AAI Condemns Rep. King’s Anti-Muslim Remarks, Calls on Congressional Leaders to Censure Him
WASHINGTON - March 10, 2008 - The Arab American Institute (AAI) condemns remarks made by Congressman Steve King (R-IA) linking Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) to al-Qaeda and Islamist extremism and suggesting that the senator’s election as U.S. President would jeopardize national security. AAI calls on Congressional leadership to formally censure these comments. AAI is deeply troubled that Senator Obama’s name continues to raise suspicions about his religious affiliation and is especially concerned about how commonplace and acceptable it has become to defame and degrade Islam. Any notion that questions the fitness of any loyal American to elected office because of race or religion is unacceptable and must be addressed.
Congressman Steve King (R-IA) said this weekend that “if [Obama] is elected president, then the radical Islamists and their supporters will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror.” The congressman went on to say that “[Obama’s] middle name does matter…because they read a meaning into that in the rest of the world…They will be dancing in the streets because of his middle name [and] because of who his father was and because of his posture that says: pull out of the Middle East and pull out of this conflict.” These disparaging and dishonest comments by Congressman King only demonstrate how anti-Muslim rhetoric and general Islamophobia have come to be accepted in our national discourse since September 11, 2001.
“We believe that Congressman King’s comments and behavior go beyond politics and partisanship and must be addressed by Congress as a whole,” said AAI President Dr. James Zogby. “It is outrageous when a radio talk show host spews such venom, but it is much worse and sends a dangerous message when such statements come from the ranking Republican member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law. He must be held accountable by his colleagues.”
Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities.
For more information on AAI, please visit http://www.aaiusa.org.