Islamophobia And The Republican Party

July 25, 2012 | By
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Michele Bachmann has accused Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Photo: Reuters

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness… Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

With those famous words, spoken on June 9, 1954, during a nationally televised hearing of the US Senate, an Army lawyer named Joseph Welch produced perhaps the first nationally galvanising moment ever achieved in the US through a medium seemingly created for such moments, and which has generated many dozens of them around the globe since. In an instant, the powerful Senator Joseph McCarthy, anti-Communist demagogue, was revealed in three dimensions before the world for what he was: A small, petty, conniving man, willing to casually destroy the reputation of an innocent person – in this case, a junior lawyer on Welch’s staff – in order to score a minor debating point. It was the beginning of a rapid descent, political and personal, for the once-feared Republican senator from Wisconsin.

This scene from an unedifying chapter in US history has been on the minds of many in the past week. On Wednesday, Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in the 2008 election, rose on the floor of the Senate to defend Huma Abedin, a Muslim-American woman and deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, from attack by members of his own party. Abedin had been cited in a letter to the Deputy Inspector General of the State Department signed by five Republican congressmen, including Michele Bachmann, a former candidate for this year’s Republican presidential nomination with a large following in the party. That letter darkly cited “…information [which] has recently come to light that raises serious questions about Department of State policies and actions that appear to be a result of influence operations conducted by … the Muslim Brotherhood”. Exhibit A in this apparent conspiracy to subvert US policy? Why, Abedin, whose late father, mother and brother, it is alleged, all have been “connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organisations”.

Character assassination

The letter-writers fear the conspiracy is enjoying considerable success. According to Bachmann et alia, “The State Department and, in several cases the specific direction of the Secretary of State have taken actions recently that have been enormously favourable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests.” Among these, it cites “… assorted efforts undertaken in the name of ‘engaging’ the Muslim Brotherhood both in Egypt and the United States. Lately, these have amounted to… assisting the realisation of the Brotherhood’s goals”.

Read more: Aljazeera


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