In a strongly-worded statement today, the Congressional Tri-Caucus, which represents three minority caucuses, denounced a call by four GOP lawmakers for an investigation into whether Muslim “intern spies” have infiltrated the Hill.
“These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of ‘un-American’ agitators were identified,” said Reps. Michael Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). They are the chairs of the Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Black Caucus, and the Hispanic Caucus, respectively.The statement names the four Republican members who yesterday filed a formal request with the sergeant at arms to look into whether the Council on American Islamic Relations, which they claim is tied to Hamas, has planted interns on national security committees. The charge is based on a book called Muslim Mafia, written by a man who the Tri-Caucus labels “an anti-Islamic activist.”
The Tri-Caucus statement says: “The idea that we should investigate Muslim interns as spies is a blow to the very principle of religious freedom that our founding fathers cherished so dearly.”
Here’s the full statement, which was released on behalf of the entire caucus:
Four of our colleagues, Reps. John Shadegg (AZ), Paul Broun (GA), Trent Franks (AZ) and Sue Myrick (NC) recently requested that the House Sergeant at Arms to launch an investigation of the civil rights group CAIR, or Council on American-Islamic Relations, to determine whether it was placing staff and interns in key Congressional offices who they fear are acting as “spies.”
This proposed investigation coincides with the launch of a book by Dave Gaubatz, an anti-Islamic activist and author of the book “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America.” It features an introduction by Rep. Myrick, and was written after Gaubatz posed as an intern at CAIR in an effort to “infiltrate” the group.
These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of “un-American” agitators were identified. We should be affirming the importance of diversity and tolerance for all interns and staff who serve in Congress without suspicion of being identified as “spies.”
The idea that we should investigate Muslim interns as spies is a blow to the very principle of religious freedom that our founding fathers cherished so dearly. If anything, we should be encouraging all Americans to engage in the U.S. political process; to take part in, and to contribute to, the great democratic experiment that is America.
We all have experienced the sting of discrimination and we know that there will be challenges ahead. But our message should be firm that the America we believe in welcomes people of all backgrounds to the U.S. Congress.
We ask these charges be disavowed and we issue a hearty welcome to interns and staff of all creeds, color, ethnicities and sexual orientation.