This morning, Minnesota Public Radio woke me up (in more ways than one) with a story titled Anti-Islam speakers urge rural Minnesota crowds to prepare for Muslim attack. It's even worse than it sounds.
Two different speakers are highlighted, one an ex-FBI agent and the other the son of a Baptist missionary in Egypt. They appear at churches, mostly, all over the northern two-thirds of Minnesota, warning
that refugees from Somalia, Syria and other Muslim countries intend to wage holy war on the United States, and overthrow the government and the justice system. He claimed that Muslims are buying up gas stations and working at airports to pave the way for a violent takeover. And told the crowd to prepare.That's the FBI guy. The Egyptian guy is, maybe, worse:
"You're essentially getting the county fortified," he said.
"Islam is not a religion," he said, highlighting one of his frequent talking points. "It's a savage cult. Therefore, it is unconstitutional for a Muslim to practice Islam in America."This was both the stupidest and the most awful part of the story:
Dakdok argues for the mass deportation of Muslims from the United States. He wears a Donald Trump pin on his suit jacket. He warns of the end times.
Dakdok holds the bulk of his Minnesota events in small northern towns — places with few, if any Muslims. So does Guandolo, and he said that's intentional. The Twin Cities, he told the Warroad crowd, are overrun with Muslims.Let me tell you, Minneapolis is not "lost." I worked for more than a decade in an area of Minneapolis these hateful people would consider "lost" and it's completely fine. This is a new form of Fox New's "no-go zones" — completely made up.
"Minneapolis is lost," Guandolo said. "Gone." A woman in the crowd asked if there was no hope to get it back.
"No I didn't say that," he said. "I'm telling you. Marines, we fight for hills. We take them back. It's time to put freedom back on the offensive where it belongs."
The absurdity continues:
Paul King sat in the first row of Guandolo's audience. He's a former Air Force translator and coder for Marvin Windows. He's been researching Islam for years and said people in rural Minnesota are in a better position to recognize what he called the threat posed by Muslims.Yes, you become more open-minded the less you know about something. Knowing people makes it much harder to hate them.
"If you're rubbing shoulders with a lot of Muslims," he said, "there may be an immediate dismissal as, you know that's just racist, or that's just xenophobic, or that's hateful. So, there might be more of an open-mindedness to look at what's a possible threat up here."
Meanwhile, Anthea Butler pointed out on Twitter that "A majority of white evangelical Protestants (62%) and white mainline Protestants (54%) favor the temporary ban on Muslims," according to a PRRI poll released today.
Gee, I wonder why that might be?
Treat refugees as human beings and they will love you forever. —Yanis Varoufakis