Shelia Musaji: Is Congressional Christian Brotherhood Group Behind GOP Islamophobia?
by Sheila Musaji
It is interesting how many of those in Congress who have an Islamophobia problem are members of the same group CAPITOL MINISTRIES which hosts regular Christian Bible studies for, and ministers to, members of Congress. Capitol Ministries has a website at http://www.capmin.org/site/ They say about their purpose that The motto of Capitol Ministries is delivering the gospel to every political leader, in every capitol, every year. Since our founding in 1996, our vision has always been the same: to evangelize elected officials and lead them toward maturity in Christ. We stay away from politics altogether.
Who are the elected representatives active in this group?
On the Capitol Ministries page listing Congressional Sponsors here are those listed as of 7/20/12:
Todd Akin (MO), Michele Bachmann (MN), Spencer Bachus (AL), Marsha Blackburn (TN),Paul Broun, (GA), Dan Burton (IN), John Campbell (CA), John Carter (TX), Bill Cassidy (LA), Jeff Denham (CA), John Duncan (TN), Mary Fallin (Gov. OK), John Fleming (LA, Trent Franks (AZ), Scott Garrett (NJ), Louie Gohmert (TX), Tom Graves (GA), Ralph Hall (TX), Gregg Harper (MS), Pete Hoekstra (MI), Randy Hultgren (IL), Bill Johnson (OH), Jim Jordan (OH),Steve King (IA), James Lankford (OK), Doug Lamborn (CO), Mike McIntyre (NC), Gary Miller (CA), Sue Myrick (NC), Randy Neugebauer (TX), Steve Pearce (NM), Mike Pence (IN), Mike Pompeo (KS), Bill Posey (FL), Tom Price (GA), Ben Quayle (AZ), Tim Scott (SC), Lamar Smith (TX), Steve Southerland (FL), Marlin Stutzman (IN), Glenn Thompson (PA), Scott Tipton (CO), Joe Wilson (SC), Allen West (FL), Lynn Westmoreland (GA), Steve Womack (AK)
Here are some of the positions taken by members of the Capitol Ministries. All of those members whose names are bold above are those that I am aware of who have taken bigoted anti-Muslim positions:
Representatives Trent Franks, John Shadegg, Paul Broun, and Sue Myrick objected to Muslim interns on Capitol Hill, calling them “infiltrators”.
Rep. Allen West (R-FL), invited Citizens for National Security to present its alarm of Islamic sedition in the basement of the Rayburn House office building.
When Gaffney’s anti-Sharia report was released, it was praised by Republican members of Congress Trent Franks (AZ), Michele Bachmann (MN), and Pete Hoekstra (MI). I also posted a follow up report Frank Gaffney’s obsession with Sharia.
Last year, after the first reports about serious problems with anti-Muslim materials being included in training programs, the government said that it would conduct an inquiry into the problem. In the article American Muslims welcome Senate inquiry into accuracy and effectiveness of counterterrorism training I note that The Westminster Institute reports that Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02); Rep. Dan Burton (IN-05); Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03); Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-04); Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-02); Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01); Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12); Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14); Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-03); Rep. John Kline (MN-02); Rep. Bill Posey (FL-15); Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46); Rep. Allen West (FL-22); Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03); Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10) all signed a letter sent to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Attorney General Eric Holder objecting to changes being made to training programs.
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Ralph Hall (R-TX) and State Rep. Jerry Madden (R-TX) were on the Honorary Host Committee for a Collin County Conservative Republicans 2009 evening with Pamela Geller of the hate group SIOA? **
An Islamophobic site called Democracy Under Attack lists those in Congress who should be thanked for “leading the fight against Sharia in America”. Their list of those who have worked to on anti-Sharia measures includes: Trent Franks, Tom Price, Mike Pence, Dan Burton, Dennis Moore, Pete Hoekstra, Michele Bachmann, Sue Myrick, Zach Wamp.
James Lankford of Oklahoma has as on the issues page online, and one of those issues is Principles and Values, in which he proudly lists: – Shariah law is major threat; Islam not like other religions. (Aug 2010) –
Council on American Islamic Relations is linked to terrorism. (Aug 2010) – Designate first weekend in May as Ten Commandments Weekend. (Apr 2011).
The Center for Security Policy, the 7th Amendment Advocate and The Legal Project of the Middle East Forum presented a discussion on Capitol Hill entitled, Shariah vs. the Constitution. Making opening remarks on that topic was the event’s sponsor, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO).**. Speakers included Frank Gaffney and David Yerushalmi.
