In a press release, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) welcomed what it called "the rejection of Islamophobic candidates by voters nationwide." This followed the re-election of President Barack Obama, a professing Christians, who has long been rumored to be a Muslim in secret. CAIR focused on the electoral defeat of Rep. Allen West (R), who the group quoted as saying that Islam is not a religion but is instead a "totalitarian theocratic political ideology" that is a "very vile and very vicious enemy," was defeated by a narrow margin.
Also in Florida, State Representative Adam Hasner (R) was defeated in his bid for Congress. Hasner once co-hosted an event featuring Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders that was also sponsored by the person CAIR characterized as an "Anti-Muslim hate group leader" Pamela Geller - blogger who frequently writes about terrorism and the persecution of Christians in Muslim lands. CAIR criticized Hasner for blocking "Florida Muslim Capitol Day" in 2009.
CAIR also applauded the defeat of Florida man, Terry Kemple, who lost his campaign for the Hillsborough County School Board. The CAIR release stated, "Kemple's main issue in the race was seeking to keep Muslim speakers out of local schools."
In Illinois, Rep. Joe Walsh (R) was defeated in his re-election bid. CAIR claims that during the campaign this year, when a town hall meeting attendee told him that he was "looking for some godly men and women in the Senate, in the Congress, who will stand in the face of the danger of Islam," Walsh supposedly "left the door open for suspicion of every Muslim living in Illinois" when he said that Islamism is more of a threat "now that it was right after 9/11" and "It's here. It's in Elk Grove. It's in Addison. It's in Elgin. It's here."
In Arkansas, Rep. James McLean defeated Republican Charlie Fuqua, a candidate who advocated the deportation of all Muslims in a self-published book.
In Minnesota, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) lost his seat. According to CAIR, Cravaack was a key supporter of Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) series of "anti-Muslim hearings."
"These encouraging results clearly show that mainstream Americans reject anti-Muslim bigotry by candidates for public office and will demonstrate that rejection at the polls," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "This election witnessed an increased political awareness and mobilization effort among American Muslims that dealt a major blow to the Islamophobia machine." Awad was also apparently gleeful that Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), a failed presidential candidate, retained her seat by only a narrow margin. The CAIR statement said that the Republican had "led a witch hunt against Muslims serving in the government,..."
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.