Those of us who wonder why the heck some Republicans — including gays, blacks, immigrants, women, and low-to-middle income folks — keep voting for the party that keeps screwing them can add another demographic to their list: Muslim women. In case you missed this story, Saba Ahmed — a woman, Muslim, Republican, and law student at American University — spoke out at a June 16th Heritage Foundation panel on #BENGHAZI! to defend her religion and other followers of Islam:
“We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there’s 1.8 billion followers of Islam. We have 8 million-plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don’t see them represented here.”
In response to Ahmed’s valid concerns about her fellow Republicans’ unfair portrayals of Muslims as terrorists, Brigitte Gabriel from Act America responded as right-wingers always do when facts, reason, and fairness fail them: By comparing Ahmed’s coreligionists to Nazis:
“When you look throughout history. most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and, as a result, 60 million died. Almost 14 million in concentration camps. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.”
Because even though most of us recall little about the atrocities of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis before and during World War II — or even about today’s scary, methamphetamine-fueled neo-Nazi movement — we all know that “Nazis” are really mean, oppressive, and bossy.
Gabriel continued her vicious attack on Ahmed’s defense of Muslims, with encouragement from others on the panel:
“On Sept. 11, we had 2.3 million Arab Muslims in the United States. It took 19 hijackers, 19 radicals, to bring the United States to its knees … the peaceful majority were irrelevant. So for all our powers of reasons and us talking about moderate and peaceful Muslims, I’m glad you’re here. But where are the others speaking out?
It is time we took political correctness and threw it in the garbage where it belongs.”
Here’s the video with Ahmed getting attacked by her fellow Republicans from Media Matters.
The Heritage Foundation — in keeping with the Republicans’ desperate attempts to prove conservatives aren’t really bigots later posted a video with the audience applauding Ahmed to “prove” that the panelists hadn’t really attacked Ahmed. But that didn’t go over very well, especially after Sean Hannity invited Ahmed to appear on his show so he and Gabriel could heap further abuse upon her unbowed head.
Watch Gabriel attack Ahmed on Hannity.
If Ahmed’s fellow Republicans thought Hannity and Gabriel had pounded her down into acquiescing to their appallingly bigoted attacks on her religion, they had another think coming.
On July 4th — very pointedly on America’s day of Independence — Ahmed wrote in her scathing editorial — titled “I am Muslim and Republican – and was attacked by people in my party” — for The Guardian.
A couple paragraphs into her piece, Ahmed addresses our utter bafflement by explaining why she became a Republican.
“I became Republican because I felt that my Islamic values – pro-life, pro-traditional family, pro-business, pro-trade – aligned best with the Republican party platform. I identified as a Democrat for several years when I was younger, but found it hard to defend liberal values as they were so often in conflict with my deeply-held beliefs.”
Curiously, Ahmed added that although she had frequently heard members of her party attack Muslims (did she not also hear them repeatedly attacking women?), she was surprised when they actually turned on her.
“So the personal attacks by conservatives after my question at the Heritage event went viral came as somewhat of a surprise – though the support from the Republicans who reached out to me did not. As one of the few lobbyists among the 10,000 on Capitol Hill who is a practicing Muslim, I regularly attend congressional hearings bashing “Islamists”, but I didn’t expect to be called one of them.”
Unfortunately, here in Republican America, “Christians” won’t play nice with other religions, even if they hold many “conservative” values in common. And — as Ahmed points out — that may become the Republican party’s undoing.
“But the fear, arrogance and ignorance displayed by people like Brigette Gabriel (whose angry response to my question at Heritage sparked the online backlash) are simply attitudes whose time is passing. Their tactics may have worked to play on the fears of Americans and spur further prejudice and divisiveness immediately after 9/11 in the US, but after 14 years of wars and 57,000+ American killed or wounded, the American public is ready for answers from peaceful Muslims and intelligent Christians alike..”
You can read the entire editorial at The Guardian.
Watch the Huffington Post‘s report on Saba Ahmed.
h/t Huffington Post.