This week, instead of apologizing for his divisive and hateful remarks, Walsh has doubled down, arguing that even U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is extremely concerned about the “radical Islamist threat” to America. Further, Walsh stated this, without providing any semblance of proof, about the so-called threat: “It’s here. It’s in Elk Grove. It’s in Addison. It’s in Elgin. It’s here.” “It” being the supposed threat that Muslims pose to the American way of life.
What is most alarming about this situation is that after this incident, on August 10th, a man from Morton Grove, Illinois, named David Conrad, shot a pellet rifle at the Muslim Education Center located in the suburb, while hundreds of people were praying inside. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but this senseless act instigated by paranoia spread fear across the Muslim community in Illinois.
This is not the only recent incident of Islamophobic and racist behavior directed at Muslims. In Oklahoma City, local residents vandalized a mosque with paintballs. In Hayward, California, teenagers shot bb guns and threw eggs at worshipers and in a mosque in Rhode Island, a man vandalized a local mosque by damaging the signage at the mosque. Also, a few days after the shooting in Oak Creek, where Sikhs were mistaken for Muslims, a mosque in Joplin, Missouri was burned to the ground in what is being termed a hate crime. Probably the worst instance of a hate crime was less than 25 miles from Morton Grove, where last Sunday an Islamic school in Lombard was attacked by a suspect who threw a homemade bomb at the building while people were praying inside. Lastly, this morning of August 16th, there was a Molotov cocktail bomb thrown at a residence in Panama City, Florida, while a Muslim family who was preparing for Suhoor was inside, which caused a fire and charred the driveway of the house. Keep in mind that all of these crimes have been committed in the month of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month when Muslims attend mosques in larger numbers.
All of these attacks and hate crimes are not a coincidence. People such as Joe Walsh, who buy and sell fear and use it as a way to get publicity, are responsible for the misconceptions and stereotypes against American Muslims. They should also be held accountable for spreading lies and giving rise to Islamophobia, which breeds anger and distrust in the minds of Americans and causes hate crimes. Such irresponsible and downright spiteful dialogue is a slap in the face of civil rights, ethics, and moral responsibility. Accusing an entire religious minority of criminal behavior based on misinformation and lies is probably the worst thing that Walsh could do in his political career. As Americans and as Muslims, we should condemn Walsh’s statements and stand against hate and intolerance.
Contact Joe Walsh's office directly by calling (202) 225-3711, or e-mailing him via his website: https://walshforms.house.gov/contact-form. Tell him about the damage his fear-mongering is causing to both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities. In this time of fear and insecurity, let’s stand together against hate.