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.
And there's more. Hasnerfreaked out
when a group of Muslims came to Tallahassee to lobby their legislators. He also brags about how, when he was majority leader in the state House, heboycotted a prayer
offered by a Tampa imam on the House floor.
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.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.