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DHS Secretary Johnson Slams GOP Rhetoric About Muslims

DHS Secretary Johnson Slams GOP Rhetoric About Muslims

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson made an important statement condemning Islamophobia this past week during a symposium sponsored by the International Peace and Security Institute, stating that comments made by Republican Presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, calling for increased surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods and mosque shutdowns, were “overly simplistic.”

The symposium, which was centered around Countering Violent Extremism, aimed to “open the doors and facilitate global conversation where governments, civil society, business, and academia can delve into the ‘how’ aspects of countering these global threats.”

Secretary Johnson hammered home the idea that Islamophobia runs counter to this mission, saying that Islam is widespread across the globe and thus, “as diverse as Christianity.”

He went on to say that “efforts to vilify and isolate American Muslims are counter to our homeland security interest and counter to our national security interest, given the nature of the global terrorist threat.”

Secretary Johnson also took a moment to recognize how the false binary between Muslims and Americans is harmful to not just civilians, but also results complete erasure of the identities of Muslims serving in the American military. He stated:

“The overwhelming, overwhelming majority of American Muslims, including those who serve in our United States military … are patriotic, dedicated people who love this country and want to help us with public safety and secure our homeland, because they know it’s their homeland too.”

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Wednesday’s remarks weren’t the first time that Secretary Johnson fired back at proponents of Islamophobic rhetoric; earlier last December, he slammed Trump’s plans to halt Muslim immigration to the United States as “beyond the pale,” adding that doing so would “burn bridges to American Muslims when we’re trying to go in the exact opposite direction.”

While all of these condemnations of hateful and provocative rhetoric are a nice change from the new norm of divisiveness and fear-mongering, it’s worth noting that there’s still a level of cognitive dissonance going on here – despite Secretary Johnson’s comments, policies like CVE are still being co-opted by members of the federal government and used as an excuse for increased targeted surveillance of Muslim communities.

So yes, we should commend Secretary Johnson for speaking out on behalf of Muslims – but let’s not forget that his agency’s effort to “build bridges” with the Muslim community still has a long way to go.

View Comments (2)
  • “Secretary Johnson hammered home the idea that Islamophobia runs counter to this mission, saying that Islam is widespread across the globe and thus, “as diverse as Christianity.”
    This statement is NOT based on facts. Seems to be a ruse and diversion. Anecdotal evidence suggests that mosques have been infiltrated and Muslims have been made to spy on each other, set traps, entrapment of innocents is an on going process. Promotions and bonus of ‘Alphabets’ is based on how many Muslims they can bag.
    Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are reflecting common American sentiments. Voicing common Joe on the street. They are straight talkers, truthful. No PC with them. They tell it as they see it. One should respect that. They have united many a disparate American against Muslims among them. All Muslims are now viewed with suspicion, as potential terrorists, liar, deceitful savages, hateful people who want to kill Americans.
    Mr. Trump’s popularity is founded on this Islamaphobia Bandwagon. He is simply using it, corralling it, controlling it, running with it. Hate for Muslims, caricatures of Islam and the Prophet are aired on media 24/7. You can’t miss it even if you want to.
    So what PC people say should be
    Even PBS, more balanced than most, tells its audience that the Qur’an advocates murder, slaughter, terrorism, savagery, mayhem…things that for the life of me I have not been able it find in it. So what Secretary Johnson and others say should be considered with skepticism and wisdom.
    It is a bad time for Muslims in America. Muslims are the new Jews and ‘Japs’, Krauts. All rolled into one. Fuel and faggots for internment camps, gas chambers,mass graves.
    Have a nice day.

    • If you’re wondering why the common man on the street is becoming Islamophobic, look no further than Brussels and Paris. These major attacks aren’t stopping. People are justifiably afraid that they’ll be next. They’re afraid that they’ll get blown away at the airport, public events, their church, or even their Mosque. It’s like the Cold War all over again, except now people aren’t being stalked by the threat of nuclear holocaust, but by the fear of unpredictable large-scale massacres designed to “bag” as many innocent lives as possible. Paris was a turning point—even some of the worst school shootings by non-Muslims aren’t happening with the ferocity and consistency of these ISIS attacks. Sure, Trump is a fear monger…but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

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