Comments from a southern New Mexico Republican leader that "Muslims are our enemies" and that Democrat Barack Obama is a "Muslim socialist" drew criticism Tuesday from religious leaders and a national Islamic group called on the party to repudiate the statements.
Otero County Republican Women Chair Marcia Stirman made the comments in a letter published Tuesday in the Alamogordo Daily News, prompting a flood of e-mails from across the country to the southern New Mexico newspaper.
"I'm a Republican because: I believe in a sovereign God who sometimes gives us what we deserve. I believe Muslims are our enemies," Stirman, who lives in Alamogordo, wrote in the letter to the editor.
"I agree with a two-party system, but Obama isn't a messiah or a Democrat. He's a Muslim socialist," Stirman wrote.
Justin Crispin, an associate pastor for the First Assembly Worship Center in Alamogordo, called Stirman's comments "uninformed" and pointed out that Obama is a professed Christian.
Rabbi Joseph Black with Congregation Albert in Albuquerque said Stirman's comments went beyond ignorance.
"I'm sickened," Black said. "History has taught us the dangers of mindless hatred based on religious affiliation. Absolutely ­ they're dangerous."…
Stirman told the Journal she stood by her comments. She said in an interview that she'd received compliments but that she also expected "hate mail."…
The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations heard about Stirman's letter and demanded that other Republican leaders repudiate her comments.
"Is this person saying that millions of American Muslims, our neighbors, our colleagues, these are her enemies? If she's saying that, what do you do with enemies?" asked council spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
"We're seeing this kind of thing too often in this election campaign. We need some elected officials or candidates to stand up and say: 'This is un-American. This isn't right.'” (MORE)