Ellison’s 9/11

In advance of the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, the Washington Post opened its pages to Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison for a column under the headline “I’m the first Muslim in Congress. I believe America can beat Islamophobia.” It’s another manifestation of the phenomenon John wrote about in “The true significance of September 11….”

Ellison doesn’t have much to say about the association of terrorism and any form of Islam. In his opening sentence he refers to “terrorists claiming to act in the name of Islam.” Any relation between Muslims and terrorism is purely coincidental.

Ellison declares that “it feels like Muslims face more hatred in 2016 than on Sept. 11, 2001.” His evidence is sparse. Ellison seeks to characterize as “anti-Muslim hate speech” those who advocate public policies with which he disagrees. (The headline to the contrary notwithstanding, Ellison doesn’t actually use the term “Islamophobia.”)

Characterizing policy views with which one disagrees as “hate speech” is nice work if you can get it. It has become one of the key plays in the Democratic playbook. Hillary’s Clinton’s “basket of deplorable” reduced it to its essence. It’s a useful device to avoid debate and stigmatize your political opponents as beyond the pale.

What is “anti-Muslim hate speech”? Observations such as this about Islam would certainly subject one to Ellison’s condemnation as a bigot: “[It] preached separation, which was the same message preached by the Ku Klux Klan.” Or this: “In [it], if you’re not angry in opposition to some group of people (whites, Jews, so-called ‘sellout’ blacks), you don’t have religion.”

These are Ellison’s own statements about the Nation of Islam in his 2014 memoir. Ellison conceals that his view of the Nation of Islam is based on his personal experience as a member and advocate of the cult, but it certainly is. Nevertheless, Ellison’s view might even be enough to get him called out for Nation of Islamophobia on the opinion pages of the Washington Post.