A conservative activist in Minnesota introduced a resolution last week to “minimize and eliminate the influence of Islam” in the state’s Republican Party.
Jeff Baumann, a notorious anti-Muslim activist in Minnesota’s Senate District 36, also urged in the resolution that “no Islamic leader, religious or otherwise, shall ever be allowed to deliver the invocation at any Republican convention or event.”
The resolution further called for “legislation, policies, and educational programs [to] be implemented... so as to evermore minimize and eliminate the influence of Islam within Minnesota, including Minnesota schools.”
Baumann presented the resolution at a caucus meeting in Coon Rapids, a suburb of Minneapolis. It’s unclear whether the resolution will pass there, but it appears to have failed in other districts, according to Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the local Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Reached by phone Monday, Baumann argued that “there is a natural tension” between Islam and the U.S. Constitution, calling the religion a “collective” where there is “very little room for Muslims to have independent thought.” He also said Muslim-Americans currently involved in politics are “dishonest.”
“I believe that what I am saying is correct. I believe what I’m saying is not hateful, not ignorant and not bigoted,” Baumann told HuffPost. “It is my job to help persuade you to come over to my way of thinking.”
Baumann claimed that Muslims have a “fundamentally different vision for how society and governments should be organized,” and that the future of Muslim-Americans in leadership positions would be one of “civil war, genocide, concentration camps and other horrible, horrible things.”
Jennifer Carnahan, chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We believe this is the resurgence to the hoodless KKK,” Hussein told HuffPost. “This is not acceptable behavior. Him and others really are a threat to our democracy. If unchecked, these individuals can sway individual members of [the] party.”
In the past, Baumann has spoken against building mosques in Minnesota, describing it as “treason” and “aiding the enemy.”
His resolution comes at a moment of acute prejudice against Muslims in the North Star State. Recently, two Republican state lawmakers and a local GOP official in Minnesota came under fire for reportedly sharing a Facebook post that accused Muslims of preparing to “infiltrate” the party’s caucuses, after a group of Muslims had attended a caucus training session held at a local mosque.
Jeff Johnson, a leading Republican candidate for Minnesota governor, defended the GOP lawmakers in a conservative podcast earlier this month. “There are some here who are trying to change what America is,” he said. “And we can’t allow that.”
Phillip Parrish, another Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota, claimed earlier this year that the Islamic State militant group was “the true representation of Islam,” and that the religion of more than 1.6 billion people is “ultimately not a faith” and “fundamentally incompatible with U.S. law.”
Anti-Muslim activists often depict Sharia, or Islamic law, as a brutal judicial system that Muslims want to institute in place of the U.S. Constitution. In reality, though, no national Muslim organization has ever called for Sharia to supercede American courts, nor have American Muslims demanded such a change.
As it happens, one of the two Muslims currently serving in Congress, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, is from Minnesota. (The other, Democratic Rep. Andre Carson, is from Indiana.)
As of Monday afternoon, there had been no reports of civil war, genocide or concentration camps in Ellison’s district.
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