Direct quote from Senator Dave Lawson, emphasis mine: “All Muslims aren’t terrorists, but all terrorism has been committed by Muslims.”
EXCLUSIVE: Muslim man who donated to Sen. Lawson’s campaign is speaking out | The Latest from Delaware 105.9 | delaware1059.com
If it is true that Lawson’s statements reflect the majority of his district, then it strikes me that as an elected official, one of Lawson’s duties is to educate himself and then educate his constituents. It appears he is simply not interested in doing this. He is an ignorant unaware of his own ignorance.
Dave Lawson is bigoted. His bigotry disqualifies him from office. He must resign.
Terrorism has been committed by Christians. See the KKK. They are Christian. Timothy McVeigh. Christian. Eric Rudolph. Christian. The fucking IRA. Yeah, Christian. There are also Hindu Terrorists, and Jewish Terrorist. Not many Buddhist terrorists though. I think they are mostly chill.
I don’t think the thing to focus on here is the idiotic comments by Senator Lawson about Muslims and terrorism. That’s garden-variety bigotry, unfortunate to find in a state legislator, but really not that surprising. What it’s time to focus on here is how the rest of us react to it. I have a few suggestions:
If the General Assembly is, inexplicably, going to stay in the business of opening sessions with prayer, I suggest that some of our legislators go out and invite Christian clergy who are prepared to include readings from the Koran in their invocations. I suggest that Senator Lawson and Senator Bonini become used to having to get up and leave in the middle of such prayers. I can tell you from personal experience that I know Christian and Jewish clergy quite willing to participate in such a strategy. Senator McBride–you want an appropriate, measured, and memorable response? This is it.
I have many Muslim friends and work colleagues. I regularly encounter Muslims in northern Delaware. The WDEL story is correct: many are intimidated by this kind of outburst. Go talk with your Muslim friends and colleagues. Better yet, go listen to them. Ask them how you–as an individual–can make a difference for religious toleration, one person to one person.
(A variant of number one) If you are a regular church-going or synagogue worshipping person, talk to your own religious leaders about speaking out about the need for ecumenical toleration. Bigotry of this nature can only thrive when the mid-level leaders don’t take seriously (and courageously) their obligation to talk about what’s going on. Challenge your own minister to become a leader even–and perhaps especially–if he or she thinks it might be a tough sell in your congregation. If that leader is hostile to the suggestion, considering voting with your feet.
Volunteer–even once and for only a few hours–in a Delaware Muslim community center or charity. Just once. You’d stand outside a Kmart ringing that damn bell at Christmas, wouldn’t you? Vote with your presence, donate if you’ve got the resources, join the mailing list. Engage.
Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into doing nothing.
It’s a pretty thin type of leadership that capitalizes on and cultivates the worst of us in order to stay in power. And I am fascinated by how the vaunted Delaware Way is always vacated for racial or religious or LGBT bigotries.
Why is it even necessary to begin with a prayer, any prayer, in a legislative session? However, substitute any other religion and we’d all be appalled at Senator Lawson’s actions. If it were a Jewish prayer, and he walked out and made public negative comments, we’d call for his resignation. If it were a Christian prayer and he walked out, we’d call for his resignation. But a Muslim prayer and we give his brand of prejudice a pass.
A Muslim man who lives in his district gave him campaign money. He stated there are many Muslim families in that district. So, Lawson should give that money back or donate it to the new Mosque to be built in that district. Bigotry has no place in politics…it appears the republicans in Delaware who wouldn’t censure him are protecting the bigots.