Petition Closed

This great country of America has been the venue for several historical civil rights advancements from the abolition of slavery to women's suffrage to the advancements made by blacks in the mid-20th century.  These events could not have taken place without a widespread oppression against those groups who rose up and peacefully demanded their rights to safety, political involvement, etc.  We are currently experiencing what seems to be a not-so-new version of such oppression in America: Islamophobia.  It had died down considerably in the decade that has passed since 9/11.  But as of late, it appears to be stirring among the population, especially in the Chicagoland area. 

 On August 6, a mosque in Joplin, Missouri was burned down.  On the 10th, a neighbor fired shots from his high-velocity air pistol at a mosque in Morton Grove, Illinois at a time when it was heavily populated with worshippers preparing for the nightly tarawih prayer of Ramadan.  These shots were much more powerful than BB pellets, and came within inches of striking a security guard in the head.  That would have likely been fatal.  On the 12th, an acid bomb was thrown at a K-12 Islamic school in Lombard, Illinois during the tarawih prayers.  It has been widely and reasonably speculated that the shooting on August 5 at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin occurred because the gunman confused the Sikhs for Muslims, a common mistake among Americans .  Must a majority of upstanding Muslims (and others) live in fear due to an extreme few that are perceived to be a much larger percentage of the Muslim population than what they really are?

 On August 8, U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) hosted a Town Hall Meeting in Elk Grove in which he railed against not only extremists, but Islam in general.  He claimed that radical Muslims are “trying to kill Americans every week,” and that “it’s not a matter of ‘if’ – it’s a matter of ‘when’” a 9/11-like attack will happen again.  Who can say things like that without expecting to inspire hatred?  You can watch the video here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/aug/09/republican-joe-walsh-muslims-kill-americans-video

 This happened two days after the Joplin mosque was burned down, and within a week before the other two attacks on mosques.  In light of the Joplin fire, wouldn't one expect a national leader to exhibit more reservation in such discussions, a bit more forebearance than to generalize as such?  That is why we want to remove Mr. Walsh from office if he refuses to take responsibility for his actions.  This is a wake-up call to Mr. Walsh and politicians throughout the land that we live in a society that demands tolerance and understanding of different cultures, especially from its leaders.  Ideally, in a democracy the elected are supposed to serve the people.

When looking at the map of his district, there are at least four major mosques that support congregations that he "represents".  He has not come out with any public statement relating to the violent crimes that occurred after his Town Hall meeting, and his press release to address his statements was a defense, not an apology.  I want to address a quote therein:

 "A recent Pew Poll said that 15% of Muslim-American men between the age of 18 and 29 could support suicide bombings.  How people can dismiss things like that, I don’t understand, but I won’t."

If he took the time to look into these matters himself, he would find that suicide is explicitly forbidden in Islam, and although this may not be known to most of the American population, it is very clear among the Muslim community, and this figure therefore seems to be a gross exaggeration.  What does that mean anyway, that they "could" support suicide bombings?  That they are financially capable of doing so?

 Of course, we understand that terrorism in all its forms should not be tolerated, but to hold an entire demographic responsible for a few that do not represent nor adhere to the values of the group is unacceptable. 

Letter to
US Representative Joe Walsh
I just signed the following petition addressed to: U.S. Representative Joe Walsh.

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Dear Mr. Walsh,

This great country of America has been the venue for several historical civil rights advancements from the abolition of slavery to women's suffrage to the advancements made by blacks in the mid-20th century. These events could not have taken place without a widespread oppression against those groups who peacefully rose up and demanded their rights to safety, political involvement, etc. We are currently experiencing what seems to be a not-so-new version of such oppression in America: Islamophobia. It had died down considerably in the decade that has passed since 9/11. But as of late, it appears to be stirring among the population, especially in the Chicagoland area.

On August 6, a mosque in Joplin, Missouri was burned down. On the 10th, a neighbor fired shots from his high-velocity air pistol at a mosque in Morton Grove, Illinois at a time when it was heavily populated with worshippers preparing for the nightly tarawih prayer of Ramadan. These shots were much more powerful than BB pellets, and came within inches of striking a security guard in the head. That would have likely been fatal. On the 12th, an acid bomb was thrown at a K-12 Islamic school in Lombard, Illinois during the tarawih prayers. It has been widely and reasonably speculated that the shooting on August 5 at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin occurred because the gunman confused the Sikhs for Muslims, a common mistake among Americans . Must a majority of upstanding Muslims (and others) live in fear due to an extreme few that are perceived to be a much larger percentage of the Muslim population than what they really are?

On August 8, you hosted a Town Hall Meeting in Elk Grove in which you railed against not only extremists, but Islam in general. You claimed that radical Muslims are “trying to kill Americans every week,” and that “it’s not a matter of ‘if’ – it’s a matter of ‘when’” a 9/11-like attack will happen again. How can say things like that without expecting a wave of hatred directed at Muslims in general after you saw what happened to Muslims after 9/11? Or are you not aware of what they went through?

Your remarks came two days after the Joplin mosque was burned down, and within a week before the other two attacks on mosques. In light of the Joplin fire, wouldn't one expect a national leader to exhibit more reservation in such discussions, a bit more forebearance than to generalize as such? You can say what you want about your comments being taken out of context; perhaps you can clarify them. We live in a society that demands tolerance and understanding of different cultures, and we especially demand such tolerance from our leaders.

When looking at the map of your district, there are at least four major mosques that support congregations that you "represent". You have not come out with any public statement relating to the violent crimes that occurred after your Town Hall meeting, and your press release to address your statements only seemed to fuel the fire. I want to address a quote therein:

"A recent Pew Poll said that 15% of Muslim-American men between the age of 18 and 29 could support suicide bombings. How people can dismiss things like that, I don’t understand, but I won’t."

If you took the time to look into these matters yourself, you would find that suicide is explicitly forbidden in Islam, and although this may not be known to most of the American population, it is very clear among the Muslim community. This figure therefore seems to be a gross exaggeration. What does that mean anyway, that they "could" support suicide bombings? That they are financially capable of doing so?

Of course, we understand that terrorism in all its forms should not be tolerated, but to hold a larger demographic responsible for a few that do not represent nor adhere to the values of the group is unacceptable. Mr. Walsh, we want to offer you two options: (1) Step up and take responsibility for your words, make an effort to learn about Islam from Islamic sources, speak to Muslim scholars (which are abundant in the Chicagoland area), get to know the Muslim communities you represent, and address this issue with a press release after you have sincerely done all these things. Follow up with your colleagues in the federal government about what you learned, or (2) Step out.

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Sincerely,