Torgerson's Ellison comments bring right-wing echo chamber calling
When you launch an independent campaign to unseat the first American Muslim to ever hold a seat in Congress, and you introduce yourself to the public by saying the guy is unfit for office by tarring him with a guilt-by-association link to Islamic militants, it's only a matter of time before right-wing Christians with a persecution complex come calling, looking for some action.
And so, over the weekend, Lynn Torgerson was interviewed by a couple of people most folks have never heard of, Babe Huggett and Warner Todd Huston, in an online-only broadcast from BlogTalkRadio called "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Conservatism." What ensued was ensued was a journey through the two hosts' dark paranoia.
Sometimes Torgerson went there with them, sometimes she didn't. Mostly, she had a hard time getting a word in edgewise, as the hosts gradually steered her away from her criticisms of incumbent 5th District Rep. Keith Ellison, and towards an endless attack on Islam. Here are a few highlights:
Ellison and the Council on American Muslim Relations
Torgerson: "He has been a person who has regularly appeared at their fundraisers and CAIR regularly appears at Keith Ellison's fundraisers. So here we have an elected federal official with too close of ties to a named co-conspirator organization funding terrorism."
Note: A Texas jury convicted five Holy Land Foundation organizers in 2008 of funneling money to the Palestinian group Hamas, which the U.S. government has labeled a terrorist organization. CAIR was listed as unindicted co-conspirator in that case, but the link is used by right-wing activists, lawmakers and journalists to paint CAIR as a terrorist front -- an accusation the group vehemntley denies.
Ellison has supported CAIR group and spoken at its gatherings aimed at generating better understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. He has known the group's leader since the two were at college together, and has received campaign donations from some CAIR members.
Haggett: Muslims "squeal and they scream for tolerance. And if you criticize them, they immediately accuse you of bigotry. Yet they are the most intolerant of people, correct, when it comes to their religion? They consider themselves superior and either you've got to convert or die."
Torgerson: "I think we have to be careful. There do exist moderate Muslims."
Haggett: "Here's the problem with moderate Muslims. As long as they are 1 percent or less of the population in any given area, they can be such model citizens. They can be wonderful. They're just nice and sweet and everything. And then when their numbers increase, to like 2 to 5 percent, they start proselytizing, and then they start pushing, and at 5 percent they get more aggressive. And when you get to 10 percent, like they have in France right now, that's when the riots start. that's when the lawlessness starts. That's when the burning of cars starts -- you know its winter season because that's when the cars are going up in flames. ... Should we allow unlimited immigration of Muslms into this country? I don't think so."
Torgerson: "Right. I would agree with that position. These are very difficult issues to address. But I do think we do need to limit immigration."
Haggett: "We have to be very careful about letting Muslims in because unfortunately a good Muslim is forbidden by the Koran to live among the infidels unless he intends on using (his) demographics to convert the area he moves to to Islam. So, what do you see as the threat of Islamic sharia law getting established here, because in the UK they've had massive Islamic immigration and you start getting Islamic no-go zones where people who are not Muslims literally take their lives in their hands going into these areas. Like firemen. Like ambulance people. They get attacked because they're not Muslims."
Huston: "Not only that, but these same communities start pushing for a parallel set of laws. They want to have their own courts. They want to settle their own issues. And unfortunately England has allowed this to happen."
Torgerson: "Yes, clearly we cannot have in the United States separate sharia courts and separate sharia law. This particular form of radical Islam that cannot be practiced in the United States. All people, no matter what their religion or nationality, in the U.S. have to be subject to the U.S. Constitution."
Haggett: "To me, Islam is a religio-political death cult. So how do you manage to divorce the politics from the religion. Because essentially anytime it imposes its will through sharia it goes from being a religion that somebody practices, you know, within their religious community to a political statement. And that's the whole aim of Islam, to be dominant in all areas, including politics."
Torgerson: "These are very difficult issues I think to even grasp and then to formulate into words."
Haggett: "If Islam is so antithetical to the American political system, why are men like Keith Ellison running for, and getting into office? Are they trying to subvert us from within?"
Torgerson: "I'm not sure."
Note: Later, when asked why she stalled on that answer, she said she hadn't ever thought about whether Ellison's faith is actually trying to subvert us from within and added that no evidence of any such nefarious plot actually exists. Torgerson has hinted before of some shadowy effort by Muslims to take over the world. But, maybe because she's a lawyer and sensed too many assertions masquerading as questions wrapped into one, Torgerson balked in the interview with Haggett.
Haggett: "It doesn't matter what your background is. The first time that anyone -- you could be a saint, you could walk on water -- the first time you say something a Muslim doesn't like, they'll immediately shout "bigotry" at you. I mean, it's just the way they work. As a lawyer, what are your thoughts on the Islamic practice of Muslims using lawfare (sic) in their cultural jihad to overthrow western civilization in general and America in particular?"
Torgerson: "Did you say 'lawfare?'"
Haggett: "'Lawfare.' It is a thing that Muslims do -- especially the cultural jihadists -- when they want to get sharia established, they'll start bringing lawsuits. It can be the most frivolous lawsuits. It doesn't matter. But they will bring lawsuits against anybody who speaks out against them, or like the wearing of the hijab. My research has shown that the muslim veil, that the women wear, is not a requirement in their religion. Yet they will force the issue and claim it is, and then sue if you try to say, 'no, you can't wear that in here,' because it establishes a hostile atmosphere for other muslim women who do not wear it. Right?"
Torgerson: "With regard to the law I think we need to do exactly what we are doing, which is expose what this radicalized form of Islam is trying to accomplish and how the are trying to accomplish it. One is through terrorism and one is through culture. And to expose that is to bring to light the infringements on, I think, our freedoms of speech. We need to educate America that this is not a left or right issue."
Haggett: "The head of CAIR wants sharia law to sub-plant the Constitution."
Torgerson: "Yes I believe that statement has been attributed to Ibrahim Hooper"
Note: Nihad Awad is the Executive Director and co-founder of CAIR. Hooper is CAIR's national communications director. A Muslim convert, he once worked as a worked as a news producer at KSTP-TV.