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Dave Agema, MLive and Islamophobia

September 3, 2011

Today, MLive ran a story about legislation introduced by Rep. Dave Agema, that some are referring to as an anti-Muslim bill.

The legislation that Agema introduced in June is HR Bill 4769. However, the MLive article does not give any information on what the bill states, it only provides a forum for Agema to give his opinion on why he thinks the bill should be adopted.

Agema is using the introduction of this legislation to promote his own brand of Islamophobia, by suggesting that Muslims want to impose their religious laws on the US legal system. Agema’s Islamophobia is right in line with the kind of systemic anti-Muslim hysteria that has been promoted in much of the US mainstream media as has been well documented in a report by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, entitled Smearcasting.

Agema’s use of Islamophobia is also consistent with what has been happening in political circles all across the country. The Center for American Progress just released a report entitled Fear Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America. This report sheds light on those who are financing anti-Muslim sentiment, the front groups, think tanks and politicians who are at the forefront of the Islamophobia effort in the US at the federal level.

Agema even presented information about his anti-Muslim legislation at a Pro-Israel rally held in downtown Grand Rapids last week, a message that fit well into the anti-Islam messages of the other speakers.

The MLive story does provide a counter perspective by citing Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). However, the quote from Walid was just a recycled comment from a previously posted MLive article, which does not provide the same opportunity to respond to this issue in the way that Agema was able to.

There is a more detailed response by Walid in a video statement posted one week ago that you can watch below. Many Muslim groups in the state as well as the Michigan ACLU and the NAACP are calling on people to resist this legislation and there is an online petition people can sign if they oppose HR Bill 4769.

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