U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger writes in an op-ed in Tuesday’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune that “[t]he current wave of Islamophobia needs to be stopped in its tracks”–and that he is determined to stop it.
Luger draws on childhood experiences of being bullied, as a Jew, in the 1970s. Back then, he says, his father taught him to fight back. Not today: “For good reason, we no longer teach our children this approach to solving problems.”
Instead, we need federal prosecutors.
It is not clear what “wave of Islamophobia” Luger means. Statistics show that Jews are still the victims in the vast majority of religious hate crimes. (Many perpetrators are Muslim–especially when Palestinians go to war against Israel overseas.)
There is a growing amount of negative commentary about the Islamic world, but that it because so much of it now comes from the Islamic world itself, in the form of ISIS execution films and the like.
As Luger is no doubt aware, ISIS has targeted Minnesota for recruiting among recent Muslim immigrants. Public concern about that is hardly evidence of discrimination.
There is, however, some other interesting evidence: Luger’s campaign contributions.
Luger gave nearly $50,000 to Democrats before being appointed in 2013. He maxed out to Hillary Clinton in 2008, and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. He also gave to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), for whom “Islamophobia” is a favorite hobbyhorse.
Luger’s op-ed may be aimed at building trust with the Muslim community, so that authorities can gain information they need to stop, and to punish, terrorism.
Less charitably, Luger’s approach endorses the Obama administration’s denial when it comes to radical Islam.
Discrimination against Muslims happens, and is both illegal and wrong. But speaking out against radical Islam is not hate speech, and has nothing to do with religious bigotry.
Update: Luger served on the Minnesota board of J Street, a radical left-wing organization that typically opposes Israel in Congress. Though billing itself as “pro-Israel,” the George Soros-funded J Street has opposed Israel’s defensive wars in Gaza, supported the defamatory Goldstone report alleging that Israel committed war crimes against Palestinians, and worked against sanctions on Iran. Luger joined, he wrote, after his daughter interned there.
Luger also defended J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami after he was exposed for lying about Soros’s donations to the group. He also demonized J Street’s critics, saying that they should “give up the grassy knoll.”
Luger’s role as a leader in an organization that has become increasingly extreme over time–even hosting the execrable Saeb Erekat to address its most recent conference–suggests his focus on “Islamophobia” is ideologically-driven–and worrying.