published Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Ramsey ‘cult’ quote worries Muslim group

NASHVILLE — Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey’s recent suggestion that Islam may be a cult has a national Muslim group worried that his view represents part of a “disturbing trend.”

Ramsey, the state’s lieutenant governor, made the remarks during a July 14 Chattanooga campaign stop, according to a video.

In response to an attendee’s stated concerns that “we’ve got a threat that’s invading our country from the Muslims,” Ramsey noted a recent controversy in Murfreesboro, Tenn., over the proposed building of an Islamic center and mosque.

“You can even argue whether that being a Muslim is actually a religion or is it a nationality, way of life, or cult, whatever you want to call it,” Ramsey said.

While he said he believes in freedom of religion, “you cross the line when they start trying to bring Sharia law here into ... the United States. ... We live under our Constitution and they preferably live under our Constitution. It’s scary if we get there.”

Sharia is the sacred law of Islam.

The video of his remarks has ignited a controversy on the Internet.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Tuesday the “problem” with Ramsey’s remarks “is it seems to be part of a trend nationwide in which there are those who are seeking to delegitimize the faith of Islam so that Muslim civil and religious rights can somehow be restricted.”

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In a subsequent e-mail, Ramsey said he’s concerned that “far too much of Islam has come to resemble a violent political philosophy more than peace-loving religion. It’s time for American Muslims who love this country to publicly renounce violent jihadism and to drum those who seek to do America harm out of their faith community.”

In an interview, Ramsey said has “no problem with peace-loving, freedom-loving Muslims” who live in the United States.

But he said, “I do believe that there’s been a portion of their religion that’s been co-opted by a faction that advocates violence and especially against Americans. And that’s what I have a problem with.”

Bassam Issa, a member of the board for the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, said he believes that “at the end of the day, this country stands for freedom of religion.”

And “when you have one-third of the population of the word following that religion, how could you deny” it as a religion, Issa asked.

He said the Muslim community is “right in the middle path in the way we think. ... We abide by the law. We do love our country just like anybody else.”

Online: Read previous stories.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
dlapham said...

A cult is a religion and as such has the same freedoms as any other religion. Trying to make the case that Ramsey is against freedom of religion because he suggest that one 'could call' a religious group a cult (among other things) is absurd. I had never heard of Ramsey, but will now vote for him after reading about his views. You could also accurately say "You can even argue whether that being a (Jew, Mormon, Adventist (which I am), Hindu, Buddhist) is actually a religion or is it a nationality, way of life, or cult, whatever you want to call it," and in many cases be correct.

July 28, 2010 at 8:54 a.m.
dlapham said...

My Previous comment read: "I had never heard of Ramsey, but will not vote for him after reading about his views."

It should read: "I had never heard of Ramsey, but will now vote for him after reading about his views."

In other words I am now going to vote for Ramsey.

July 28, 2010 at 8:57 a.m.
moonpie said...



Your last post was a funny clarification.


I think you may have T-W dyslexia.

Perhaps where's weshng avaiable wo gew whaw checked ouw, not.

(For those without T-W dyslexia, that last sentence reads: Perhaps there' testing available to get that checked out, now.)

July 28, 2010 at 9:13 a.m.
moonpie said...

PS sometimes I make typos, too....

July 28, 2010 at 9:14 a.m.
dlapham said...

LOL! Actually, I do have dyslexia..

July 28, 2010 at 9:16 a.m.
BOOBOO99 said...


July 28, 2010 at 9:23 a.m.
gngriffin said...

To quote form an earlier posting:

"Richard Holbrooke, our current czar for Afghanistan and Pakistan operations, recently asked “How can a man in a cave out-communicate the world’s leading communications society?” This question highlights a very serious capability gap in our national security apparatus: that of strategic communication. When our government talks, either through press release, interviews, or op-eds, the rest of the world listens. And, frankly, the extremists are doing (and have done, particularly during the Bush administration) an excellent job of capitalizing on communication gaffes by public officials, and twisting their words to convince others in the region that the United States is the enemy of them all.

While not using the term "war on terror" may seem like a political play, I assure you that changing our language and its tone has a legitimate and measurable effect on the success of our policies in the middle east and southwest Asia. This administration, for its faults, understands much better than the last that this is a battle for hearts and minds. The more we can marginilze the extremists and convince the average muslim that the United States is not out to get them, the easier we make the job for our young men and women in uniform. They will realize the benefits each day as they talk to village elders and young unemployed men in these war-torn countries, who will either be asking them why America hates muslims, or will tell them they appreciate our President visiting Cairo and saying "May the peace of God be upon you" in Arabic. These things have a profound impact on our mission in the middle east, and should not be discounted as politics."

Mr. Ramsey's comments, in this day and age, were (and will continue to be, should he be elected) communicated to the entire world via the internet, and recorded for all time on youtube and other sites. I would ask Mr. Ramsey and all other politicians to consider the very real impact their words have on our troops, who must deal with the reprecussions of such anti-muslim rhetoric.

July 28, 2010 at 10:13 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

What an excellent post, gngriffin.

July 28, 2010 at 10:21 a.m.
FM_33 said...

The whole internet system here in the United States is run from a CIA office in Signal Mountain TN.

They also contract with the US Military the basic 250.000 MHRZ wave freqency that they run it on is very powerful. Also a short wave * Alpha Ditrot Radio * does the rest as a filter and acts as a firewall to stop an coming scamp virus that might infect the main fame.

If you don't believe this check this file in at the library of congress in Washington DC and the file is under the sub text ( Alpha Internet Computer System ) or AICS and the file number is.

Class C File Unclassified Route File # 25452-14547-03 Pages: 520 Index: 43 By: United States Army Intelligence Washington DC Dept: Computer internet division Intro By: Gen. Colin Powell Year: 1984

July 28, 2010 at 5:25 p.m.
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