by a brief Q&A session. Questions should be written down on index papers and given to the moderator. In order to save time, only those questions will be read out that highlight the Issues that have not been raised by the speakers and responses that have not been given by the Congressman. Nobody will be allowed to heckle or show disrespect to the Congressman. He is our guest. Please respect the etiquette required.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to pick up the stones that have been thrown at us by the congressman and turn them into the milestones of tolerance.
Our goal is and should be to make America great for all of us and for our future generation.
Yes, we are agitated but we will remain disciplined, we are hurt but we chose to be stoic. We need to put facts in front of the congressman and see if he wants to be ignorant or enlightened. Our diversity will show him that we do not come in a FedEx box, in one size; we do not belong to a particular color, or race or language or odor. We are as diverse as Baskin Robins 31 flavors of ice cream. We are not a few, but a lot. We are active and not sedated by fear. We are not scared but outraged.
We want to ask the congressman why he is the only person who sees the ghost of radical Muslims everywhere. Why not his colleague Congressman Peter Roskam did not raise such alarm? We did not hear such warnings from US Senator Mark Kirk, not to mention the Democratic members of Congress. You are running the idea up the flag, and nobody is saluting it.
According to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, there are NO radical cells in Elgin, Elk Grove, and Addison as you claim. We know you serve on the Homeland Security Committee, but we have our insider information too. If you had intelligence on radical cells, you should have immediately reported it to the FBI, local law enforcement, DHS, etc.; rather than to citizens at large at some gathering at some town hall meeting. Are you the most patriotic person is the United States? At the time of vice presidential debate between Dan Quale and Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, Dan Quale was frequently comparing himself with John F. Kennedy. On that, Senator Lloyd Bentsen told him, â€œSenator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, youâ€™re no Jack Kennedy.â€
The Honorable Joe Walsh, with your hysterical rhetoric, you are trying to build a road to stars and want to travel in a car that has no reverse gear.
Honorable Congressman, a philosopher, once said, â€œThe test of civilization is in how the blessed take care of the less fortunate and how the strong treat the weak.â€
We are amazed to witness that you are telling that our differences matter more than the common humanity. You are more worried about the local radical Muslims than the sinking US economy, the rising unemployment, the diminishing US competitiveness. Amazingly, you are not worried about radicals who fired gunshots at a mosque in Morton Grove, who threw acid bomb right here in Lombard, killed new citizens in Wisconsin, and assassinated innocent people in a theater in Colorado. Also you are least worried about the religious orientations of thousands of people who kill each other in all the metropolitan US cities in gang violence and drug wars. You know they are not Muslims.
Congressman, we like politicians who are straight talkers but we are ready to stand up to those who are exploitative talkers and fear mongers. Congressman, you can leave your mark on the world for good or ill. Your rhetoric is building walls of division and suspicions.
Honorable Congressman Walsh, Demolish the walls of division, demolish the walls of suspicion.
Let America remain a Shining City on the Hill as President Ronald Reagan famously said.
May God guide you to the right path? May God bless United States of America!