CAIRO – Allegations by a Republican representative that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the administration of President Barack Obama are inviting a storm of rebukes as the latest sign of growing Islamophobia in the United States, The Washington Post reported Thursday, July 19.
Michele Bachmann’s accusations "reflect a general pattern of Islamophobia that touches too many areas of our society," Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said.
"Allegations such as these by members of Congress add legitimacy to this distressing trend."
Republican representative Bachmann has claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the Obama administration.
She cited Huma Abedin, an American Muslim who is a close aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as an example of the Brotherhood infiltration into the US government.
Bachmann argued that Abedin is part of a conspiracy by the Muslim Brotherhood to influence US foreign policy to advance Islamist causes.
She joined four other fellow Republicans in sending letters to five government agencies about deep Islamist penetration in the US government.
"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,” Bachmann said in a statement.
She cited a recent visit by an Egyptian lawmaker from Al-Gamaa Islamiya, which Washington classifies as a "terrorist group", to the United States and his talks with US officials as a sign of the Islamist infiltration into the government.
"This is just the latest example of the dangerous national security decisions made by the Obama administration,” Bachmann said.
"I will not be silent as this administration appeases our enemies instead of telling the truth about the threats our country faces."
Established in 1928 in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is the most powerful political force in Egypt.
The group has emerged as the most powerful group after last year's revolution that ousted autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.
Brotherhood's candidate Mohamed Morsi was elected Egypt's president last month in the country's first free democratic election.
American lawmakers criticized the Republican representative for fuelling anti-Muslim sentiments without substantial evidence.
"Your response simply rehashes claims that have existed for years on anti-Muslim websites and contains no reliable information that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the US government," Democratic Representative Keith Ellison wrote in a letter to Bachmann.
Ellison, the first Muslim Congressman, stressed that the Republican representative was using the accusations for "political gains".
Christina Warner, director of the interfaith organization Shoulder-to-Shoulder, was also critical.
The Bachmann letters "asking for investigations of American Muslims are cause for concern and give an undeserved and harmful platform to fringe accusations."
Since 9/11, Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing their faith.
Anti-Muslim sentiments sharply grew in the United States over plans to build a mosque near the 9/11 site in New York, resulting in attacks on Muslims and their property.
A recent report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California said that Islamophobia is on the rise in the US.
A US survey has also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
Republican Senator John McCain also dismissed accusations against Clinton's Muslim aide and allegations of Islamist infiltration into the US government.
"These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the United States in any way,” McCain said.
"These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now.
McCain said that Huma is a success story of Muslim immigrants in the United States.
“Put simply, Huma represents what is best about America: the daughter of immigrants, who has risen to the highest levels of our government on the basis of her substantial personal merit and her abiding commitment to the American ideals that she embodies so fully,” he said.
“I am proud to know Huma and to call her my friend.”
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