BY BRIAN CRAIG
When Allen West was elected to Congress, he promised to hold regular town hall meetings to keep in touch with his constituents. A smart move since Tea Party voters sent him and other Freshmen Republicans to Washington with the message that the Grand Old Party spent to much time in the Washington Beltway and had lost touch with the people back home.
The February 21st West town hall meeting in Pompano Beach sounded less like a town hall meeting of Tea Party voters expressing opinions on a out of control government and more like a mob of angry Islamaphobe’s. Nezar Hamze, the South Florida Director of the Council for American Islamic Relations (C.A.I.R.), a regular at town hall meetings featuring Congressmen West, waited in line for his turn at the mic to ask questions of the Congressmen just as any other citizen. What it turned into was a history lesson given by West on the violent history of Islam from its beginnings through the Fort Hood attack.
When Mr. Hamze accused Congressman West of attacking his religion, the Congressman responded, “You attacked us.
While C.A.I.R. has had some dubious members, to my knowledge I’m not aware that Mr. Hamze himself has taken part in any terrorist activities.
Is it appropriate for a sitting member of Congress to lay blame for the September 11th attacks and the Fort Hood massacre on any Muslim-American who openly professes their faith to him?
What was even more disturbing was the behavior of many of those in attendance to the town hall. The crowd can be heard in the background telling Mr. Hamze to ,“sit down“, and “we’re not interested, when the Congressman told him, “You attacked us!, the crowd cheered on the anti-Islamic rhetoric.
Many of the conservative news sites including Glenn Beck’s The Blaze.com reported the confrontation and describe Hamze as “the Koran-wielding Executive Director of the Council for American Islamic Relations. For anyone who watches the video of the exchange it is obvious that not only is Hamze being polite and not wielding anything, but that it is the crowd of West supporters and the Congressman himself who are on the attack.
The Tea Party members showed their detractors on the Left that they do have some hate and bigotry in their ranks. Congressman West should have calmed the crowd down and not incited them. As a supporter of Allen West, I hope that he will not allow his town hall meetings to be turned into anti-Islamic hate fests, but rather a chance for all his constituents to able to speak on the issues without fear of being attacked by an angry mob.
(Brian Craig is the producer on The Steve Kane Show, heard on 1470 a.m. from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday.)