Dennis Prager vs. the First Amendment

Sheila Musaji

Posted Apr 26, 2009      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
Bookmark and Share

Dennis Prager vs. the First Amendment

by Sheila Musaji

Dennis Prager is a syndicated radio talk show host, and a syndicated columnist who has a problem with American Muslims.

Prager believes that we are at war with Muslims ***  “There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude?” - “The fact remains that the term “Islamophobia” has one purpose — to suppress any criticism, legitimate or not, of Islam. And given the cowardice of the Western media, and the collusion of the left in banning any such criticism (while piling it on Christianity and Christians), it is working.”

He was violently opposed to Rep. Keith Ellison using the Qur’an in a photo op after his swearing in.  Joe Grossberg notes that Prager said Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress.   He also said Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow [newly-elected Congressman Keith] Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Nazis’ bible, for his oath?

The ADL issued a statement about Prager’s statements ***

Dennis Prager’s argument that Representative-Elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should not be permitted to take his oath of office on a Koran is, intolerant, misinformed and downright un-American.

Prager is flat-out wrong when he asserts that Representative Ellison’s use of a Koran would be “damaging to the fabric of American civilization.”  To the contrary, the U.S. Constitution guarantees that, “no religious test shall ever be required” to hold public office in America.  Members of Congress, like all Americans, should be free to observe their own religious practices without government interference or coercion. 

Prager’s patriotic prattling is misinformed on the facts, too.  No Member of Congress is officially sworn in with a Bible.  Under House rules, the official swearing-in ceremony is done in the House chambers, with the Speaker of the House administering the oath of office en masse.  No Bibles or other holy books are used at all.  Members may, if they choose, also have a private ceremony with family and friends.  At these unofficial ceremonies, Members frequently solemnize the event by taking an oath while holding a personal family Bible.

Prager ridiculously asserts that permitting Rep. Ellison to take the oath of office would “be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11.”  What he fails to understand is that what truly unifies all Americans is a value system built on religious freedom and pluralism, not dogmatism and coercion.

Prager presents intolerant, ugly views.  His comparison of Ellison’s desire to “choose his favorite book” to that of the right of a racist elected to public office to use Hitler’s Mein Kampf is outrageous.  If Prager were merely a blogger and radio talk-show host trying to be relevant and provocative, these views might not merit a response.  But as a newly-appointed member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, Prager and his views must be held to a higher standard.

In 2005, Prager wrote an article in the L.A. Times asking Muslims to answer 5-questions.  Predictably, the questions were stated in such a way that “guilt” was first assumed.  For example, why don’t Muslims speak up against terrorism.

In 2006 President Bush appointed Prager to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the governing board of the Holocaust Memorial Museum, for the remainder of a five year term expiring January 15, 2011.  CAIR called for his removal from this taxpayer supported Council because of his intolerant views toward Islam in American society. 

Prager also denies that Islamophobia exists The fact remains that the term “Islamophobia” has one purpose — to suppress any criticism, legitimate or not, of Islam. And given the cowardice of the Western media, and the collusion of the left in banning any such criticism (while piling it on Christianity and Christians), it is working. 

Prager said A far larger number of people believe in Islamic authoritarianism than ever believed in Marxism. Virtually no one living in Marxist countries believed in Marxism or communism. Likewise, far fewer people believed in Nazism, an ideology confined largely to one country for less than one generation. This is one enormous difference between the radical Islamic threat to our civilization and the two previous ones. But there is yet a second difference that is at least as significant and at least as frightening: Nazis and Communists wanted to live and feared death; Islamic authoritarians love death and loathe life. 

Prager said So once one acknowledges the obvious, that there is fascistic behavior among a core of Muslims — specifically, a cult of violence and the wanton use of physical force to impose an ideology on others — the term “Islamo-Fascism” is entirely appropriate. ***

Prager is one of the regular speakers at David Horowitz’ Islamo Fascism Awareness Week ***

Prager was opposed to the Cordoba House project ***



A Muslim Response to Dennis Prager’s ‘Five Questions’, Hussam Ayloush

ADL statement on Prager’s attack on Rep. Ellison

ADL 2011 statement Anti-Muslim sentiment significant

Answers to Five ‘Repulsive’ Questions of Dennis Prager, Dr. Maher Hathout

Backgrounder on Prager

Congressman Keith Ellison and the Qur’an, Sheila Musaji

Muslims and the Five Questions of Dennis Prager, Juan Cole

Dennis Prager Has A Funny Definition Of Freedom

Prager’s anti-Islamic bigotry is not newsworthy

President Bush Asked to Rescind Appointment of Dennis Prager

Presidential appointee says Quran oath ‘undermines American civilization’

U.S. Holocaust Museum urged to drop Islam basher, CAIR