Through the Looking Glass: Christian Clergyman Calls For Internment Camps for Muslims?

Through the Looking Glass: Christian Clergyman Calls for Internment Camps for Muslims?

Sheila Musaji

In a recent article on the website, Evangelical Pastor J. Grant Swank has outdone himself.  Here are some of the higlights from the article entitled Internment Camps for Muslims.

Now with this being reality, itӒs time to erect the internment camps worldwide.    Put Muslims into those camps. There is no safety for the planet unless we lock up every potential killer. Every Muslim is just that. The Koran states that deity has commanded every non-Muslim be slaughtered by Muslims. That makes every Muslim a potential warrior on the loose.    ... Therefore, for America for example to tolerate the Council on America-Islamic Relations (sic) ((CAIR) organization, satellite offices, and web site, is to invite killers into our back and front yards. This has to stop. It can only stop when all Muslims are put inside gates and behind fences, when hell-sponsored public relations efforts such as CAIR are closed down completely, and when Congress sees to it that this World War III is won by the non-Muslims.    There is no other answer.  ...  We are faced with idiotic, insane cultish killers who belong to no religion recognized by world religions researchers. Instead, non-Muslims are confronted by members of a persistent murdering cult.    Civilized nations immediately close down killing cults. America does and has. Therefore, its time to do that now.    Put Muslims in internment camps. Shut them out and off.Ҕ

Lets look at some of the points made by Pastor Swank.

... “The entire planet is under siege by Muslim global murderers”  ...  ғThere is no safety for the planet unless we lock up every potential killer.  This sounds like the plot outline for the movie Minority Report in which in the future criminals are caught before they commit a crime.  The problem is that just as in the film such brilliant plans can go terribly wrong.

ԓEvery Muslim is a potential killer.  Therefore, to ԓtolerate Muslim organizations in the U.S. is ԓto invite killers into our back and front yards.  My children would be interested in this theory, since they are still expressing discontent that I didn’t allow them to watch Road Runner cartoons when they were small because they were too violent.  Perhaps it was my repressed “killer” instinct causing me to overcompensate.

ԓWe are faced with idiotic, insane cultish killers who belong to no religion recognized by world religions researchers.  The religion of Islam is not recognized by ԓworld religious researchers?  I wonder who are these researchers and which religions do they recognize.  This casually dismissed one-fifth of the entire population of this planet as not belonging to a religion at all.  The definition of a ԓcult must have become very loose indeed.

What does Pastor Swank think we need to do to stop the Muslim hordes?  Of course, ԓIt can only stop when all Muslims are put inside gates and behind fences

All of this would seem ludicrous and not even worth mentioning if it were not for the fact that this is not just the mental aberration of one lone lunatic, but the subject has been seriously discussed by more seemingly mainstream individuals.

Over the past few years there has been an escalation of the thought process that has led to this logical but disturbing conclusion.  First there were discussions about the possibility that internment of some American ethnic groups might not be a bad thing in all circumstances.  Then we had the use of terminology that confused the distinction between the religion of Islam and the criminal acts of some extremists.  And now we come to the point of calling for the internment of all Muslim Americans.

A member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission has been quoted as saying that he could envision a scenario in which public opinion would demand internment of Arabs. (But, even this is minor compared to the Arizona Supreme Court decision that the letter to the editor published in an Arizona paper promoting the idea of killing Muslims was protected under the first amendment right to free speech.  And, we are still waiting to see how Denmark handles the case of the Danish radio station owner who encouraged the killing of Muslims to combat terrorism.)

A 2004 Cornell University poll showed that:  about 27 percent of respondents said that all Muslim Americans should be required to register their location with the federal government;  26 percent said they think that mosques should be closely monitored by U.S. law enforcement agencies; 29 percent agreed that undercover law enforcement agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations, in order to keep tabs on their activities and fund raising;  22 percent said the federal government should profile citizens as potential threats based on the fact that they are Muslim or have Middle Eastern heritage;  44 percent said they believe that some curtailment of civil liberties is necessary for Muslim Americans.

There have been many articles by Japanese-Americans pointing to similarities between the post 9/11 view of Muslims and Arabs to the pre-internment climate towards Japanese Americans.

Michelle Malkin has written a book In Defense of Internment:  “The Case for ԑRacial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror” which has been at the least controversial.  See the reviews on This book was, of course, defended by Daniel Pipes.

All of these individuals seem to believe that in times of war security comes before civil rights.  I would question that conclusion.

They need to read The Constitution of the U.S. In fact, in light of many of the injustices taking place in America today, I wish everyone was required to read the constitution, and perhaps even to pass a test proving that they understand it before they could vote.

Irfan Khwaja has written an excellent article ғ Why Daniel Pipes Is Wrong in which he makes many points pertinent to this entire discussion of internment:

ԓThe fundamental problem with Pipess position is the supposedly ғunarguable premise he borrows from Malkin. Quoting her, he writes: ԓin time of war, the survival of the nation comes first.ђ From there, [Malkin] draws the corollary that Civil liberties are not sacrosanct.ђ Malkin is right that the survival of the nation is an imperative, but since ԓthe nation is defined by the Constitution, ԓits survival is meaningless apart from that fact. A constitution is to a nation what a brain is to a person: take the brain out, and you kill the person; take large enough chunks of the brain out, and it may as well not be there. The Fourth Amendment, if youԒll pardon the metaphor, is too large a chunk of the national brain to be thrown out on a whim. In that sense, it is sacrosanct.Ӕ

A related problem is PipesӒs cavalier adoption of Malkins thesis about Japanese internment. There is first his rather condescending minimization of the effects of internment, as in his reference to its ғsupposed horrors. Well, the issue isnԒt horrorӔ (a term few writers besides Pipes have used) but injustice, and the injustice wasnt ғsupposed, but perfectly real. I suppose there are worse things in the world than expropriation, forced re-location, imprisonment, and forced labor (with conscription added for good measure), but these things strike me as bad enough to arouse a modicum of indignation.Ԕ

There is also his suggestion that opposition to internment is nothing more than a hobbyhorse of ӓthe victimization lobby, a term that not only suggests that Japanese Americans werenԒt victimized, but suggests that those opposing internment have nothing worthwhile to say in criticism of it. Both claims are pretty obviously false.

I cannot imagine that comparable statements could be made about any other religious or ethnic group in the United States of America—I can hardly imagine the public furore! However while public sensibilities have been changed enough that such suggestions are acceptable, I would like to put in my two-cents worth. Let’s put all the internment enthusiasts in internment camps.

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by courtesy & ԩ 2005 The American Muslim

see entire list of articles TAM has published under this heading at Through the Looking Glass - Index