Reps. Royce And Miller Legitimize Religious Bigotry
Several weeks ago, Reps. Ed Royce and Gary Miller, two southern California Republicans with sizable Muslim constituencies, took part in a protest in Yorba Linda, an affluent suburb in Orange County. The demonstration was originally intended to protest the appearance of two controversial speakers at a fundraiser for a women's shelter organized by the Islamic Circle of North America, a New York-based group.
The OC Weekly's Matt Coker sums up what happened:
Men, women and scared-looking children file into a North County community center as people with signs and megaphones shout disgusting remarks at them. A Villa Park city councilwoman says into a microphone that she knows some Marines who would love to send these Americans, whom she labels "terrorists," "to paradise." One U.S. congressman who represents some of those walking into the center says tolerance of them has "paralyzed America." Another tells the vicious protesters he is "proud" of them and what they are doing.
The event turned really nasty when a part of the group turned their legitimate protest against the two speakers into a hateful anti-Muslim demonstration. They lined up near the entrance of the event and, in the fashion of the Westboro Baptist Church, hurled nasty invective towards fundraiser attendees, including children who appear to be no older than four years old.
Video from the event, put out yesterday by the local chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, shows protesters calling attendees "terrorist-lovers" and yelling at them, "Go home, we don't want your Sharia law here."
Although the video is pure filth, it isn't all that surprising that hateful people with an equally hateful understanding of the world see no fault in berating young children. As Salon's Glenn Greenwald observes, "People like that are so overflowing with hatred and resentments that the place where their humanity — their soul — is supposed to be has been drowned."
The day after the protest, Royce issued a statement in which he commended those who organized the protest and thanked Deborah Pauly, the local councilmember who talked about killing Royce's Muslim constituents, for organizing the event.
The other side has its right to free speech. But so do we. We have a right, indeed an obligation, to challenge voices that seek to bring down our very system of liberty. That's what we did yesterday. Kudos to Karen Lugo and Deborah Pauly and the other protest organizers.
This morning, we reached out to both Royce and Miller's offices to see if they would comment on the incident. Neither office responded to our request for comment.