Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hey. They Blow Up Walmart, We Blow Up Mecca

Surely these are complicated times. When extremism seems to be the watchword of the day it is encouraging to hear Prime Minister Tony Blair call for measured, deliberative thought and careful response to terrorist acts.

It would be easy to tar all Muslims with the same terrorist brush, the same way some have sought to tar all Christians with the label of extremist.

Luckily, there are thoughtful and deliberative men and women who try to avoid this absolutist, knee jerk, simplistic response to a very complicated and dangerous situation.

Unfortunately, Representative Tom Tancredo isn't one of those people.

Radio talk show host Pat Campbell asked Tancredo how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.

Now, before we get to the congressman's answer, we realize that is about as smart a question as asking what if Napoleon had B 52's at the battle of Waterloo. About the only thing that could be more stupid than asking the question is answering it. Mr. Tancredo?

"Well, if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.

"You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said.

"Yeah," Tancredo responded. "There and Dearborn, Michigan."

His spokesman stressed he was only speaking hypothetically. "When Tom said 'take out,' he didn't mean like, 'take out,'" said Will Adams, Tancredo's legislative aide. "He meant develop a measured response that punishes those responsible without making innocent and law abiding Muslims suffer."

The congressman later said he was "just throwing out some ideas. We could bomb their capitol cities, assassinate their leaders, outlaw Islam in America, you know, I'm just brainstorming here."

Adams said the congressman doesn't support threatening holy Islamic sites. When asked how else his comments could be interpreted Adams said he felt the comments had been taken out of context and he was sure Tancredo would be in favor of some sort of aide to help rebuild Islamic holy sites "after they quit glowing."

"We have an enemy with no uniform, no state, who is brown skinned and not Christian. How else would we go after someone like that?" Adams said. "They're willing to sacrifice everything in this world for the next one. That's a philosophy that flies in the face of everything we hold dear in America."

Mohammad Noorzai, coordinator of the Colorado Muslim Council and a native of Afghanistan said, "Well, what do you expect for a guy who lists as one of his major accomplishments that he "communicates with his constituents via the US Post Office."

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