The Republican Party’s dogmatic Islamophobia is increasingly self-destructive. With the majority of rank-and-file Republicans insisting that Muslims innately pose a threat to American society, Muslim Republicans are fleeing or being forced out of their own party. Florida Republican Nezar Hamze endured the latter when Broward County’s Republican Party Executive Committee rejected his bid for committee membership by a 11–158 vote. The chief charge against him? “Terrorist.” The committee even changed the rules for applicants just so Hamze could be subjected to an interrogation for five minutes, a rule he jokingly called the “Hamze rule.”
Last night on the Daily Show, correspondent Jason Jones sat down with Hamze to discuss the “well-orchestrated campaign” against him. Hamze noted that an individual had printed handouts before the vote that labeled him a “terrorist” and insisted “Islam is evil.” Jones sought out Joe Kaufman, the founder of the organization Americans Against Hate, to enlist his “help” considering that the group’s “goal is to be an active voice against those who spread bigotry and violence.” As it turns out, this “anti-bigotry crusader” actually distributed the fliers smearing Hamze as a terrorist. His chief reason for the charge? Hamze is the head of the local chapter of CAIR:
KAUFMAN: He is the local head of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations — an organization that was started by a terrorist group overseas…He calls me something called an Islamophobe.
JONES: An Islamophobe?
KAUFMAN: I am no Islamophobe. Indeed, I’m a terrorphobe.
JONES: You do not discriminate on personal characteristics? KAUFMAN: Absolutely not.
JONES: Right, you’re just judging him on assumed associations.KAUFMAN: No doubt. That is exactly what I’m doing.
Indeed, Kaufman’s entire organization seems dedicated to conjuring terrorist conspiracies within Islamic organizations and generally smearing American Muslims as dangerous infiltrators of American Society. But this narrow-mindedness is not restricted to a local level. State officials like Rep. Rick Womick (R-TN) called for purging Muslims from the military. Former GOP presidential Herman Cain said he would never hire a Muslim to serve in his cabinet. Fellow candidate Newt Gingrich insists that Sharia law is threatening to replace American law.
Jones later proved that both Kaufman and Hamze hold the same, practically identical positions on central issues to the GOP — be it cap and trade or abortion. The sole face that Hamze is Muslim is all that separated him from the embrace of his chosen political party. “After all this, you still want to be a Republican?” Jones asked. Hamze replied, “Yeah.” To which Jones said, “That is so nonsensical, it actually makes me think that you’re a Republican.”