Anti-hate groups are calling for elected officials to condemn the remarks of Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar for attending a rally in support of a British anti-Muslim activist.
Gosar attended a rally in London last weekend for Tommy Robinson, co-founder of the English Defence League who previously said most gang convictions are for Muslims.
Gosar said those charges were not the real reason for Robinson’s imprisonment, The Associated Press reported.
“His real crime is not taking pictures; his real crime is his refusal to agree to the government’s efforts to cover up crimes by Muslim gangs who are raping British girls, almost with impunity, and with little apparent regard by the British government,” he said last week, according to the congressional record.
Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of Arizona’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said “It is inexplicable for a sitting U.S. congressman to speak at, let alone attend a rally for someone responsible for spreading as much hate and bigotry as Tommy Robinson. “We condemn the congressman’s choice to stand with far-right Islamophobic conspiracy-theorists, and call on elected officials from both parties to speak out on this matter.”
Gosar spokeswoman Melissa Brown defended her boss to the AP.
“The truth is neither ‘islamophobic’ nor racist. It’s simply truth. CAIR has not disputed the facts. CAIR is condemning me for guilt by association," she said. "Congress long ago determined CAIR was not a legitimate organization that should be deemed a credible source.”
Carlos Galindo-Elvira, the Arizona chapter director for the Anti-Defamation League, also criticized Gosar, Phoenix New Times reported.
“Congressman Gosar’s support of an anti-Muslim and immigrant extremist is appalling,” he said. “We must stand-up and call out bigotry. Arizona’s diverse constituency deserves an explanation.”