An assault on religious freedom and decency

If true, this is very sad news for our Republican friends, and even more so for Loudoun County. Several local Republican activists report receiving an email calling for some sort of anti-Muslim demonstration – tonight, at the Government Center in Leesburg – in protest of a campaign event for David Ramadan. Ramadan is a well-known Republican running for the proposed 87th House district. The rhetoric suggests something similar to the protest captured in this video:

Ramadan is being described as a “solid conservative” by an otherwise rather diverse assortment of Loudoun conservative activists. One could only imagine how beyond the pale those behind this “ANTI-SHARIAH TASK FORCE” must be – except that the names Dick Black and his apparent tea party acolyte Joann Chase (also vying for the 87th seat) are mentioned in the email.

Ramadan’s crime seems only to be that he has objected to the manufactured anti-Muslim sentiment around the proposed Cordoba House in lower Manhattan (erroneously referred to as a “mosque at Ground Zero” when it is neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero). He finds, not surprisingly, that it interferes with his efforts to do outreach in the Muslim community. Here is what he said, via TPM:

“We’ve been working hard, some Muslim Americans, some non-Muslims, to keep the Muslim American community and other minorities on the party side, to keep relationships going,” says David Ramadan, a Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. “All of that is threatened to be thrown down the drain.”

“Most of [that work] is at risk, if not all,” Ramadan told TPM. “How can I, an operative of the Republican party of Virginia that goes out and holds events for candidates, how can I go out to the Muslims of Loudoun County… how can I go out today in good faith and say I’d like to invite you to a Republican event, or to a candidate event on a Republican event who shares your values? Who’s going to give me a dollar today? Who’s going to give me a dollar when Republicans are comparing Muslims in general to Nazis?… Excuse me! My mother is not a Nazi!”

He seems to be doing his best to undo the damage done by a hysterical red meat smear campaign that has spun out of control:

“I really think it was not coordinated,” says Ramadan. “I truly believe this [the anti-Cordoba House campaign] started out on a couple blogs, people went against it. One way or another it got to Speaker Gingrich and Governor Palin. They didn’t really think hard about or strategize on. It took off. After that it was a slippery slope. But they didn’t back out and used it to take shots against the President…and now it’s too late.”

The anti-Muslim activists have been circulating this call to demonstrate tonight around the region. We’ll see tonight who shows up. Whoever it is, this will be a singularly shameful moment in Loudoun politics.

Here is the blog announcement of the protest:


Jim Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force emails “Here is the time and location of the Loudon County Republican Central Committee meeting where Grover Norquist will appear to announce the candidacy of David Ramadan for the 87th District House of Delegates seat. Please be there around 7 p.m. and bring a sign. Date/time: Apr 14, 2011 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Loudoun County Government Center.Board of Supervisors Room 1 Harrison St, Leesburg, VA 20175.

Dick Black emails that “I have endorsed Joann Chase, who is running against Ramadan.”

25 thoughts on “An assault on religious freedom and decency

  1. Liz Miller

    The thought that Cordoba House could in any way be disrespectful to the memory of the people who died on 9/11 just by existing within several blocks of the site is laughable.

    A reminder of what currently exists and has existed in closer proximity to ground zero than Cordoba House.

    Mr. Moseley, you need a refresher course in what America, and more specifically, New York City, is about. It’s about living next door to people who live differently from you, but are still your neighbors. And we all know what Jesus said about neighbors, right?

  2. Epluribusunum Post author

    Religious bigotry – any bigotry – is odious. That’s not something that will be subject to debate here.

    Further, in your very first paragraph you display a commonly repeated right wing misconception: That mere criticism somehow constitutes interference with your First Amendment rights. There is no “right” to be free from criticism, disagreement or ridicule.

    The rest of your screed contains not a bit of original thought, but is recycled talk radio propaganda one can hear every day of the week. It’s almost entirely composed of falsehoods designed to raise money from the perpetually outraged (not unlike an ED fundraising letter, come to think of it), for example, the idea that Cordoba House is a “mosque” at all. Serious engagement with unserious ideas is not possible.

  3. Joanthon Moseley

    I fail to see what exactly is objectionable about this protest? Other than the liberal tendency to trample on the First Amendment and free speech, what is there to object to? What would anyone condemn about this exercise of free speech?

    David Imad Ramadan advocated for a mosque to be built at Ground Zero. The law in New York City had to be CHANGED to allow the establishment of that propaganda and indoctrination center at Ground Zero, where about 2,500 of the 3,000 killed on 9/11 perished. That building was hit by pieces of the airplanes that destroyed the World Trade Center. It should be a memorial to those murdered, not to those who murdered them.

    I don’t care if Ramadan is a Baptist. If a political candidate takes a public position on a matter of public concern, it is entirely fair for others to speak out in opposition. What is hateful about opposing Ramadan’s public activisim?

