WASHINGTON, DC (MASNET – Mar. 29, 2010) – On Sunday, U.S. federal authorities arrested nine members of a shadowy, armed militia group known as the Hutaree who describe themselves as “Christian warriors” committed to “take up arms to fight alongside Jesus”.The arrests, which took place in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, were followed on March 29th with indictments charging these militia members with conspiring to kill police officers. In addition to this conspiracy, the Hutaree group had reportedly made numerous threats against Muslims, much of it evident in their rhetoric calling for armed confrontation with the “Anti-Christ”.
Muslim American Society Freedom joins other Muslim, civil rights, and pro-justice organizations in America in expressing our extreme concern over these arrests, and our greater concern over the rise of anti-government, racist, and political extremist organizations in the United States. Muslim individuals, and Islamic organizations throughout the country, note the alarming growth of armed organizations that openly profess anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and racist sentiments, and that legitimize armed resistance to the authority of our government.
Moreover, this open rhetoric of hatred is now amplified in a variety of mass-media outlets that give credence to the notion that the constitutional right for citizens to bear arms is, in fact, a license to use violence, or the threat of violence, to stifle political and social progress and to oppose the right of some groups in civil society to participate freely, and legally, in the life of the nation.
MAS Freedom does affirm the right of all people to free political expression, as well as the right of all people brought before the bar of justice to be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty. But we are alarmed by the proliferation of the number of anti-government, armed formations in the United States, which according to a recent report issues by the Southern Poverty Law Center, increased by some 363 new groups in 2009 alone, and now include some 932 identifiable organizations that oppose immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and the legitimate authority of the United States government itself.
Neither racial hatred nor violence are intrinsic to Christianity. And indeed, all people of conscience and faith must challenge the rights of any religious minority to distort the teachings of religion for their own unrighteous and unlawful, purposes. But we also call on the authorities of our government to pay more attention to the real, and deadly, threat to this nation posed by the rise of armed, right wing, and “home grown” extremism that falsely wraps itself in the cloak of patriotism.