Washington, DC – Today, Muslim Advocates’ public advocacy director, Scott Simpson, released the following statement in response to reports that Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey will appoint former Senator Jon Kyl, who has a long record of hostility to Muslims, to fill the Senate vacancy created by the passing of John McCain:
“American Muslims and people who care about religious freedom and civil rights for all people should be disturbed about today’s appointment of Jon Kyl.
Over the past few weeks, there have been many tributes to Senator McCain’s principled stands against naked displays of bigotry. This was particularly true during moments when anti-Muslim hostility reared its head; in his defense of Khizr, Ghazala, and Humayan Khan and in his rejection of an anti-Muslim conspiracy theories about Barack Obama and Huma Abedin.
Kyl’s past Senate record does not indicate that this is a part of McCain’s legacy that he is likely to continue. The bigoted activists, ideas, and conspiracy theories that McCain was applauded for rejecting are the same people and ideas that Kyl has fully embraced and championed in the past. For example, Kyl has:
- Attempted to hijack the first ever congressional hearing on the rights of American Muslims by saying he was ‘perplexed’ about why it was needed and questioning why Muslims should seek legal advice to protect their rights.
- Invited extreme anti-Muslim bigot Geert Wilders, who compares the Quran to Mein Kampf and has said Islam is not a religion, to screen an anti-Muslim propaganda film on the Hill.
- Attacked Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s judicial philosophy, which brought us Brown v. Board, as out of “the mainstream.”
- Presented an award to anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and hate monger John Guandolo at a hate group banquet.
- Been a longtime supporter of notorious anti-Muslim activist Zuhdi Jasser and even supported his failed attempt to be appointed to a State Department commission on public diplomacy.
Kyl has helped to bring troubling, bigoted, reckless and baseless anti-Muslim conspiracy theories into the mainstream and was a forerunner to the most extreme anti-Muslim figures in public life today. For those who hoped for an appointment that would bring a renewed sense of civility to our political discourse, the appointment of Senator Kyl is a serious disappointment.”
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.