    Indeed, the Cordobba House is an “in your face” act of colonization by radical Islam. There is no “legitimate” religious need for it. There are other mosques, and insufficient Islamic population in Manhattan to support another one. The purpose of the Ground Zero mosque is for radical Islam to do a victory dance in the end zone and give a “high five” to the terrorists. The Cordobba House is a political project, not a religious one. Again, there are already more mosques than needed to support New York City’s thin Muslim population. It is the wrong place to put a mosque to serve any religious purpose.

    Again, New York City law had to be *CHANGED* to allow the victory mosque project to go forward. New York City’s government had to take government action to make the victory mosque possible.

    I don’t care if Ramadan is a Baptist. His advocacy for the victory mosque is a legitimate political issue. A candidate cannot expect to take a public stand on an issue of importance and concern and not answer for it.

    Furthermore, sharia law is a system of government. Islam is a religion. By contrast, Sharia law is a governmental system rooted in Arab culture — often unrelated to the Koran.

  4. Pingback: Questions For David Ramadan On Competence, Honesty, Grover Norquist, the Ground Zero Mosque and Sharia | novatownhall blog

  5. Jonathan

    Let’s use our so-called “moderate” Congressman Frank Wolf as a benchmark. Wolf consistently receives 100% ratings and endorsements from the rent-boy hate group otherwise known as the Family Research Council (FRC). And guess what? The two Congressmen in the video are also darlings of the FRC.

    FRC PAC endorses Ed Royce

    FRC gives Gary Miller a perfect score.

  6. Pingback: The new “normal” – Loudoun Progress

  7. Joe Budzinski

    I did not see anyone I recognized among the protesters when they assembled around 7 pm. As people arrived for the LCRC meeting some walked over to that group, including a reporter (the woman in the green shirt) and a photographer guy who is at all the political events. It is certainly possible that some LCRC people intended to join the protest and stood around with them. From where we were sitting (on the park bench nearest the street, focused mainly on our candy bars) it seemed like it was the original 17 who were doing the periodic chanting and waving of signs.

  8. The Shadow (redux)

    My question is; if folks are out-of-towners than who brought/invited them to Loudoun for the LCRC meeting?

    While I agree that silence does not always equal approval, but the perception is this group is linked to the LCRC. If that is not the case than leadership of the LCRC should have denounced this protest, other wise perception becomes reality.

  9. Epluribusunum Post author

    I’ll of course take their word for it, too. I thought this woman (talking to the man in the suit) was a member, but I may be wrong.

    For the most part, people just walked by and looked, and I’m not trying to make it look otherwise. This was one of the exceptions, and the only one who seemed to actually join the protest as opposed to just stopping for conversation.

  10. Barbara Munsey

    I understand “the silence of the good people” and what it can produce.

    And I thank you for agreeing that personal perception can differ–I’ve been thinking about Rashomon lately, and how the concept is applicable to pretty much any event.

    I don’t know if anyone who belongs to the LCRC was protesting. Joe B. posted something last night at TC, and if people who currently belong didn’t recognize anyone, I’d have to take their word for it, since I don’t belong and don’t know everyone who does.

  11. Barbara Munsey

    David, is it possible that you saw people you don’t like (Jack) greeting the out of county people (if true they were from Fauquier, maybe people he hadn’t seen in a while), as opposed to approving of what they were there doing?

    I know on your scale you would have preferred to see active denouncement, but not joining in is also not public support by the absence of denouncement.

    Did you actively denounce or counter protest, or observe?

    Not judging, just asking.

    Absence of a specific positive is not necessarily congruent with an active negative, i.e. “delight” with their presence, implying support of the protest.

  12. Epluribusunum Post author

    What Shadow said. After being in proximity to these people last night I needed a long, hot shower, and my kneejerk reaction was to be dismissive, hence my “you didn’t miss much” comment. As far as I’m aware, only one of the actual protesters was an LCRC member. On the other hand, many others were friendly with the protesters, stopping to chat and hang out with them as if they were not engaged in an activity worthy of being renounced. Jack Shockey was downright effusive, seemingly delighted with their presence.

    This is not to say that I think the LCRC folks at large agree with this hate group. The ones in charge of image management are running away as fast as they can, and who could blame them. But the idea that they are all horrified and want nothing to do with this un-American movement is not what we witnessed last night. Sorry to say.

  13. Barbara Munsey

    I have heard from more than one person that JoAnn is out of town this week, so in a way I’m glad you didn’t get an answer.

    If she has been out of town and still is, please consider that anonymous claims connecting her are nearly as hurtfully opportunistic toward her as people assuming David is some kind of stealth jihadi because of his last name, and Grover Norquist.

  14. Stevens Miller

    I would have been there, but I had to pick up my son from after-school, because my wife was at a CSB meeting.

