Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Romney Says Wiretap Mosques
Islamists Get Very, Very Angry
Romney Says, "So What?"

From LGF:

BOSTON — A coalition of Muslim and civil libertarian organizations Friday demanded that Gov. Mitt Romney apologize for his comments last week, when he suggested that some mosques should be wiretapped.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Massachusetts delivered a letter, which was co-signed by 21 other organizations, saying that Romney’s comments characterized Muslims living in the U.S. as potential or actual terrorists. “Governor Romney, the safety of Massachusetts is built upon the trust all residents — citizens and immigrants — have in their government,” the letter stated. “Your willingness to profile and scapegoat an entire community based on religious affiliation only serves to erode trust and increase fear.”

Romney said in a Wednesday speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., that U.S. counterterrorism efforts need to be focused on tracking Muslims that come into the U.S.

“How many individuals are coming to our state and going to those institutions who’ve come from terrorist-sponsored states? Do we know where they are? Are we tracking them?” the governor said, according to a transcript provided by his press aides.

He continued, “How about people in settings, mosques for instance, that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror? Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping? Are we following what’s going on? Are we seeing who’s coming in? Are we seeing who’s coming out? Are we eavesdropping, carrying out surveillance on those individuals from places that sponsor domestic terror?”

While the Anti-Arab Discrimination Committee said Romney’s remarks were “dangerous” and asked him to retract them, Romney told reporters that he stood by his comments.

“When it comes to protecting our citizens, there is no place for political correctness,” Romney said at an unrelated press conference.

“We should be doing more in terms of intelligence and counterterrorism in the state to protect ourselves from terrorists. We spend a lot of our resources thinking about response, but response can’t protect us. We have to be able to prevent attacks.”

Romney said that if U.S. intelligence officials have information that a person is “preaching messages of hate and terror,” then there should be sufficient grounds to conduct surveillance on them in their places of worship.

“Surely, we have to recognize that some of this has gone on in mosques in the past,” Romney said. “Most mosques are teaching doctrines of love and consideration, but there have been places of extremism where certain teachers have been identified as having been involved in or led to terrorist attacks. Let’s not pretend that’s not the case.”