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Oct 27 2014

“Lines Drawn”, Civil War In Oklahoma Over Anti-Islam Hysteria

vsflagsBy Will Coley

There is an ideological war raging in the national liberty community, over the the use anti-Muslim animus, and the politics of fear

For the last few months, Oklahoma has been a center of Anti-Muslim hysteria. Long before the unfortunate, and heinous attacks, of the obviously mentally ill Alton Nolen, influential Republicans were hoisting the Anti-Islam banner, and saying all sorts of insane things.

In a statement reminiscent of Hitler’s “The Jews are a cancer on the breast of Germany”, Oklahoma GOP state representative, John Bennett, referred to Islam as “a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out”, in a speech to a group of his constituents.

a line has been drawn between those who want liberty for the elect and those who want liberty for all people.

Craig Dawkins, Liberty on Tap OKC

This however is not the opinion of all of Oklahoma’s “liberty movement”, or republicans.

Over the last few weeks libertarian activists have been forcibly removed by police for defending muslims at an event hosted by Bennett, and anti Islam pastor Paul Blair; written articles and rants condemning the use of anti muslim rhetoric; rescinded nominations for awards because of sponsor (and fellow nominees’) associations with anti muslim agitation; and demanded change or disassociation of groups that engage in anti islam fear baiting…

I spoke to a few Oklahoma liberty activists engaged in this ideological struggle. Craig Dawkins, organizer of Liberty on Tap OKC, and professor of Economics and Personal Finance at Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma, said, “a line has been drawn between those who want liberty for the elect and those who want liberty for all people.”

“…I do not want to be nominated for or receive a “Defenders of Liberty” award that promotes what I see to be a distorted and incomplete and possibly even bigoted definition of Liberty…”

Dax Ewbanks OK GOP Gubernatorial Candidate

When asked what inspired him to make a stand, and work against the use of anti muslim fear baiting, Dawkins stated, “Those who want to use abuse the meaning of liberty do harm to the liberty movement and we have become very cognizant of our affiliations with people who besmirch our goals to promote liberty for all people…If the most intolerant reaches of the GOP felt license to affiliate themselves with the liberty movement, we needed to do some soul searching about what we would not tolerate.”

Chairman Precinct #32,OK County Executive Committee Member, Tina Kelly, in a strongly worded letter to Representative Bennett stated; “As a lover of liberty, I object to the idea of grouping and classifying individuals for the purpose of making judgments on them based on that categorization. No one will argue that evil has been and is being done in the name of Islam, but to take the actions of disturbed fanatics and use it to condemn all Muslims is beyond unjust, it’s unthinkably irresponsible. It is also the height of hypocrisy or at the very least an obvious short sightedness…”

In his letter rescinding his nomination for the Defenders of Liberty Award, OK GOP Gubenatorial candidate Dax Ewbanks said, “I do not find this schism to be an insignificant thing. Some notable voices in the organizations sponsoring this award have recently made statements and defended actions with regard to American Muslims that I cannot support. Recent events have brought to the surface an ugly misrepresentation of not only the Muslim community, but also those who choose to accept them without suspicion. Because these statements have been made by organizers, leaders, and other nominees of this award, I am choosing to distance myself from it, as I do not want to be nominated for or receive a “Defenders of Liberty” award that promotes what I see to be a distorted and incomplete and possibly even bigoted definition of Liberty.

…but the situation in Oklahoma, is merely a microcosm, magnified exponentially, for the ideological civil war being waged across the country by those who identify themselves as part of the “liberty movement”. A separating of the chaff from the wheat so to speak, of those who advocate liberty for themselves, and those who advocate liberty for all. In Tennessee, Florida, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire, Virginia, Michigan, and now Oklahoma, the battle for whose message speaks for the ‘liberty community’, this ideological struggle for control over the public voice of the “liberty movement”, continues.

Who succeeds in this struggle, I guess, is up to you…

1 comment

  1. Phillip Slepian

    I almost agree with Will here(!). It is essential to separate ideological Islam from people of Muslim decent. To carry the Nazi analogy further, I would never suggest that all Germans were a threat to liberty and must be removed like a cancer. But the Nazi ideology – and those who worked to promote it – were indeed a cancer on civilization that should have been, and indeed largely was, cut out.

    Likewise, liberty is wonderful. Freedom is wonderful. And these are made for all Americans. But does liberty extend to those who are working to limit or eliminate the liberty of others? Of course not. The constitution is not a suicide pact. And so, while it is important to defend the liberty of all Americans, it is also important to fight those whose ideologies seek to destroy the very foundations of liberty in America. Nothing I have read here or elsewhere has been able to demonstrate that, when implemented in normative form, Islam will protect, equally, the liberties of those who reject Islam and Mohammed. That inconvenient truth remains, and obfuscating the fight against ideological, normative, Islam with the rights and liberties of Americans who identify with Islam, is a straw man. I highly doubt that if questioned, even the most vocal anti-Islam Americans would deny American civil rights to those of Muslim decent. But when people suggest that liberty should be extended to allow the imposition of Islam on a society, with Islamic law equal or superior to the constitution, and the accompanying classification of citizens by virtue of their religious affiliation (or non-affiliation), the concerns are legitimate and the battle is joined.

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