Action: Ask GOP to Repudiate Comparison of Sharia to 'Disease'
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/17/11) -- CAIR is calling on American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact state and national GOP leaders to ask that they repudiate remarks by a Republican lawmaker in Missouri who referred to Islamic principles, or Sharia, as a "disease" like polio.
State Rep. Don Wells (R-Cabool) made that comparison yesterday during a meeting of the Missouri House Judiciary Committee, which was discussing a bill Wells has proposed to ban consideration of Sharia in that state's courts. When a Democratic lawmaker asked if Wells really believes Sharia law is like polio, he replied, "Absolutely."
"State and national Republican leaders must act -- and act decisively -- if their party is not to be viewed as tacitly supporting anti-Muslim hate in America," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "Based on similar actions nationwide, it appears the Republican Party is willing to use religion as a wedge issue to divide Americans."
Saylor noted that an individual who offered testimony in support of the anti-Sharia bill at yesterday's committee meeting has a long history of anti-Islam hate and has made bizarre statements such as "in my family was the Grand Wazir of Islam." (There is not now, and never has been a person with the title "Grand Wazir of Islam.")
Similar anti-Sharia bills are being considered in a number of state legislatures. Many of the bills are drawn from a template prepared by David Yerushalmi, head of the anti-Islam hate group Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE).
On its now password-protected website, SANE offered a policy proposal that would make "adherence to Islam" punishable by 20 years in prison, called for the immediate deportation of all non-citizen Muslims and urged Congress to declare war on the "Muslim Nation," which SANE defined as "all Muslims."
SANE's mission statement included white supremacist language such as: "America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white." An online SANE article stated: "There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote."
Yerushalmi is also staff attorney for Frank Gaffney, president of the Washington-based Center for Security Policy. Gaffney was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit against a mosque being built in Tennessee.
Some Republican leaders are actively promoting an anti-Muslim agenda nationwide. Last week, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) held a hearing on alleged "radicalization" in the American Muslim community that was widely condemned by members of Congress and interfaith and civil liberties groups.
In June, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) will address a gathering of Act! for America, an anti-Islam hate group whose leader Brigitte Gabriel claims an American Muslim "cannot be a loyal citizen," that Islam is the "real enemy" and that every practicing Muslim is a "radical Muslim."
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be polite and respectful.)
Please contact David Cole, chairman of the Missouri State Republican Committee, and Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and ask them if Rep. Wells' description of Sharia as a "disease" like polio reflects the views of the state and national Republican committees.
Dear Chairmen Cole and Priebus,
I was disturbed to hear that a Republican state representative from Missouri, Rep. Don Wells, recently called Islamic principles, or Sharia, a "disease" like polio. I hope this ignorant view does not reflect the views of the state or national republican committees, and that you will repudiate Rep. Wells' divisive statement.