Tancredo's "off-cuff" talk off the wall

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by -Cp, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. -Cp

    -Cp Senior Member

    Sep 23, 2004
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    Tancredo's "off-cuff" talk off the wall
    By Diane Carman
    Denver Post Columnist

    Colorado U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo was just talking "off-cuff." It was "an extremely hypothetical situation." Everybody knows he's the kind of guy who "thinks out loud."

    I was positively dizzy from the spin.

    It was as if press secretary Will Adams was channeling Scott McClellan.

    "You're talking about bombing Mecca," the WFLA-AM talk-show host in Florida said to Tancredo on Friday. "Yeah," said the Littleton Republican, who's never been accused of sensitivity.

    Adams tried to equivocate: There's a "widespread misconception about what he said. Congressman Tancredo is not advocating bombing Mecca or Medina or anybody's holy site."

    Next up: a discussion of what the meaning of "yeah" is.

    Still, rumors aside, Tancredo reportedly was not sharing a bunker with Karl Rove. Officially, he was unavailable to comment because he was on a plane.

    "He'll be circling Denver," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, who was livid about the congressman's remarks.

    The liberal media, meanwhile, stretched to its limits by the demands of saturation coverage of the release of a new Harry Potter book, has been slow to pick up the story.

    But the interview can be heard on the WFLA website. Tancredo clearly told a conservative talk-show host that if terrorists attempted a nuclear attack on the United States, "and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites."

    Rafaat Ludin, president of the Colorado Muslim Society, said his organization sent a letter to Tancredo demanding a meeting.

    "I think an apology is due to all Muslims in America and around the world, and particularly to the Muslims he represents," he said.

    Tancredo's statements are "very serious and can cause significant hazards to all Americans," Ludin said. "We would like our representative, the person who represents a significant portion of our community, to pay special attention to the words and policies he puts forth."

    Hooper called Tancredo's comments "irresponsible and inflammatory."

    "They only serve to fuel the negative perception of the U.S. in the Muslim world," he said.

    He described Mecca as "the spiritual focal point of the Islamic faith." While some terrorists may claim

    to be acting in the name of Islam, "99.99999 percent of Muslims don't even come close to an act of violence" unless it is as victims.
    To threaten to attack a symbol of peace and holiness to millions all over the world is "unworthy of an elected official," Hooper said.

    He wants an apology. "Clarification through a press secretary is woefully insufficient."

    But Adams said not to expect an amends anytime soon.

    "The statements understood in proper context don't require an apology," he said, "and we're not going to give one."

    It's a rather belligerent stand for a guy who on Thursday, the day before his "take out their holy sites" remark, issued a press release in which he "demanded an immediate apology and unequivocal repudiation" from the Chinese over loose-lipped nuke talk from a government official.

    Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, dean at China's National Defense University, had told a group of reporters: "If the Americans draw their missiles and position- guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons. If the Americans are determined to interfere ... we will be determined to respond."

    Tancredo didn't just criticize the official making the comment, he ridiculed the whole country.

    "For a senior government official to exhibit such tremendous stupidity by making such a brazen threat is hardly characteristic of a modern nation," he said.


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