Congressman Walsh: “Islam is a real threat”
Republican Rep. Joe Walsh -- Xenophobe

Washington, DC | August 9, 2012 | -- The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is appalled and shocked at the irresponsible and bigoted statement made by Republican U.S. Representative Joe Walsh on Wednesday at a townhall meeting in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

According to reports, in response to a question from the audience, Rep. Walsh asserted that Muslims are “trying to kill Americans every week.” The question asked to Rep. Walsh itself was bigoted and prejudicial, with an audience member stating, “Islam is not the peaceful, loving religion we hear about.” Walsh also said Islam is a threat in America, “It’s a real threat...and it’s a threat that is much more at home now than it was right after 9/11.” Walsh continued his tirade by letting the audience know, “It’s here,” referring to “radical Islam” in the suburbs of Chicago. “It’s in Elk Grove, it’s in Addison, it’s in Elgin. It’s here.”

Rep. Walsh is yet another example of a Congressional Member who has made a mockery out of the House of Representatives. The actions of Rep. Walsh are even more alarming and shocking given that they were made only three days after the fatal shooting at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Time has shown that this type of political rhetoric leads directly to violent crimes against the Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities. Rep. Walsh, and other politicians who engage in such rhetoric, are directly responsible for the culture of hate and violence that leads to violent and tragic events such as the shooting at the Sikh Temple, and the burning down of the Joplin Mosque in Missouri. 

The words and views expressed by Rep. Walsh are not surprising given his history. This week he made derogatory and racially insensitive comments directed at President Barack Obama. He stated: “I think it’s going to respectfully pick this president up and pat him on the head and say, son, son, son, Mr. President, you were never ready to be president, now go home and work for somebody and find out how the real world works.”

Throughout his term Walsh has attacked minority communities, including women, African-Americans and Hispanic Americans -- leading many to believe that Walsh has a problem with non-whites. In fact it is the rhetoric from politicians such as Rep. Walsh that poisons our politics and national discourse. This is exactly the kind of talk and action that can and will encourage extremism and lead to the kind of horror witnessed in Wisconsin. It is through this rhetoric that a common bond is formed between an elected official and a white supremacist, such as Wade Michael Page, the shooter of the Wisconsin tragedy.

Rep. Walsh, and all politicians alike, must distance themselves from the views and rhetoric shared by hate mongers such as white supremacists. Politicians must respect the leadership positions they are in, and not engage in actions that harm this nation. ADC reiterates that there is no room for xenophobia in society, much less in politics, and once again calls on politicians to distance themselves from such antics.