If We Recognize a Holiday, the Terrorists Win

Obviously, Islamophobia is rampant on the right blogosphere. Basically every major conservative blog (Malkin, LGF, Powerline, Robert Spencer, etc.) is unapologetically bigoted against Muslims and Arabs. But it seems the hippest prejudice has reached Congress too:

[T]he House recently took up a resolution recognizing the commencement of Ramadan and “demonstrat[ing] solidarity with and support for members of the community of Islam in the United States” during this Muslim month of fasting. The measure passed without any opposition, as these resolutions nearly always do. These non-binding, symbolic resolutions that honor some person or event are a harmless daily occurrence, which are generally ignored.
Last week, however, there was a catch. There were 376 House members who voted for it, but there were 42 members (41 Republicans and 1 Dem) who voted “present.” Matt Yglesias noted the words of Rep Tim Walberg (R-Minn.), who explained his vote:

“To offer respect for a major religion is one thing, but to offer respect for a major religion that has been behind the Islamic jihad, the radical jihad, that has sworn war upon the United States, its free allies and freedom in Iraq, is another thing.”

It was a simple recognition of Ramadan. Walberg not only balked, but felt it necessary to condemn an entire faith tradition, in an unusually dumb, bigoted rant.

You know, when the SNL Ahmadinejad song got picked up by dissident groups inside Iran, that was really good for America. It showed our best side, the side that stands for pluralism and free speech and can openly mock those who oppose those values. Moreover, it did it not by succumbing to bigotry, but by showcasing its absurdity. Comments like this do the opposite. They show our worst side, the America that responds to national tragedy by designating a religion as the enemy and refusing to show it a modicum of respect. Put simply, Andy Samberg plays in Persia; Tim Walberg doesn’t.
Though, to be fair, Walberg is not alone. Between this guy, Virgil Goode, Bill Sali, and Peter King, it’s safe to say that Charles Johnson’s crew has more than adequate representation in the House.

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