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Entries in Muslim (9)

Monday
Sep242012

Republicans Jump on Obama Referring to ‘Bumps in the Road’ in Muslim World

Edward Linsmier/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Remarks President Obama made during an interview Sunday are starting to get some criticism, with the suggestion that Obama implied that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens' death was a "bump in the road."

“I guess when u win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing, an attack that kills an Ambassador is just a ‘bump in the road,’” tweeted former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.

Other Republicans and conservatives, including officials from the Romney campaign, similarly criticized the president.

Fleischer was referring to this exchange on CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday evening:

Steve Kroft: “Have the events that took place in the Middle East, the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?”

President Obama: “Well, I’d said even at the time that this is going to be a rocky path.  The question presumes that somehow we could have stopped this wave of change.  I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights -- a notion that -- people have -- to be able to -- participate -- in -- their own governance.  But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because -- you know, in a lot of these places -- the one organizing principle -- has been Islam."

“The one part of society that hasn’t been controlled completely by the government," Obama continued.  "There are strains of extremism, and anti-Americanism, and anti-Western sentiments.  And you know can be tapped into by demagogues.  There will probably be some times where we bump up against some of these countries and have strong disagreements, but I do think that over the long term we are more likely to get a Middle East and north Africa that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more aligned with our interests.”

A senior administration official emailed ABC News' senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper Sunday evening about those criticizing the president’s remarks:

"1) It’s just not true that he was characterizing the attack in Benghazi -- the question doesn’t even make mention of it.  He’s speaking about broad trends."

"2) Take a look at his answer -- what is there to disagree with?  We are holding true to our values.  We face entrenched strains of extremism.  We will benefit from a region that is more peaceful."

"3) This is clearly a rocky path -- the point he also makes clearly is that we have an interest in democratic transitions succeeding."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Hank Williams Jr.: Obama Is 'a Muslim' Who 'Hates the Military'

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Controversial country star Hank Williams Jr., who caused a stir last year when he compared Barack Obama to Hitler, is at it again.

At the Iowa State Fair, Williams bashed Obama to a crowd saying, "We've got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S. and we hate him!"

To make his anti-Obama message known, Williams recently released a 10-disc album titled Old School, New Rules. There is no subtlety in the country star's politically charged song lyrics that boast "Hey Barack, pack your bags, head to Chicago, take your teleprompter with you so you'll know where to go."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar232012

Gingrich: It Should ‘Bother’ Obama That People Think He’s Muslim

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(FOURCHON, La.) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is amping up his language on President Obama’s faith and his relationship with Muslims.  Gingrich told ABC News Friday that he takes the president at his word that he’s a Christian, but finds it “very bizarre” that Obama is “desperately concerned to apologize to Muslim religious fanatics.”

Gingrich said the president’s apology to the Afghan president for the burning Korans by U.S. soldiers happened last month “while they are killing young Americans,” referring to the two Americans killed during protests over the burned books. Gingrich said at the same time, the administration is “going to war against the Catholic Church and against every right-to- life Protestant organization in the country.”

Asked by a member of the press if it concerns him that a large portion of the electorate believes Obama is a Muslim, Gingrich replied, “It should bother the president.”

“Why does the president behave the way that people would think that? You have to ask why would they believe that? It’s not because they’re stupid. It’s because they watch the kind of things I just described to you,” Gingrich said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar222012

Gingrich Late to Respond to Voter Calling Obama a Muslim

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(LAKE CHARLES, La.) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, asked to explain Wednesday why he did not correct a voter who called President Obama a Muslim during a question and answer session, said that it’s not his job to police what voters say.

While asking a question about the economy, Bob Nolan of Lake Charles, La., told Gingrich that he believes the president is a Muslim and a student of Saul Alinsky.

“And I believe that it’s his policy to bring this country to its knees and ruin the United States of America.  Your comment?” Nolan said.

One man in the audience shouted, “I believe that too,” with a few audible claps in the room.

Gingrich responded by saying that he believes the president prefers power to prosperity and policies that centralize the government, but also affirmed to Nolan that he believed Obama is radical.

