Last week, a GOP mailer circulated statewide in Kansas promoting a ferocious brand of nationalistic bigotry, the New Civil Rights Movement reported.
According to The Wichita Eagle, the Kansas Republican Party distributed mailers which criminalize American Muslims and could possibly provoke violence against the Muslim population living in the state.
The flyers depict an Islamic State militant holding a machine gun along with a message to protect Kansas from would-be terrorists next door. The card reads, “Have you met the new neighbors? ISIS is not going away anytime soon.”
On the opposite side of the mailer is a message from Republican Rep. Joseph Scapa which reads, “Let’s Keep Terrorists Out Of Kansas!” as well as a pledge to increase funding to state law enforcement in order to prevent domestic forms of terrorism. Scapa’s message also falsely claimed that Muslims “support ideologies that are in conflict with the United States Constitution and Kansas values.”
Yet, this open animosity towards Muslims doesn’t seem very in touch with the constitutionally-protected right to practice one’s own religion. Furthermore, this divisive approach pits non-Muslims against Muslims, rather than seeking out common ground between both communities.
Reactions to the pamphlet largely pointed towards the state’s GOP as being a possible “explanation” for the extreme anti-Muslim bigotry which invoked several men to plot a bomb attack on a predominantly Somali-American apartment complex in Garden City, which includes an apartment used as a mosque.
Robert McCraw, an official from the civil rights group Council on American-Islamic Relations, reportedly said that the mailers were “a shameful example of scare mongering tactics” that are commonly used by the Republican Party in general. He further stated that the GOP party was irresponsible “to falsely insinuate that the state’s Muslim population is linked to terror groups like ISIS.”
A writer for The New York Times, Max Fisher, tweeted the images of the flier with the caption, “Wondering why violence against American Muslims is rising? These GOP mailers, going out in Kansas, offer a clue.”
Others on Twitter reacted specifically to the Kansas GOP, asking the party who is genuinely to blame for the extremism of the three white men who plotted the domestic terror attack.
.@KansasGOP Saw your ISIS mailer, wondering if there's any connection between you and the domestic terrorists arrested earlier this month.— Jeremiah Scott (@jeremiahez) October 29, 2016
While Islamophobia is certainly not new, heightened tensions against the Muslim diaspora living in the U.S. have undeniably grounded themselves in the GOP’s rhetoric this past year.
From Trump’s “extreme vetting” policy to more locally-rooted Islamophobia such as these flyers, Muslims —particularly in Kansas — continue to live in fear of practicing their faith thanks to institutionalized anti-Muslim hatred.
Banner photo: Twitter, @Max_Fisher