On his website Rep. Steve Pearce declares “The rise of radical Islam in recent years has brought a new threat to America. We must maintain a strong military that continues to be second to none. … Military engagement is always a decision with severe long-term consequences. In making that decision, we must be prepared to commit fully, or not at all.”
This year, Representatives Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland sent out the infamous letter demanding an investigation of Muslim Brotherhood “infiltration” of the U.S. Government.
In our TAM collection of anti-Muslim statements made by elected representatives the following members of Capitol Ministries are listed: Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Steve King, Gary Miller, Sue Myrick, Lamar Smith, Allen West.
Looking through information on Capitol Ministries, it seems that they are not only anti-Muslim, but also anti-gay, and anti-Catholic. However, they seem to focus more of their venom on Muslims.
What sort of “Christian” message are they receiving? What Bible passages are they studying? How is it that of the 46 Congressional sponsors on Capitol Ministries list, at least 23 of them have been involved in anti-Sharia, anti-Muslim, Islamophobic activities? That’s at least 50% of the members of this group who seem to believe that it is a “Christian” value to bash Muslims. Does this really represent “maturity in Christ”?
These are people who have political power, and are using it to demean and demonize members of a minority religion. In the lengthy article Michele Bachmann Ups the Ante in the GOP War on American Muslims, I discuss at length why this most recent attack is so important. Four out of the five representatives who sent out these letters regarding supposed Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. Government are members of the Capitol Ministries group.
As I said in that article:
Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland should all be ashamed of themselves. And, Bachmann, Franks, Gohmert, and Westmoreland who are all members of Capitol Ministries that hosts regular Christian Bible studies for, and ministers to, Members of Congress, should pray on what they are doing. They might also want to consider just how much their Islamophobic rantings sound like a previous generations anti-Semitism.
… It would seem that some of our elected representatives had their fingers crossed when taking this oath.
All of these folks really need to study the Constitution of the United States to remember that the Congress represents “we the people”, all of us, not just some particular segments of the population.
American Muslims are a part of “we the people”. We are Americans. We are not going anywhere. And, I believe that it is well past time that other Americans begin standing up against this demonization of Islam and Muslims. It would be nice to know that this sort of bigotry is not shared by most of our fellow Americans.
As the MPAC statement on this incident said: The congressional leaders making these accusations along with Bachmann have breached the trust of the public they serve. These members must be held responsible by the media and their constituents. If there was any offense that would warrant a resignation from a member of Congress, it seems that we have reached that point.
The National Catholic Reporter reports that:
Rabbi David Saperstein,Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement in response to the charge made my Cong. Michele Bachmann and other House Republicans, that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the U.S. government:
I am deeply troubled by the allegations made by Rep. Michelle Bachmann and other Members of Congress in letters to the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense and State, asserting that respected government officials and religious organizations are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. The letters assert that Huma Abedin, Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary Clinton, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and ISNA President Imam Mohammed Magid, are all connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, posing a potential security risk to the United States.
The Reform Movement, and I personally, have worked with Ms. Abedin, Imam Magid and ISNA for many years. All have worked on behalf of U.S. interests at home and abroad, built relationships across religious lines and affirmed U.S. constitutional values.
These letters reflect a general pattern of Islamophobia that touches too many areas of our society. Allegations such as these by Members of Congress add legitimacy to this distressing trend. I hope that Rep. Bachmann and the other signatories will either produce credible evidence that substantiates their claims or withdraw them and do no further damage to the level of public discourse through the dissemination of unsubstantiated and harmful claims.
And, Amanda Terkel reports that
WASHINGTON—A leading Jewish organization on Friday forcefully condemned the allegations made by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and four other members of Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the U.S. government.
“These sweeping accusations by members of Congress against American citizens who are Muslim are unfair and misguided,” Robert G. Sugarman and Abraham H. Foxman, the national chair and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. “Absent clear evidence of direct ties between these individuals and the Muslim Brotherhood, such allegations foment fear and cast the kind of suspicion that undermines rather than advances American counterterrorism efforts.”
… The ADL wrote letters to these five members of Congress on Friday, expressing their displeasure with their charges.
“Members of Congress have an essential role to play in raising legitimate concerns about threats to America’s security from international terrorist groups,” ADL wrote. “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.”
It is very encouraging that leaders in the Jewish community are speaking up on this issue. The voices of leaders in the Christian community, are at this point silent.
Capitol Ministries: Making disciples for Jesus Christ in state legislatureshttp://www.jewsonfirst.org/07b/capitol_ministries.html
Meet The Religious Right/Tea Party Ministry At The Heart Of Capitol Hillhttp://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/organizations/capitol-ministries