Posted by | August 18, 2010 11:08 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

I could talk about how Republicans like Newt Gingrich are comparing the Muslim-Americans trying to build the Park 51 community center to Nazis, as he did when he said, “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington.” I could talk about how Sarah Palin called the construction of Park 51 a “stab in the heart to Americans” and a “slap” to 9-11 victims. She completely fails to acknowledge that 59 Muslim-AMERICANS died on 9-11 and fails to realize that her refusal to acknowledge them as real Americans is a “stab in the heart” to them. I could talk about this loathsome TV ad run by the National Republican Trust PAC that they proudly display on the homepage of their website; an ad in which they do not differentiate at all between the Muslim-Americans who support and want to build Park 51, and the Al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked this country. As despicable as all of that is, on its own, it does not fully capture how truly shameless the Republican Party is on this issue.

The Republicans who express their hateful and anti-Islamic views on this subject are able to do so partly because there are about 4000 Muslim-Americans in the military right now fighting to protect the Republicans freedom to vilify their religion. One of those soldiers was Kareem R. Khan, who Colin Powell talked about in an interview on “Meet the Press” when he endorsed Barack Obama for President.

…one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery. And she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards – Purple Heart, Bronze Star; showed that he died in Iraq; gave his date of birth, date of death. He was twenty years old. And then at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross. It didn’t have a Star of David. It had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Karim Rashad Sultan Kahn. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey, he was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11 and he waited until he could go serve his country and he gave his life.

Credit to Powell for making those remarks, but what mainstream Republicans are now doing is a disgrace.  Their efforts to conflate all of Islam with the Al-Qaeda terrorists by suggesting that Muslim-American families have no right praying near Ground Zero is an insult to the sacrifice that brave American heroes like Karim Rashad Sultan Khan made.

It was on the Republicans’ watch that those 3000 people died on 9-11. I know the media does not like to point this out very often but it was a Republican president who presided over the worst terrorist attack in the history of this country. One would think that the Republicans would never want to bring up 9-11 again, as it represents one of their biggest failures. Furthermore, they failed to catch the leaders of Al Qaeda responsible for the attacks, Osama Bin Laden, and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and are now demonizing innocent Muslim-Americans who had nothing to do with the attacks in order to score political points for the midterm elections. The American people need to realize that the shameless members of the Republican Party, in their abject incompetence, had a great deal more to do with the deaths of those 3000 people on 9-11 then the Muslim-Americans trying to build the Park 51 community center.

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