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The Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today wrote to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert asking that Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, be removed from his position because of bigoted anti-Muslim comments at a Nov. 19 meeting with local Georgia officials. Chambliss told 30 local officials in Valdosta, Ga., that to combat terrorism a Georgia sheriff could be turned loose to “arrest every Muslim that comes across the state line.”
ADC President Ziad Asali, wrote to Speaker Hastert that, in spite of Rep. Chambliss claims that this remark was a “joke,” and that “if anybody’s offended by it, I feel very apologetic toward them,” he should no longer continue as chairman. “ADC feels that Rep. Chambliss is unfit for the chairmanship of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security in light of these comments,” Asali wrote, “and we ask you to removed him from this position. Joking or not, they reveal a level of insensitivity and intolerance which is completely inappropriate given the concerns attached to this important position.”
Asali’s letter to Speaker Hastert points out that “Having the chair of this crucial House Subcommittee making remarks of this kind sends the worst possible message to the Arab-American and Muslim communities in the United States, to the Arab and Muslim worlds, and to society in general about the level of intolerance and anti-Muslim bigotry that is considered acceptable in the U.S. Congress.”
“We feel that the important work of this Subcommittee may well be undermined by the taint of Rep. Chambliss’ outrageously bigoted remarks,” Asali concluded.