U.S. Muslims are charging Mitt Romney with hypocrisy for refusing to consider appointing an Islamic believer to his Cabinet if he is elected president.
At a fundraiser earlier this month in Las Vegas, Pakistani financier Mansoor Ijaz asked Romney whether he would "consider including qualified Americans of the Islamic faith in his Cabinet as advisers on national security matters, given his position that 'jihadism' is the principal foreign policy threat facing America today."
According to an opinion piece Ijaz wrote in The Christian Science Monitor, Romney replied, " . . . based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage of] our population, I cannot see that a Cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration."
Now U.S. Muslim leaders have called for a meeting with Romney, and commentators are pointing out how often Romney claims religious discrimination against him due to his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Muslims claim up to 7 million members of their faith in the U.S. compared with 5.5 million members claimed by the LDS Church.
Using Romney's logic about Muslims, his own father should never have been named Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In 1969, when George Romney joined Richard Nixon's cabinet, the LDS Church had only 2,807,456 members worldwide and fewer in the U.S.
It would also have eliminated LDS apostle Ezra Taft Benson, who served as Dwight Eisenhower's Secretary of Agriculture from 1953 to 1961, at a time when Mormonism had fewer than 1.3 million adherents worldwide.
Many Muslims already had a problem with Romney, said Ibrahim Hooper, executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C. He cited Romney's 2005 proposal to wiretap U.S. mosques and his Iowa campaign ad entitled "Jihad," which seems to "legitimize claims by terrorists that they are fighting on behalf of Islam." . . .
None of this has satisfied Muslims, Hooper said.
"His clarification does not go far enough," he said Tuesday in a phone interview. "It leaves unanswered questions best resolved by a meeting with Muslim leaders." (MORE)