“If the price of that is that we’re poorer and we have fewer jobs and that we have less energy, that’s fine with him.  It’s a price he’ll pay,” Gingrich said.  “I agree with you about Alinsky.  I think he’s driven by a radicalism to remake America and he doesn’t frankly care what level of pain it costs the rest of us.”

In an appearance on On the Record with Gretta Van Susteren, Gingrich was asked why he didn’t correct the man.

“You know, that is such total baloney.  I was asked by a reporter immediately afterwards.  I said of course I accept that he’s a Christian.  The guy didn’t ask me a question. The guy got up and stated his opinion.  I don’t have an obligation to go around and correct every single voter about every single topic.  I also didn’t agree with him,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich said that he accepts Obama is a Christian, but a Christian whose policies “apologize to Muslim extremists while they’re killing Americans at the same time that he’s waging war against the Catholic Church and against every right-to-life institution in this country.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar102011

Muslim Congressman, Religious Leaders Rebuke King's Hearings

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., one of two Muslims serving in the House of Representatives, joined senior religious leaders from various religious communities, including Islam, Christianity and Judaism, in rebuking Thursday’s hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims, saying it proved to be a setback for the country.

“At a time when we should be actively working together to strengthen relationships across the Muslim world to help fight extremism, Representative King's hearings risk tearing down some of the bridges that we have built,” Carson said in a press conference.  “These hearings weaken the very foundation upon which this country was built.”

Carson joined Congress in 2008 after winning a special election to fill the seat of his late grandmother, Congresswoman Julia Carson.  Carson’s opponent in the 2010 election, Marvin Scott, was accused of attacking Carson for his Muslim faith during the campaign, but Carson won the election and held onto his seat.

The faith leaders gathered on Capitol Hill to condemn the hearing for grouping the entire Muslim community as extremists.

“We also stand shoulder to shoulder in opposing the singling out of any one religious community in a way that would cast unwarranted suspicion on that part of the American population,” Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, said.

They also acknowledged that any religious community could be singled out in the same manner as the American Muslim community.

One Muslim leader admitted that extremism may exist in some Muslim communities but argued it is not indicative of the entire Muslim population as a whole.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Thursday
Mar102011

Congressional Hearing Explores Home-Grown Terrorism

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A congressional hearing into home grown terrorism called by New York Republican Congressman Peter King Thursday displayed sharp divisions over the what some saw as the singling out the Muslim community -- but most agreed it was a good step toward opening dialogue.  

Following the more than four hour long session, Congressman King spoke about the meeting. "I think the hysteria and the madness leading up to this hearing did nobody much good and certainly didn't reflect well on those who were reporting it."

Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca told the committee most mosques in his area cooperate with law enforcement---in fact, he said, many participate with leaders of other religions in a council to fight terrorism. But the family of a young Muslim-American who disappeared in Somalia, testified that they were intimidated in their Minneapolis mosque and warned not to talk to authorities.

Chairman King says there are too many American mosques that don't cooperate with law enforcement and welcome extremists, but overall, King was pleased with the result at the end of the day and added: "I am more convinced than ever that it was the appropriate hearing to hold.  I think we broke down a wall of political correctness on an issue which has to be addressed."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar092011

Rep. Peter King to Examine Threat of Radical Islam at Home

PeteKing [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- The chairman of a key congressional committee is scheduled this week to examine the apparent threat posed by homegrown Islamic radicals.

But some members of the Muslim community fear that Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is on a witch hunt, holding hearings that recall the days of Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communism crusade.

Hundreds of people in New York City this weekend protested the hearing entitled "Radicalization in the American Muslim community," which is scheduled for Thursday.

"Peter King, we are on to your game, dividing people and using fear and intolerance," one female protester said.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress who will be testifying at the hearing, said, "These hearings, as presently organized, won't do any good.  And they may well do a lot of damage."

Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, "These hearings have the potential to demonize Islam."

But King has said the goal of the House Committee on Homeland Security is not to target all Muslims but to deal with the reality of terrorism.

