Monday, October 30, 2006

More Ominous Than Race Baiting - Islamophobia

I am convinced that Neo-con Republicans have just taken a turn and gone down a road that exposes them for the racists that they most certainly are. No, not immigration this time, not Hispanic bashing. I am witness to a true backlash on the Muslim community: Islamophobia. In Houston and surrounding suburbs, this backlash is against a significant proportion of our growing southeast Texas Asian population.

Witness. On Monday, at Garcia Middle School in Fort Bend ISD, a large 4 x 8 sign went up at this early voting site. It simply read:

Encourage Terrorists – Vote Democrat”.
Voters were in an uproar but the poll judges said that there was nothing they could do. The school principal there, however, had no problem ordering it taken down. Imagine what must have been going through the minds of the children of South Asian immigrants, and the parents themselves, when they arrived to drop off their children at that school?

Witness. Last month this appeared in the Washington Post. I noted it because I knew I would be writing this someday. Statistically attacks on Muslims is way up. Racial profiling is up. Innocently, Muslims feel that these numbers are due to American ignorance of the Muslim religion. Sorry to inform you, but the Americans who are attacking Muslims may be ignorant, but it is my experience that ignorance and religious intolerance do not necessarily go hand in hand. Bigotry knows no bounds.

Witness. Posted a few days ago at Onlenzo Markum's “The Markum Report” is a reference to my posting on the Candidates Forum earlier this month, hosted by two South Asian political action committees. Take a look. I’ll wait. Markum specifically takes offense at Nick Lampson saying “Salam Alaikum” meaning "peace be upon you". It was a courtesy. Most of the audience were South Asian immigrants or 1st generation Americans. Markum made sure to put that in bold. Why? The sly devil never says why. He just lists in his rant that if elected to a majority and the Democrats take the house, Nancy Pelosi will become Speaker of the House (and third in line of succession to the presidency), and Bush and Cheney will be impeached (oh my, President Pelosi). To top it off, he includes my description of Nick’s speech at the forum, prefacing my text with “As if that wasn’t enough, this little gem from one of our friends on the left . . .” What wasn’t enough, Onlenzo? Nick’s courtesy to Muslim community leaders? Comparing his immigrant roots to theirs, being one of them? I’m afraid, what Onlenzo is saying is that if you vote Democratic, you will be supporting terrorists. But then that's just me looking at his words in context. Maybe he doesn't like Muslims because he had a bad reaction in his last encounter with a helping of Baba Ghanouj.

Witness. All you have to do is read Mark’s recent entry in View From 22. It is about a fellow blogger, Greg Aydt, who is a Republican Harris County Precinct Chair (and therefore an elected official) and a living, mouth-breathing Islamophobe. His blog is named Rhymes With Right (get it, that is how he gets people to correctly pronounce his last name, otherwise it would be Aydt, rhymes with Hate). Mark swallowed hard and reviewed Aydt’s August postings (I have to give him credit for intestinal fortitude), noting down all of the incredibly racist remarks he had on Muslims. I won’t list them here, that’s already been done there.

It’s time to answer back. It’s time to tell the people what kind of people our elected officials are, what they believe and most importantly what candidates they support (at the top under “Grassroots Republican Leadership”). Farhan Shamsi, Democratic candidate for Justice of the Peace in Precinct 3 of Fort Bend County is answering back with a mailout to 4,000 residences.

Here are the front and back of Farhan’s piece. It sends a powerful message to the Muslim community, and to anyone who is for truth, justice and fairness in America. Click to enlarge.


Anonymous said...

Did you know that precinct chair/muslim hater, Greg Aydt, is a high school government teacher? Yeah, no kidding!

Mark said...

I was actually sitting on that mailer story, and was gonna post about it in the next few days. But you just had to scoop me, didn't you? LOL.

Just as well. With the news of that sick sign, and with spreading Islamophobia, the timing of this post is right on.

Hal said...

Yes, the sign put me over the top. I kept thinking, how sick and thoughtless of them until I realized that there is no such thing as a thoughtful racist.

Van said...

Three cheers to you and Farhan. You are my heroes. From the little bit of Mr. Aydt's blog that I can stomach, I think I can deduce correctly that he is Jewish. Now THAT really frosts my matzah. I can only hope he is a recent import to Texas and not one that has been here for three generations or more. Pioneering Texan Jews just do NOT do such things. He will be taken care of when he dies, which by the look of him should be pretty soon.

Hal said...

Aydt actually claims that is is not Texas born which is why he had no idea that "wetback" was an ethnic slur. He actually is down on pixels as saying that he thought that illegal Canadian immigrants were "wetbacks" as well. I guess that works for Lake Superior and eastward anyway.

I am told that he is a high school Government teacher. If he is speaking the truth then his ignorance of our American society is truly vast. I am not a Texas native either, but I know that "wetback" is a horrendous ethnic slur.