Washington, DC — Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Pennsylvania politician Kathy Barnette tried to downplay her previous anti-Muslim comments, saying that they were “not even full thoughts,” nor “even full sentences” but instead were meant to facilitate a conversation. Barnette previously tweeted in 2014 that “Islam must NOT be allowed to thrive under any condition” and made other offensive statements about Islam. She has also said that religious freedom should not extend to Muslims, that Islam “should be banned” and that “there is nothing rational about Islam” or Muslims. In a 2016 public address posted on her YouTube channel, she told a crowd, “the mindset of a Muslim is very different from the mindset of Americans and that’s the reason why we cannot fully understand… the depth of the evil,” and added, “you are not a racist if you reject Islam or if you reject Muslims.” Barnette has also repeatedly promoted on her Twitter account the false conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama is a Muslim.
The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Communications Director Eric Naing:
“Muslim Advocates condemns Kathy Barnette’s dangerous, incendiary, anti-Muslim rhetoric and we reject her recent attempt to argue that her unambiguously anti-Muslim and anti-Islam words were mere incomplete thoughts or prompts to stir conversation. Barnette’s half-hearted attempt to excuse her hateful comments shows that she either fails to understand the offensive and dangerous nature of her words or doesn’t care about the danger her words pose to all American Muslims. Anti-Muslim hate and rhetoric, like the kind Barnette repeatedly spread, directly lead to American Muslims facing hate, threats and even violence. Moreover—as the recent white nationalist attack in Buffalo tragically demonstrated—hateful, bigoted remarks from politicians can and do have deadly consequences for communities of color.
Muslim Advocates calls on Barnette to genuinely apologize for her anti-Muslim statements and clearly disavow them. We also call on all politicians to unequivocally condemn anti-Muslim political rhetoric. This kind of hate should have no place in our politics.”
Muslim Advocates is a 501(c)(3) charity and we do not endorse or oppose candidates for office.
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.