Republican presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham said earlier this month that “Everything that starts with ‘Al’ in the Middle East is bad news.” (Al is the Arabic equivalent of “the”). Graham, it’s worth remembering, is running as the foreign-policy intellectual in the GOP field.* Why do such comments attract so little outrage? Because while American politicians have become less overtly bigoted against African Americans, Latinos, Jews, women and lesbians and gays, anti-Muslim bigotry is still entirely acceptable, at least in the GOP.
Among Graham’s opponents for the Republican nomination is Mike Huckabee, who in 2011 said Christians shouldn’t rent space in their churches to Muslims because “Muslim group[s]” say “that Jesus Christ and all the people that follow him are a bunch of infidels who should be essentially obliterated.” And who this February declared that, “Everything [Obama] does is against what Christians stand for, and he’s against the Jews in Israel. The one group of people that can know they have his undying, unfailing support would be the Muslim community.”