Although investigators are still searching for possible terrorist links, right wingers quickly jumped in to cash in on the attacker’s Muslim identity by coming up with what The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called "reckless" anti-Islam proposals.
The United States’ largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group called on national political and religious leaders to reject Islamophobic suggestions recently put forward by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), former NATO Commander Gen. Wesley Clark and Christian evangelist and missionary Franklin Graham.
In the wake of the tragedy in Tennessee, 2016 presidential hopeful Paul – notorious for his Muslim-bashing speeches – wants to restrict immigration from Muslim countries.
“I’m very concerned about immigration to this country from countries that have hotbeds of jihadism and hotbeds of this Islamism. There was a program in place that Bush had put in place—it stood for entry-exit program from about 25 different countries with a lot of Islamic radicals, frankly. I think there does need to be heightened security. Nobody has a right to come to America, so this isn’t something that we can say ‘oh their rights are being violated,’” he said during an interview with Breitbart News.
Clark, a celebrated and controversial retired general, suggested “disloyal Americans” like Abdulazeez should be put in internment camps for the “duration” of the war on terror.
“We have got to identify the people who are most likely to be radicalized. We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning,” he stated in an interview with MSNBC. “On a national policy level, we need to look at what self-radicalization means, because we are at war with this group of terrorists.”
CAIR noted that Clark used the term "self-radicalized" as coded language for American Muslims, before calling for their segregation from the “normal community.”
Despite no evidence – yet – linking Abdulazeez to any Islamist group, noted televangelist and bigot Graham, who previously referred to Islam as a “religion of war,” tarred all Muslims with the same brush in an incendiary Facebook post.
"Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized--and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad. During World War 2, we didn't allow Japanese to immigrate to America, nor did we allow Germans. Why are we allowing Muslims now? Do you agree? Let your Congressman know that we've got to put a stop to this and close the flood gates."
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Terrorist or lone wolf, Abdulazeez’s actions were inhumane. They are unforgiveable. However, cashing in on his religious affiliation to target an already misunderstood community is equally worse, if not more.