October 19, 2021

Female lawmaker unafraid to slam ‘Islamic savages’

Female lawmaker unafraid to slam 'Islamic savages'

Female lawmaker unafraid to slam ‘Islamic savages’ California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez

 

A California assemblywoman is refusing to back down after fellow lawmakers and the Council for American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, have demanded she apologize for what they’re calling a “hateful” message she posted on Twitter.

On Feb. 10, after confirmation that American humanitarian aid worker Kayla Mueller was killed by the Islamic State, Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez of Lake Elsinore sent out a tweet calling the murder “gut wrenching”:

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Her use of the hashtag “#standupagainstIslam,” however, has some people up in arms.

Basim Elkarra, executive director of CAIR in Sacramento, characterized the hashtag as “hateful” and called on Melendez to apologize.

“It’s one thing to stand against terrorists,” he told the Sacramento Bee, “but to stand against Islam, the faith of 1.6 billion people worldwide, is another.”

CAIR representative Haroon Manjlai used almost the same talking points in an interview with KABC-TV in Los Angeles: “Hate rhetoric such as this can and does lead to hate crimes and dehumanizes a whole population, and we feel it’s extremely insensitive to say something like this about the faith of 1.6 billion people.”

Melendez, a U.S. Navy veteran, however, has so far refused to apologize.

“It was never my intention to offend peaceful Muslims,” she said in a statement released Feb. 12. “However, I’ve had enough of Islamic extremists and terrorists who oppress women and burn people alive in the modern world. This isn’t about hashtags; it’s about America standing up with our allies and putting an end to the barbaric behavior we are witnessing around the world.”

Sarah Moussa, chair of the California Democratic Party’s Arab-American Caucus, issued a statement of her own on the 12th, asking for Melendez to apologize: “Assemblymember Melissa Melendez’s recent social media comments in response to the murder of Kayla Mueller were profoundly misguided and deeply offensive to people of Islamic faith. In addition, we would like to point out to the Assemblymember that comments painting all members of a single faith with a broad brush have far-reaching consequences that reverberate not only throughout the state, but throughout our nation. The same day that the Assemblywoman posted her offensive tweet, three young, innocent Muslim students were murdered in North Carolina.”

“For those who are trying to make a political issue out of this, that’s very disappointing,” Melendez responded in an interview with KABC.

“I don’t regret sending [the tweet],” Melendez told the station. “Maybe we could have used a different hashtag. We may have been able to do that. But when you read the tweet, it’s about Kayla.”

“I feel bad if any of our Muslim community who with me condemns ISIS and the Taliban and al-Qaida,” she continued, “I feel bad that they may have thought I was including them, because I certainly was not.”

She further told KCAL-TV, Los Angeles, “I served in the Navy, my husband served in the Navy, and we have 34 years of service between us. We spent 34 years defending religious freedom, so anyone who knows me knows I would never condemn someone based on their religion.”

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