Forty-nine suspects have been charged with acts of international terrorism in the past two years.  They are nearly all Muslim men, typically in their 20 or 30s.  The charges include plotting to blow up a car in Times Square, targeting the New York City subway and the shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas.

And there have been numerous stings, including one involving New York City men who allegedly wanted to use a shoulder-fired missile to shoot down U.S. military planes.  Other stings involved young men radicalized on the Internet.

The members of the Muslim community believe it is being unfairly maligned because of the actions of a few.  Muslim leaders have also pointed out that a number of terrorism suspects were arrested based on tips from their community. Wednesday on Good Morning America, Rep. King countered that claim saying there have been documented cases in which Islamic leaders in New York and elsewhere have advised followers not to help law enforcement personnel -- and in at least one case, the leader of a mosque warned a follower the FBI was investigating him.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar072011

House to Examine Radicalization of American Muslims Thursday

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The threat of a homegrown terror attack has been the growing fear of law enforcement and intelligence officials and the aspiration of international terrorists since 9/11.

There are a number of recent high-profile examples of the danger posed by citizen-terrorists. Maj. Nidal Hassan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 29 more at Fort Hood, Texas on Nov. 5, 2009. Explosives placed by Faisal Shahzad in an SUV in Times Square last May could have killed an estimated hundreds of tourists on that crowded Friday evening if the weapon of mass destruction had ignited. Five young Muslim men from Alexandria, Va. are sitting in a Pakistani prison after being convicted in Pakistan of plotting to join forces with the Taliban to fight American soldiers in Afghanistan.

The men involved in each plot were American citizens, and all had alleged ties to al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, a dual citizen of Yemen and the United States.

On Thursday, the House Committee on Homeland Security is set to convene the first in a series of controversial hearings targeting radicalization in the American Muslim community.

New York Republican Peter King, the chairman of the committee, wants to examine what he calls a “significant change in al Qaeda tactics and strategy” and its efforts to “radicalize and recruit from within our country.”

But opponents, such as Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking member of the Homeland Security committee, have criticized King as a modern-day Sen. Joe McCarthy for targeting a single religious community when there are other domestic threats such as neo-Nazis, violent opponents of abortion, animal testing, and environmental extremists that demand inspection as well.

King’s hearing has drawn intense scrutiny since he announced his intentions last December, but calls to expand the scope of the hearing intensified after the January shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six of her constituents. The attack was allegedly carried out by Jared Lee Loughner, who is not Muslim.

“While I share your concern about the threat posed to our nation from violence borne of ideologically driven extremism, I believe that this Committee’s exploration of the current and emerging threat environment should be a broad-based examination of domestic extremist groups, regardless of their respective ideological underpinnings,” Thompson, D-Mississippi, wrote in a February letter urging King to broaden the scope of the hearing. “The ideology of a bomb maker matters less than the lethal effects of his creation.”

Days before the first session, King, R-NY, went to the airwaves to defend the narrow scope of the hearings.

“We're talking about the affiliates of al Qaeda who have been radicalizing, and there's been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it's there.  And that's where the threat is coming from at this time,” King, R-New York, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday. “This is al Qaeda internationally; it's attempting to recruit within the United States.  People in this country are being self-radicalized, whether it's Major Hasan or whether it's Shahzad or whether it was [Najibullah Zazi’s plot to bomb the subway system] in New York.  These were all people who were identifying, in one way or another, with al Qaeda or al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

President Obama: "Christian By Choice...Jesus Spoke To Me"

Photo Courtesy - The White House(ALBUQUERQUE, NM) -- At a backyard town hall in Albuquerque on Tuesday, President Obama was asked why he is a Christian.

“I’m a Christian by choice,” the president said. “My family didn’t -- frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week.  And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me in the church.”

Obama said he came to his Christian faith later in life "because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead."

"I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes," the president said. "What we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace.”

“That’s what I strive to do," Obama said. "I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith.”

Because of his Muslim roots – his father was born Muslim, though was not observant – the president’s religion has long been a topic of conversation and smears. Last month a poll indicated that a growing number of Americans mistakenly believe that he is a Muslim.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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