In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, conservative bigots across the South began targeting Muslims and punishing them for the atrocities their religious kinsman committed on the other side of the world. There have been two Islamophobic hate crimes a day since the Paris attacks; some have sent bullets into mosque walls or attacked innocent women on the street in an alarming rise in violence. Armed protesters in Irving, Texas, have been terrorizing local mosques and their faithful, ostensibly in “opposition” to the President’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in America. Governor Abbott has sued to prevent six refugees from being resettled in his state, despite the little fact that the U.S. Constitution mandates that he cannot disobey the federal government on this issue.
As Republican front-runner Donald Trump makes casual quips about murdering women and children in Iraq, firebrand extremist Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and the rest of the GOP presidential field continue to stir up anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant sentiment in across the nation. Heeding their call, a Texas Ku Klux Klan chapter has decided to hold their own rally in protest of the refugee resettlement plan. The Texas Rebel Knights have scheduled an anti-refugee rally in Irving, Texas, the same town where a Muslim teenager was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school – and just miles from where professional hatemonger Pamela Geller held a deliberately provocative cartoon contest for whoever drew the most offensive caricature of the Prophet Mohammed (عليه السلام). It’s also the same town where conservatives freaked out over debunked rumors that local mosques were holding sharia (Islamic religious law) courts.
Little information is given about the rally at this point, but the website of the Rebel Knights leaves little to the imagination:
The Texas Rebel Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is an organization that stands for the preservation, protection and advancement of the white christian race.
“O God, bless the Klansman that he may fight to keep America free from ungodly things forever more, and their race as pure as the lily of the valley. God bless the Klansman, his home, his family, and his country. Above all, God, bless those who hate the Klan, for they know not what they do with their brainwashed minds, Amen.”
A counter-protest by anti-hate groups is already being arranged, according to the Houston Chronicle. One would think that the Republicans might be reconsidering their narrative and rhetoric now that America’s most notorious white supremacy group has espoused those same hateful ideas, but since fear-mongering and division are all they have to offer in lieu of any real policy proposals, it’s unlikely. We absolutely must put a stop to the discriminatory currents that are making their way into mainstream discourse. Our nation was built by immigrants and refugees, seeking a new life and opportunity, to leave the terror and poverty they previously endured behind. The Syrian refugees have just as much of a right to live here as any of us do; we must not succumb to fear and turn our backs on those that need our help the most.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.