Rep. Joe Walsh once again managed to make several racially offensive statements this week, offending both Muslims and African Americans.
Salon reports Walsh claimed in a town hall meeting on Wednesday in Elk Grove Village, “radical Islam is in Elk Grove, it’s in Addison, it’s in Elgin,” asserted that radical Muslims are “trying to kill Americans every week,” and that he “always says the following (but hates to say it) when talking to high school classes,” but another 9/11 is a matter of “when” not “if.” His comments came after an Egyptian-American audience member stood up to say:
“I’m looking for some godly men and women in the Senate, in the Congress, who will stand in the face of the danger of Islam in America without political correctness. Islam is not the peaceful, loving religion we hear about.”
The first term Congressman went on to say that “political correctness” is to blame for the tragic massacre at Fort Hood in 2009 because the “government was so afraid of doing its job” and “so afraid of offending Islam.”
Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago said in a statement “Rep. Joe Walsh’s comments are consistent with the rise of the radical right and the insistence by some in the Republican party that Americans should be suspicious and fearful of fellow Americans—including Walsh’s own constituents—who are of a different faith.”
The congressman is also under fire for comments made at a fundraising barbeque on Sunday. Having a little bit of what he called “fun,” Talking Points Memo reports Walsh told attendees:
“There’s something different on the ground, and I think it’s going to overtake us all again, think it’s going to overtake the political class. 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.”
Executive Director Rashad Robinson of the civil rights organization ColorOfChange said the Congressman’s remarks were racially inflammatory and “stoke racial fears about President Barack Obama in order to leverage support for his own campaign”
Walsh went on the defensive in both cases. The Tea Party darling said he didn’t know who ColorOfChange was, but would love to “look them in the eyes and say get a life,” and that anytime someone criticizes President Obama, “the racist card is thrown out.” According to the Tribune, Walsh’s chief of staff Justin Roth defended his boss’s honor by pointing out that the Homeland Security Committee, which Walsh sits on, has heard “hours of testimony” about the growth of radical Islam across America. The committee, chaired by Rep. Peter King of New York, has held five hearings on “radicalization within the Muslim community.”
In an interview with the Daily Herald, Jamil Zara, General Secretary at the Midwest Islamic Center Masid Al-Huda in Schaumburg said Walsh’s remarks “make Islam a punching bag” and are “used to scare people.” In his 20 years living in the suburbs he said he has never seen a radical person.