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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Why did Bachmann Listen to A Right-Wing Extremist Who Wants to Criminalize Islam?

Congressional Republicans — including presidential candidate Michele Bachmann — are listening to a right-wing extremist who believes all Muslims must be deported because the United States is engaged in a “just war” against Muslims, according to a new report from watchdog group Right Wing Watch.

David Yerushalmi, founder of the Islamophobic organization SANE and general counsel for the neoconservative Center for Security Policy, believes that “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization” and the United States must treat Muslims as enemy soldiers. Among other things, Yerushalmi wants to make it a crime to practice Islam. Specifically, he wants the U.S. to pass the following laws:

– It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Islam.

– The Congress of the United States of America shall declare the US at war with the Muslim Nation or Umma.

– The President of the United States of America shall immediately declare that all non-US citizen Muslims are Alien Enemies under Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the US Code and shall be subject to immediate deportation.

– No Muslim shall be granted an entry visa into the United States of America.

Yerushalmi’s organization includes a retired Air Force colonel who serves as “Director of Military Affairs” (it’s a war, remember?) and believes that “Americans must now accept that all weapons and targets are justly within” the scope of the war he wants to wage against Islam. Even neoconservatives like former President Bush took pains to explain that they were not engaged in a war against Muslims, just Muslim terrorists. Yerushalmi, on the other hand, believes the United States must start a War on Muslims.

If Yerushalmi’s fringe views remained out of the mainstream, they might not matter. But according to the American Prospect, Yerushalmi was consulted as an “expert” on Islamic law in a report presented to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), and Trent Franks (R-AZ), which attacked President Obama for making a distinction between Muslims and terrorists.

Of course, this does not mean that Bachmann, Hoekstra, and Franks fervently agree with all of Yerushalmi’s views. Bachmann, a female presidential candidate, probably does not agree with Yerushalmi’s argument that “there is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.” But she and other Republicans refuse to distance themselves from Yerushalmi and the other anti-Muslim bigots who advise them. Ironically, they prefer to hold hearings that (falsely) accuse Muslims of failing to distance themselves from Muslim extremists and cooperate in investigations of terrorists.

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