The St. Petersburg Times lobs up a softball for the locals in Florida. Unfortunately, like most media hype, this headline ain’t true. When will Muslims running for office in the U.S. start telling the truth about Islam and Islamic history and how jihad is an integral part of it? Until they do, candidates like Hafeez will fall into the CAIR – Islamist camp.
TAMPA — As Z.J. Hafeez worked the room at a recent candidate forum in Tampa, he shook hands with a man who leaned in and peered at his name tag.
“Z. J. Hafeez,” he read slowly. “That’s a funny name.”
Hafeez gets that reaction a lot as he campaigns for the District 67 state House seat that represents parts of Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
People often ask, “Are you American?”
“I tell them I’m American,” Hafeez said. “And then they ask where are you from, and I say the Tampa Bay area. And then they say, ‘No, no. Where are you from?’ So I say, ‘Okay. I was born in England.’ “
He said he knows what they’re really asking: What is your ethnicity or religion?
For the record, Hafeez, 26, is a Muslim of Pakistani descent. He moved to Florida when he was 3 years old with his parents, both physicians, who were born in Pakistan.
He attended public schools, earned a law degree at Georgetown University and now works as a lawyer for a health insurance company.
He describes himself as religious, attending a mosque at least once a week and following the Muslim tradition of praying five times a day.
Hafeez, a Democrat, has downplayed his religion for most of his campaign.
But that changed last week, when it seemed to Hafeez that a terrifying wave of Islamophobia was sweeping America.
He released a statement that talked about America’s principle of religious freedom. He defended Islam, saying it is about “peace and brotherhood, not violence and radicalism.”
“We must not blame Islam or Muslim-Americans for the actions of a small group of radical extremists,” he said.
Muslims the world over use Islam as their justification to attack America and kill Americans. Will Hafeez name the small group of radical extremists? Will he denounce Hamas? Hizbollah? The Muslim Brotherhood? The Brotherhood’s U.S. outfits such as CAIR, ISNA, and MAS?
Will his opponents as him to denounce the small group of radical extremists who have carried out more than 16,000 terrorists attacks in the name of Islam since 9/11? Will anyone in the media have the courage to ask him or will they just ignore reality?
And that terrifying wave of Islamophobia sweeping America? Does Janet Zink and Hafeez mean that in the way that Muslims killed 3,000 Americans in a single day in the name of Islam? Or in the way that since 9/11, Muslims have continued to plot attacks on Americans resulting in a record number of terror incidents in 2009, and a record pace in 2010? Or were they were referring to FBI crime statistics that show anti-Muslim crimes dropped again while anti-Jew/Christian crimes increased?
Nothing like tackling those issues head-on.