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Anti-Muslim Hate Speech ‘Putting Our Soldiers At Risk’: Sen. Lindsay Graham

Anti-Muslim Hate Speech ‘Putting Our Soldiers At Risk’: Sen. Lindsay Graham

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) convened a hearing on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims” — the “first of its kind for Congress.” A counterweight to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King’s (R-NY) anti-Muslim hearings earlier this month, Durbin’s hearing sought to counter increasing number of bigoted attacks like the Quran burnings, hate crimes, and restrictions on mosque construction by reinforcing “the Constitution’s “First Freedom” — the freedom of religion.”

Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) provided a counter-approach to many in his own party. Graham took the opportunity to declare “I will do my part as a Republican to let my party and anyone listening that I totally get it when it comes to religion.” After the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez testified to the “steady stream of violence and discrimination” targeting Muslim, Sikh, and South Asians, Graham responded, “one case is too many.” He went further to admonish those who unleash hate speech against Muslims are “putting our soldiers at risk”:

GRAHAM: I guess my opinion about such matters is that one case is too many. You have an example in America where somebody is being abused because of their faith, I think all of us should join in and push back as the Bush administration did, as you’re doing. So that’s my baseline here — I don’t know what the numbers are but one for me is too many. And to those who have freedom of speech, it’s a gift given to you by a lot of people risking their own lives. So when you say things here at home or you do things here at home that create tension based on religious differences, particularly when its the Muslim community involved, your putting our soldiers at risk.

We have soldiers all over the world of a variety of religions fighting in the name of America trying to help moderate Muslims defeat radical Islam. And my view is that there are plenty of moderate Muslims out there who need our help and we should be helping because its better to fight the war over there than it is here. But at the end of the day, we’re all in this together…there are plenty of Muslims who wear our uniform and we need to understand that, again, we’re all in this together.

Watch it:

Graham’s enlightened stance stands in stark contrast to the entrenched anti-Muslim position adopted by the hard right. Indeed, directly following Graham’s opening statement, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said that if this hearing “is part of a narrative that says its improper to point out the obvious” about radical Muslims and errs on the side of “political correctness,” then “count me out.” “All bigotry is to be condemned but we’re only credible if we’re principled in our condemnation. Selective indignation is not healthy,” he said — without a hint of irony or mention of King’s hearings.

It appears, however, that many high-profile Republicans relish in their “selective” condemnation of Muslims. GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain recently insisted all Muslims “have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them.” Fellow candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has used Muslims and Nazis interchangeably and advocated for “explicit profiling and explicit discrimination for behavior” of Muslims.

Taking the exact opposite view of Graham, King said Muslims aren’t “American” when it comes to war and “do not cooperate” to combat terrorism. Today, he condemned Durbin and Graham’s hearing as one that “perpetuates the myth that somehow Muslims are the victim of September 11” and that “create[s] the illusion that there’s a violation of civil rights of Muslims in this country. It’s absolutely untrue, and to me it makes no sense.”

This post first appeared on Think Progress.

 

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By Tanya Somanader

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34 comments

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8:11PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Remember when Care 2 had petitions to spare the lives of Ms. Ashtiani, who was sentenced to be stoned to death for "adultery", and Ms. Bibi, who had a death sentence for blasphemy?

Did anyone on this thread sign those petitions? Because those petitions CRITICIZED ISLAM, and as such, if Lindsay Graham gets his way, you will not legally have free speech to start or sign such a petition.

The Patriot Act has eroded our rights and freedoms. If we are so willing to just hand over free speech, MY GOD. And where will it end? Now you want to have it illegal to speak out against Islam, so if there are human rights violations in an Islamic country, then too bad, you can't say a word. Next it will be complaining about anything in America, which will be really handy when they can silence you from complaining about anything you don't like in the way the government for and by the rich is being handled. I'm sure lots of other types of petitions on Care2 will be banned soon after.

Just get off the Muslim thing for a second and THINK. If you have no freedom of speech, you really won't have freedom of religion, either. And I'd rather listen to unpopular speech, or speech that offends me, than to think America is willing to give up freedom of speech so easily.

This is INSANITY.

5:55PM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

Well, Charles I think you are quite articulate about your views when engaged but as I read people's pages before talking to them and google the towns they live in I am not surprised only sad. I've spent my life watching what hate speech does living here and living abroad.We will have to disagree. As for PC that stands for Politically Correct and there are many kinds even Independent Voter PC.

8:53AM PDT on Apr 3, 2011

Linda, I don't usually respond to Care2 comments because of the tendency of such to be simple name calling riots. I have a bit of time though so I'll make an exception to yours...

Hate speech as you define it has usually been called being stupid and often resulted in a fight/lesson learned. In the US/West today, it has taken on the form of speech codes limiting free speech to protect the feelings of certain groups, not the general population. Your reference to an idiot like Jones and the morons in Afghanistan highlights the sheer stupidity of trying to control speech. Short of silencing one type of idiot and bowing in subjection to the other set, you accomplish nothing. How hard is that to understand?

