Politicians often attempt to treat two distinct concepts as if they were one, and their purpose is obscuring intelligent analysis and creating misunderstanding among the population about totally different issues. Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing, some Republicans and conservative pundits conflated the identities of Muslims and Hispanics because they share similar skin color and to make their case that immigration reform is tantamount to inviting terror attacks. It is an old tactic Republicans resorted to after the attacks on 9/11, and as sure as the Sun rises in the East, it is the same culprits using Islamophobia to derail a long-overdue comprehensive reform of the nation’s immigration policy.
The very earliest reports in the wake of the Boston bombing were that a Saudi was apprehended as a person of interest in the bombing attack, and as usual the early reporting was dead wrong. As it turned out, the young Saudi Arabian man, a devout Muslim, was a victim in the bombing, and as he attempted to flee per police orders, he was tackled and restrained despite his wounds. Law enforcement quickly corrected media reports and said the young man “is not involved. He is just a victim and a witness,” and yet Representative Steve King, avowed Islamophobe and anti-immigrant champion, said “yes, it was a foreign national and, speculating here, that it was potentially a person on a student visa, if that’s the case, then we need to take a look at the big picture.” The big picture was King conflating a terror attack with immigration reform and since he will not comport discussing a path to citizenship for undocumented Hispanic immigrants, he claimed “we need to be ever vigilant, we need to go far deeper into our border crossings.” To listen to King rage about securing the Mexican border, one would think radical Islamists and al Qaeda were posing as Mexican immigrants and stealing across the border to plant bombs in Massachusetts on Patriot’s Day. According to another certified Islamophobe and anti-immigration hero, that is precisely what is happening.
On Wednesday during a taping of C-SPAN’S Washington Journal, Texas Republican Representative Louie Gohmert conflated Islamic terrorists with Hispanic immigrants and warned the Senate against passing immigration reform because “radical Islamists” will pose as Hispanics and start doing “copycat things.” Gohmert is so certain of his assertions he said, “We know Al Qaeda has camps over with the drug cartels on the other side of the Mexican border. We know that people are now being trained to come in and act like Hispanics when they are radical Islamists. We know these things are happening. It is just insane not to protect ourselves. They want the freedoms we have.” Two years ago, Steve King claimed Islamic jihadists were coming across the Mexican border when he echoed Rick Santorum who was certain Islamic Jihadists were in training camps in South America plotting “to eliminate us because we have two different ideas of what god is, and two different ideas of what humanity is.” His assertion was the porous U.S.-Mexico border led to greater threats of terrorism because jihadists established “a foothold near us” because of god ideology.
King, Santorum, Rep. Sue Myrick, and other Republicans repeatedly claimed Hezbollah agents posed as Mexican “illegal immigrants” and infiltrated America to commit terror attacks. King said in 2011 that “I know we pick up ‘people of interest from nations of interest‘,” and took care to explain that “people of interest from nations of interest” is a government euphemism for jihadists. The Islamophobia stemming from the tragedy in Boston is a convenient ploy to prevent Congress from passing immigration reform, and it is in no small part because of erroneous reports a Saudi Arabian student was a “person of interest.”
The young man who was a victim of the bombing, and a witness, was described by his friends as a soccer fan who was still in the hospital being treated for his injuries. The friend told a reporter after the incident he was not wary of negative reactions from other people who might identify him as a foreigner because his “impressions of Americans are they are generous, and they love the kind people, like Saudis.” The victim’s friend, a medical student, also said “I just hope they find those responsible, and let’s hope Boston and the whole world will be safe. God bless America.” A spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington related that U.S. officials informed the embassy Monday evening the injured man was not a suspect and that “he’s been fully cooperating with authorities. We were informed by US authorities that no Saudi is a suspect. We want to know about the investigation as much as everybody else. We’re working very closely with US authorities on this. As of yesterday, we were informed that there were no Saudi suspects.”
It seems as though immigration reform opponents were laying in wait for some reason to invoke the Islamic terror threat and based on the instantaneous anti-Muslim outrage resurfacing, the tragedy in Boston was what they were waiting for. Within an hour of the bombing, Fox News contributor Erik Rush tweeted a message blaming Muslim terrorists and sarcastically said, “Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them,” and “they’re evil, let’s kill them all.” The leader of the Tea Party Nation said the Boston bombing occurred because the Obama Administration is “not committed to protecting America,” and is “not willing to destroy Islam.” He also accused the media of downplaying the Saudi victim’s complicity because he knew for certain he was a “person of interest,” and “Obama just wants to bow to the Saudi king.” According to the teabagger, only Ronald Reagan knew how to stand up to America’s enemies, but the President hates America and “doesn’t like our Founding Fathers who were very wise.” It is noteworthy then, that wise Founding Father and second American President John Adams said “the government of the United States of America… has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims” leading one to wonder if Founding Father John Adams or the first Congress hated America.
That Republicans are quick to conflate radical Islamic terrorists with undocumented Hispanic immigrants speaks volumes to their deep-seated hatred for non-white human beings. The fact they are using the Boston tragedy to advance their bigoted opposition to immigration reform is further indication that the Republicans are, at their core, despicable human beings unworthy of serving in government and not representative of most Americans. These sad excuses for Americans exemplify why radical Islamists hate America, and makes on wonder why any foreign national, Hispanic or Muslim, would want to set foot in this nation of hate-filled conservatives. With the level of animosity inherent in Republicans toward Muslims, Hispanics, and this President’s advocacy for immigration reform, there is no chance this Congress will pass a reform package. One hopes the haters ignore advice from the teabag leader and resist starting a crusade to destroy Islam, because at the rate they conflate radical Islamists with Hispanics, they will attack Mexico to ensure a jihadist copycat doesn’t pose as an undocumented Mexican immigrant and plant bombs at the next big footrace.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.