Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Quinn Calls Walsh "Worst Congressman in America"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In response to accusations that his anti-Muslim rhetoric may have incited a man who shot up a mosque in Morton Grove over the weekend, Joe Walsh responded as Joe Walsh always responds. He blamed the Democrats.

    Last week, Walsh told a Town Hall meeting in Elk Grove Village that radical Muslims who are “trying to kill Americans every week” had infiltrated the Chicago suburbs.

    “It’s here,” he said. “It’s in Elk Grove, it’s in Addison, it’s in Elgin. It’s here.”

    On Friday, David Conrad shot a pellet rifle at the Muslim Education Center in Morton Grove, while 500 Muslims were praying inside. Conrad was sick of the noise from the nightly Ramadan observances. On Sunday, a man threw an improvised bomb at a Muslim school in Lombard. No one was hurt in either attack.

    Salon, the online news site that first reported Walsh’s comments, also tried to connect him to the attacks.

    “Is something deeper at work here?,” wrote Uzma Kolsy, who also edits a Muslim newspaper in California. “Last week, notoriously brusque Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., who represents Lombard, may have helped stoke anti-Muslim hatred with comments at a town hall meeting in Elk Grove [Village].”

    Gov. Pat Quinn, who condemned the attacks on the mosques, said Wednesday at the State Fair that Walsh is “the worst congressman in America.

    Erin Rapp, a Walsh spokesperson, brushed the criticism aside, telling Chicagoist that Walsh “completely agrees with Gov. Quinn that there is no place in Illinois for hate crime and religious intolerance.”

    Rapp added:

    Congressman Walsh has been very specific when he has said that there is a very small strain of radical Islam that exists here in America that poses a very serious threat to national security. The shooting in Morton Grove was committed by a lifelong Democrat who has had a long time property issue with the Mosque. Anyone who even implies that these attacks are a result of Congressman Walsh words are playing to people’s fears and are trying to distract people from the issue at hand, which is that there is a very real threat from a radical strain of Islam right here in America.

    Walsh himself filmed a clip in his office in which he invited opponent Tammy Duckworth to debate him on the threat of radical Islam:

        

    How Walsh determined that Conrad is a lifelong Democrat was not explained. Maybe someone in Walsh’s office checked his voting records. Whatever the case, it says a lot about Walsh’s partisan worldview that his staff would have that information at hand, and use it to spin the story. It also distracts from the real issue at hand, which is that there is a very real threat from a radical strain of idiocy right here in the Chicago suburbs. It’s been seen in Elk Grove Village, in Schaumburg, in Carol Stream, and in Addison.