U.S. Rep. Allen West's departure from his Broward-Palm Beach district to run for a more Republican-leaning seat up north is undeniably good news for local Muslims. Finally, South Florida will be rid of a congressman who calls Islam "a totalitarian, theocratic, political ideology."
But don't start celebrating yet. Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (R-Delray Beach) is seeking to replace West and has already received the congressman's ringing endorsement. Small wonder, because the two men share similar political tactics -- namely, getting ahead by spouting fear-mongering, anti-Islam rhetoric. (To read about how local Muslims are coping with such bigotry, see this week's New Times cover story.)
In 2009, Hasner invited anti-Islam nutbag Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch
Parliament, to be the featured speaker at an event in Palm Beach County. "We need strong leaders like we have here today, Allen West and Adam Hasner," Wilders said that night.
In a June speech to the Tea Party of Fort Lauderdale, Hasner spoke about facing an "existential threat from shari'a-compliant Islam" -- a threat he neither defined nor explained.