    I did try calling Joann Chase first, to suggest this wasn’t a place for her to be, but didn’t get an answer. I’ve met her at polling places, back-to-school nights, and community meetings. Our politics are pretty much opposites, but she always maintains a courteous demeanor. I would hope this wasn’t her kind of thing.

    Even if we’re on different teams, I see those of us who participate respectfully in the democratic process as being after the same thing in the end: what’s best for our community. An event like this has no role in that process, and respectful participants have no role in an event like this.

    (I also alerted the local press.)

  15. The Shadow (redux)

    I just posted on TC, but I felt it was important to cut and paste here for the readers of LP. The context of my post, I was responding to Lloyd

    From TC:
    I am curious (and I am not trying to stir the bee hive), why is it when people question the fear/hate mongering do people immediately say “xwyz is a Republican/Democrat…and more importantly a true American”.
    I think it’s this type of polarizing rhetoric that feeds the my party is more American than your political party.
    I don’t have a dog in this fight – other than I absolutely hate any type of Muslim-phobia/fear mongering. It is hurtful, toxic and highly destructive, not the least of which IMHO: about the most unAmerican thing I have encountered.

  16. Liz Miller

    I am going to be at a CSB meeting, or I would turn out to support Mr. Ramadan, (whom I’ve never met, and even though I’m supporting Mike Kondratick in the general, of course).

    I hope that, even though Mr. Ramadan’s event is a Republican Campaign event, some Dems show up to prove that the protesters don’t represent Loudoun.

  17. Barbara Munsey

    I’m sorry David, I meant the pseudonymous poster on the tc thread who said JoAnn and her campaign manager have been all over it, and referenced the protest.

    I wasn’t talking about the Falkner email, although I did receive that too, as a fwd from a variety of folks with a “what is this?”

    The out of town makes a difference in that if she IS, then anonymous claims that she’ll be protesting lose some wind.

    I have no evidence that JoAnn has sent anything about this. I received a call from JoAnn a couple of weeks ago, and she told me she was calling people in the district to let them know she was considering running. It was pretty standard, in that she discussed why she wanted to run and the issues that were important to her, and the only thing she said about any other candidates was that she had heard of a couple of people who were also considering it.

    She said nothing to me on the phone that was disparaging about anyone, and I have received no email from her regarding this issue. The ONLY email I received from her since our phone conversation was a short one including a list of the precincts included in the new 87th.

    I did read the Blue Ridge forum post, and again I see it primarily focused on Norquist, and the fact that if David has an Arabic last name, well,…

    As I said, I think things will just get crazier as November approaches.

  18. Epluribusunum Post author

    Thank you. This makes me sick. Some of the finest people I know are from our local Muslim community. It shouldn’t be their responsibility alone to respond to and defend themselves from this crap.

  19. The Shadow (redux)

    I’d like to see the GOP/LCRC candidates come out and renounce this type of hate/fear mongering.

    The Muslims who are my neighbors and friends are some of the most caring, patriotic and respectful people I know.

    This type of hate rhetoric has NO place in Loudoun politics.

  20. Epluribusunum Post author

    I don’t get the part about the anonymous commenter starting the rumor – it’s the author of the blog post, Richard Falknor, who seems to be proudly linking this with Joann and Dick Black. I don’t know who this guy is, but if he didn’t want to connect his candidates to this obscenity he should have at least put the endorsement update in a separate post. It looks very much to me like he was making a deliberate association. I have never heard of this Blue Ridge Forum group before, but the principal author seems to be a fairly experienced guy, and he lives in Loudoun County.

    So you don’t think it’s true that Joann Chase (or her manager) has shared with anyone the information about the protest, or that she is supportive of it? Her being out of town doesn’t really answer that question.

    Let’s hope this ends with a whimper, as it deserves.

  21. Barbara Munsey

    I doubt it David.

    I think it is more likely that people who actually know David Ramadan are well aware of how much he has contributed to the party over the years, don’t think of him as extreme, and aren’t in the least thrilled to see his campaign kickoff stained with an out of county protest.

    As for JoAnn, if an anonymous commenter strongly implies she’s going to be involved at the protest, and a blog admin calls for her to denounce it, and her campaign manager (reffed by the anonymous poster as “creepy”) comes on under his own name to say she is out of town, which is what some people in the district already knew, I don’t know if it is “attempted distancing” as much as straightening out anonymous mischief making.

    I’ve no doubt that what could be excessively charitably called hijinks at events is only going to get worse as the season progresses.

  22. Epluribusunum Post author

    It does seem as if someone is working hard behind the scenes to quash this embarrassment. That’s just speculation on my part from the comments at TC, though. There certainly seems to be an attempt to protect/distance Joann Chase. This must really be damaging, and I’m glad to see that. To clarify: I’m glad to see that this kind of bigoted garbage is being slunk away from, instead of celebrated. It means they recognize that its capacity for winning votes is limited. Did somebody look at the census data?

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