The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the rejection of Islamophobic candidates by voters nationwide.
In Florida, Rep. Allen West (R), who claims Islam is not a religion but is instead a “totalitarian theocratic political ideology” that is a “very vile and very vicious enemy,” was defeated by a narrow margin.
Also in Florida, State Representative Adam Hasner (R) was defeated in his bid for Congress. Hasner once co-hosted an event featuring Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders that was also sponsored by Anti-Muslim hate group leader Pamela Geller. In 2009, Hasner attempted to block a “Florida Muslim Capitol Day.” In 2007, he sponsored a screening of the anti-Muslim film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” for state legislators.
A third Florida anti-Muslim candidate, Terry Kemple, lost his bid for the Hillsborough County School Board. Kemple’s main issue in the race was seeking to keep Muslim speakers out of local schools.
In Illinois, Rep. Joe Walsh (R) was defeated in his re-election bid. When a town hall meeting attendee told him that he was “looking for some godly men and women in the Senate, in the Congress, who will stand in the face of the danger of Islam,” Walsh left the door open for suspicion of every Muslim living in Illinois when he responded saying radical Islam is more of a threat “now that it was right after 9/11” and “It’s here. It’s in Elk Grove. It’s in Addison. It’s in Elgin. It’s here.”
In Minnesota, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) lost his seat. Cravaack was a key supporter of Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) series of anti-Muslim hearings.
“These encouraging results clearly show that mainstream Americans reject anti-Muslim bigotry by candidates for public office and will demonstrate that rejection at the polls,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “This election witnessed an increased political awareness and mobilization effort among American Muslims that dealt a major blow to the Islamophobia machine.”
Awad noted that Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann, who recently led a witch hunt against Muslims serving in the government, only retained her House seat by a very narrow margin.
See also Spencer Ackerman, “Bad night for Congress’ anti-Islam caucus”, Wired, 7 November 2012