If you want to see what kind of impact bloggers and self-proclaimed scholars such as Robert Spencer and his buddies like Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes are having on the discourse on Muslims in America then look no further than Canyon Clowdus. Clowdus employs terms and ideas coined by Spencer and company, such as “Stealth Jihad” and “creeping Shariah,” which are meant to be used as scare tactics to frighten Americans about their Muslim neighbors. Yet, they still have the gall to claim not to hate Muslims or Islam!
WASHINGTON — Big Country congressional hopeful Canyon Clowdus wants no more Muslim immigration to America.
But the conservative Republican doesn’t want to stop at the stance he outlined to radical blog “Dr. Bulldog & Ronin,” which endorses him for 11th Congressional District representative.
“It’s not just them,” Clowdus told a reporter Sunday night. “They need to check all immigrants. They used to assimilate.”
Instead, immigrants retain their beliefs, weakening America, Marble Falls businessman Clowdus said.
The 11th Congressional District covers a wide swath of West Texas and stretches down to include Marble Falls. The city is about 200 miles southeast of Abilene and about 50 miles from Austin.
Clowdus wants to halt Muslim immigration to stop what the blog termed a “Stealth Jihad” and “creeping sharia” to replace the Constitution with Islamic religious law.
A civil rights advocate said he reads the blog and is disappointed a congressional candidate is lending his credibility to efforts to divide Americans instead of bring them together.
The blog pushes the wrongheaded idea that there is a huge clash of civilizations between Christianity and Islam, said Eric Ward of the Chicago-based Center for New Community, a faith-based organization including Christians, Jews and Muslims.
“The truth of the matter is that the only clash that’s going on is amongst extremist elements in Christianity and Islam,” Ward said.
Christians and Muslims have much in common when it comes to values and the wish for an opportunity to work and better their lives, he said.
A San Angelo physician who is Muslim and immigrated to the United States 40 years ago said people with views like Clowdus’ have tunnel vision.
“One-fifth of the world’s population are Muslims,” Dr. Fazlur Rahman, an oncologist, said. “So for the benefit of Americans, we should understand them, learn their religion, culture and civilization for our benefit.”
Rahman said 6 million Muslims live in the United States.
“They worry about their own future and of their children just like everyone else,” he said.
Rahman became a U.S. citizen decades ago and raised a family in San Angelo. His writings on health care, science and other topics have appeared in The Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle and other publications. He’s also a trustee of Austin College in Sherman.
Rahman said America has been successful because it is tolerant and multicultural.
There are bad Muslims just as there are bad Christians, Jews and people from all of the religious faiths, Rahman said.
“Every one of them has their fair share,” he said.
Muslims worry about their children’s future just like everyone else, he said.
A spokesman for an Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said the level of anti-Muslim rhetoric is rising, especially from the right.
“Our research has shown that this kind of rhetoric is coming from a minority of Americans, but it’s a very vocal minority,” said Ibrahim Hooper of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.
CAIR asks mainstream leaders to challenge anti-Muslim talk if they hear it because silence equals consent or unspoken approval, Hooper said.
“That’s why it’s the responsibility of people of goodwill in our society and particularly leaders in our society to challenge this kind of hate-filled bigoted rhetoric when it’s used anywhere in our society,” Hooper said.
Dr. Bulldog & Ronin listed CAIR among organizations supporting a “Stealth Jihad” with “Islamic Supremacists.”
Dr. Bulldog and Ronin wanted to know how Clowdus would fight this “creeping sharia” that uses the constitutional rights to freedom of religion and speech against Americans.
Clowdus’ reply: “How about CREEPY Sharia? Fuse lit … back away from Canyon!”
Clowdus believes there are efforts to override national law with Islamic religious law, he said in an interview.
Hooper said that’s nonsense.
If a Muslim woman is allowed to wear a headscarf in the workplace or a Muslim man is allowed to go to Friday prayers — any accommodation of a Muslim in American society — then that vocal minority views it as a “creeping sharia,” he said.
“For some reason, it drives these people crazy when Muslims practice their faith,” Hooper said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security doesn’t track immigrants’ religions, said Pat Reilly, a spokeswoman for DHS agency U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
People are identified by country of origin — not religion or ethnicity — in the DHS “Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.”
Neither U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway of Midland nor a second challenger, Chris Younts of San Angelo, share Clowdus’ views on Muslim immigration.
“Congressman Conaway is a strong proponent of immigration reform,” Conaway campaign spokesman Richard Hudson said. “But he does not have an immigration policy based on religion.”
Younts, a businessman, opposes illegal immigration, but he “believes that any law abiding citizen of another country should be allowed to immigrate to the U.S. as long as they abide by our immigration policies and honor our Constitution,” Younts’ campaign spokesman Ken Burton said.
Conaway and Younts are also conservative Republicans.
Clowdus said that he e-mailed back and forth to Dr. Bulldog & Ronin for the interview posted Aug. 22 and that he doesn’t know the identity of the blog’s authors. The blog bills itself as “Conservative News, Views & Analysis of Events.”
Earlier in August, the blog endorsed Clowdus as a “non-politician in Texas who is fed up with all the Lefturds in Washington.”
The blog describes “Doctor Bulldog” as a theoretical physicist and electronic engineer who has served in the Air Force. He’s worked for private aerospace companies and moved recently from Silicon Valley to the Midwest, the blog said.
Its visitor count lists more than 1.2 million “Infidels.”
Ward said the blog’s definition of America and American-ness is very narrow and not embraced by most in the United States.
Muslims and Christians have cultural and religious differences, he said. But they don’t outweigh the common ground between them.