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:
UPDATES: ANTI-SHARIAH TASK FORCE COMING TO LCRC THURSDAY; DICK BLACK ENDORSES JO-ANN CHASE IN 87TH DISTRICT RACE.
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.”