As for me having a certain set of views as you say it, it doesn't mean (or shouldn't) that I have nothing to say on the subject. Far from whatever a right wing PC view (whatever THAT is), I do understand words have meaning and consequences. I have friends and family who have to take up the slack when the ignorant of the Muslim world react to the stupidity of some here.

Basic premise remains, this is an overstated non problem which neither the author or Sen Durbin care to even reveal actual numbers other than huge sounding percentage increases. Trying to label speech we don't agree with as hate speech and worthy of censorship weakens us far more than the results of that speech. The First Amendment is pretty absolute for just that reason.

1:49PM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

I'm not a fan of Lindsey Graham but at least he had the guts to speak out against the radical Americans. Sounds strange doesn't it radical Americans. Strange as it sounds we seem to have an abundance lately.

7:06AM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

Hate speech is abusive, bigotry, insulting, intimidating, harassing and at worst promotes violence and killing. These acts have been carried out by people from all walks of life, religions and politics. It isn't just one group, it is ALL... which several people have expressed here... it is ALL people. There are people on C2 that think they can also express hatred, intimidate, bully, use bigotry and insult. They often think they can get away with it because they hide behind Freedom of Speech, but in fact, what they are doing really is abusing their right to Freedom of Speech by being hateful, bigoted, intimidating and violent. There are ways to express views without using the above tactics to put a point of view across. Also there are codes of conduct and laws to protect us all.

There is a quote that I think we should ALL remember;

'Always remember, others may hate you. Those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.'

Peace and out...

2:36PM PDT on Apr 1, 2011

Charles, I see from your page that you have certain views. Okay. Last Sunday Terry Jones finally did burn a copy of the Koran. They put the video up on the internet and of course they are quite proud of it. In response there was a initially quiet protest rally in Afghanistan that turned violent and doors were broken down and 10 UN people lost their lives.I would like to make some kind of joke here about the "Dude, you have no Koran" kid zipping up and saving the day one more time but I can't. Hate speech is when you go into a bar and half drunk you say that one dumb thing that gets people hurt real bad.How hard is that for you to understand? I just heard Huckabee say he wants me to hear some wacko Christian Supremacist "at gunpoint". No thanks.You can get all right wing PC'd about hate speech but it does have consequences as you well know from just walking around in that town in AL. We are all just walking around in our little towns trying to keep out of trouble and the Senator from SC understands that much at least.

10:57AM PDT on Apr 1, 2011

Every time I see an article about "hate speech" increasing I stop and wonder by how much and from what base number. Then of course I start wondering what constitutes hate speech...

This is one of those 'made for crisis headline' things that actually is a small to non existent "problem" Seeing Sen Lindsey Graham hop onto it in another attempt to garner headlines (he's the GOP version of Sen Chuck Schumer) makes it look even more pathetic.

Sorry, Sen Durbin's sad move to try and make hay on this issue has more to do with some of his critical fund risers and political supporters urgings than any real problems. American military action has more to do with Muslim dislike for us than any real upswelling in this country against them. President Obama's recent attacks into Libya are a perfect case in point.

7:13AM PDT on Apr 1, 2011

It is the US's illegal/immoral aggression in the world that endangers US military personnel. Period. If the US wasn't invading & occupying other people's countries those people wouldn't be swearing revenge against the US & all who represent it, would they? Is there anyone in the US government with any rational cells in their brains including this pinhead? US aggression = increased hate, increased numbers of 'freedom fighters' to resist that aggression, more dead civilians which increases hate toward the US & increases danger toward US military personnel etc etc etc. DUH!

Why didn't these good Senators stand up & speak out for all the immigrants who have been demonized in the US? How about all those who are discriminated against just because they happen to "look" like immigrants? Something fishy about this whole silly thing. This special treatment for some ideological minority. When have they ever made such a show of support for any ideological group before? Religion is a choice, why does it get special rights? We should be working to free us from religion rather than promoting & protecting it, even though religion is the source of so much hatred. These guys are supporting Islam whose founder called for death to Muslims who just want to change religions, Muslim women who marry non-Muslim men & for people born with a different sexual orientation. Why are they defending the indefensible? They should be caring about Islam's victims.

10:58PM PDT on Mar 31, 2011

It is time to stop all bigotry.

7:43PM PDT on Mar 31, 2011

The Islamists who hate America might use Rep. King's inquiry as an excuse to kill US soldiers, but that excuse is pretty hollow. They'll kill anyway. All that matters is that you're an Outsider, a "kufir," and in their eyes your life is worthless.

Muslims who genuinely desire peace will need to find a more peaceable expression of Islam (Sufism, maybe), or seek peace outside Islam altogether, as a number of Muslims did after the atrocity of 9/11. Whether they stay or leave, they need to get involved in the conversation. Staying insular and noncommunicative will just breed suspicions, both in their camp and among those outside it.

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