Dennis Kucinich, Lefty for Radical Islam

Keith Ellison and Andre Carson receive considerable attention as the first two Muslims to serve in the U.S. Congress. The novelty of their presence, however, should not obscure the fact that Congress includes other representatives, invariably on the left wing of the Democratic party, who also carry water for Islamist interests and causes.

Not themselves Muslim, their relative obscurity attracts less attention to them and may make them more effective. For example, when the U.S. House voted 390-5 in 2009 in favor of a resolution concerningIsrael's right to self-defense against Hamas, Carson voted for the resolution and Ellison voted "present." In contrast, Dennis J. Kucinich, Gwen Moore, Ron Paul, Nick Rahall, and Maxine Waters cast the "no" votes. In addition to those five, their ranks also include Cynthia McKinney, Gregory Meeks, and James Moran.

Kucinich, 65, a representative from the Cleveland area since 1996 whose recent primary loss signals the probable end of his political career, offers the single best example of this phenomenon, having gone further down this path than any other national elected official and receiving more attention for it, particularly during his campaign for president of the United States in 2004. 

Kucinich's far-left positions on a range of topics (most memorably, a promise to establish a Department of Peace) did not exactly burn up the campaign trail then but his platform did resonate among more than a few Democratic voters in a fractured race; he won 8 percent of the vote in Utah and Washington state, 9 percent in his home state of Ohio, 16 percent in Maine, 17 percent in Minnesota, and an impressive 26 percent in Hawaii. (Comparable efforts in a 2008 campaign for president fell flat, with him nowhere winning over 2 percent of the vote.)

This respectable showing brought considerable news coverage to his 2004 campaign that in turn uniquely exposed the candidate's positions and activities vis-à-vis Islamism.

Kucinich's Positions

Already before 2004, Kucinich had displayed a soft spot for Islamism, defined as the ideology seeking to apply Islamic law (the Shari'a) worldwide. For example, he insisted on accepting a $500 donation in 1997 from Washington's then reigning Islamist, Abdurahman Alamoudi. Only after Alamoudi was arrested in 2003 on charges of taking money from Libyan intelligence, charges which landed him a long jail term, did Kucinich finally return the 1997 contribution.

In his 2004 presidential campaign, Kucinich adopted key elements of the radical Islamic message and worked closely with North America's most aggressive Islamist group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He echoed its line about American Muslims having "suffered much over the last few years" and their having "been scapegoated and they've been subject to profiling and have been subject to law enforcement practices which are truly repugnant in a democracy." He presented key policies (opposition to the Iraq war and the Patriot Act, "support of Palestinian rights") as being Muslim-friendly. He even argued that his proposals for universal healthcare and expanded public education "are consistent with their [Islamic] religious beliefs about providing for the less fortunate and the needy."

Kucinich identified himself closely with American Muslims, calling them the bellwethers of the U.S. government's "intolerance, surveillance, and oppression." At times, he waxed lyrical: "In its suffering the Muslim community is helping America to transform. We're defending all Americans, all liberties. Stand up and live your faith: Celebrate Islam. Promote and share understanding. This country owes you a debt of gratitude." At other times, he got emotional: when hedenounced the deportation of an illegal Muslim immigrant from Venezuela, the Cleveland Plain Dealer described his eyes "brimming with tears" as he declared his intent "to move heaven and earth" to keep her in the country.

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March 26, 2012, Daniel Pipes

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