During Republican candidate for governor Ron Ramsey’s speech at his Chattanooga campaign stop on July 14, he was quoted widely as having said: “You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult or whatever you want to call it?”
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Ramsey made the remark in response to an attendee’s stated concern that “we’ve got a threat that’s invading our country from the Muslims.” Ramsey also noted a recent controversy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, over a proposal to build an Islamic center and mosque.
The Times Free Press also quoted Ramsey as saying, “you cross the line when they start trying to bring Sharia law here into the United States…We live under the Constitution and they preferably live under our Constitution. It’s scary if we get there.” Sharia, of course, is the law of Islam and it is not compatible with the U.S. Constitution.
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that many people suspect to be a front for terrorists, said Tuesday that the problem with Ramsey’s remarks is “it seems to be part of a trend nationwide in which there are those who are seeking to de-legitimize the faith of Islam so that Muslim civil rights can somehow be restricted.”
Ramsey emphasized that he is OK with peaceful, freedom-loving Muslims, but that he has problems with those who advocate violence against Americans.
Well what American does not have a problem with people who advocate violence toward Americans? Mr. Ramsey is a candidate for Governor of Tennessee, and if elected, would be charged with protecting those Americans living in Tennessee, so that seems perfectly reasonable.
Benssam Issa, a member of the board for the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, said he believes that “at the end of the day, this country stands for freedom of religion” and “when you have one third of the population of the world following that religion, how could you deny it as a religion?”
Good point, Mr. Issa, and good question also. However, I must point out that Mr. Ramsey didn’t say that Islam is not a religion, but only that the argument could be made.
The country is supposed to stand for freedom of religion. That’s certainly what the Constitution and the 1st Amendment require. So Mr. Hooper is correct in one sense and that is that the civil rights of most, if not all, Americans are under attack. That statement is true regardless of faith or no faith. Denial of Habeas Corpus rights knows no faith, a warrantless search knows no faith, being held without charges and without right to counsel knows no faith, and torture certainly knows no faith.
Perhaps we should be concentrating on the loss of our basic rights and not trying to judge Mr. Ramsey’s heart or motive.
- Darrell Castle