Muslim Rights Group: Bachmann Playing 'Six Degrees of Separation Drinking Game' with National Security
A Muslim human
rights group has issued a strong response to the allegations from House
Republican members that longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s family, as
well as other prominent Muslim-Americans working within the U.S. government,
have ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Corey Saylor, a
spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR,
calls questioning the loyalty of ”patriotic American Muslims” based on what he
says are old anti-Muslim conspiracy theories “beyond the pale.”
Five GOP members
of Congress, including former presidential candidate Michelle Bachman, sent
letters to the Inspector General offices for the State Department, as well as
the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense and the Office of the
Director of National Intelligence, questioning whether Abedin and other
prominent Muslims are part of a plot by Islamic extremists to infiltrate the
“America wants a
serious national security conversation,” says Saylor. “Michelle Bachmann is
giving us a six degrees of separation drinking game.”
Washington-based Islamic advocacy group founded in 1994, is not alone in its
condemnation. Today veteran Republican Senator John McCain gave a spirited
defense of Abedin, calling the allegations against her “ugly” and “sinister.”
He chastised his GOP colleagues in the House saying that no one, “not least a
member of Congress,” should launch such a “degrading attack against fellow
Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance
of that they stand for.”
deputy spokesperson Patrick Ventrell also shot down the accusations, calling
Saylor says that
Abedin and the other Muslim officials listed in the House letter are American
citizens who are “asking what they can do for their nation,” and now Bachmann
“seems to be punishing them for the sin of offering that service during a Democratic
administration,” he says.
In addition to
Abedin, the letters also cite Mohamed Elibiary, an advisor to the Department of
Homeland Security named in the letter, as also having possible ties to
extremists. Last year Elibiary was given an award by the Society of Former
Special Agents for his counter-terrorism work with the FBI.
contributions have been rewarded by Bachmann questioning his patriotism,” says
Representative Keith Ellison, the only Muslim member of Congress, has sent
letters to Bachmann demanding she and her GOP colleagues produce evidence
backing up their claims. Ellison told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the
allegations are “the worst of guilt by association,” said Ellison. “It is a
stark affront to American values.”
issued a statement saying that Ellison has “distorted” the letters by taking
certain comments out of context. “The intention of the letters was to outline
the serious national security concerns I had and ask for answers to questions
regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical group’s access to top Obama
administration officials,” said Bachmann.
But those who
have spoken out, including McCain, Ellison and CAIR, reiterate that Bachmann
and her House GOP colleague’s questions aren’t based on credible evidence.
Saylor says it has more in common with the 1950?s political witch hunt
spearheaded by former senator Joe McCarthy to take down political opponents by
claiming they were communists. That period is generally seen as one of the darkest
in American political history.
“You can’t help
drawing parallels between this and McCarthyism,” says Saylor. “Half truths?
Guilt by association? Overblown accusations? Sounds like Joe McCarthy to me.”