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Fire at Florida Mosque Attended by Pulse Gunman Investigated as Arson, Possible Hate Crime

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The fire was set on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and extinguished on the beginning of Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, also the three month anniversary of the Pulse Massacre.

A fire at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce in Florida is being investigated as arson, WBPF reports, and possibly as a hate crime.

The fire was set late Sunday, the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and extinguished on the beginning of Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” the second of two major holidays celebrated worldwide. The day also marked the three-month anniversary of the Pulse Massacre.

“A fire at any place of worship is alarming, regardless of the circumstances,” the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office released in a statement via its Facebook page early Monday. “Video captured at the Fort Pierce Islamic Center shows an individual approached the east side of the building just moments before a flash is seen and the fire starts.”

The department has since released the surveillance video of the incident, along with the 911 calls which alerted their office of the fire, in an effort to apprehend the arsonist. The video reveals what the department describes as “a white or Hispanic male” arriving via motorcycle and carrying paper and a bottle of fluid. After the flash of light which presumably began the fire, the male runs from the mosque, “waving his [arms] immediately… possibly indicating a burn.” The video can be seen below:

The fire isn’t the first time that the mosque has made national headlines, perhaps making it a target. Omar Mateen, responsible for the Pulse Massacre that slaughtered 49 members of the LGBT community and injured 53 more, attended the mosque. The massacre, a hate crime, remains the worst terror attack since 9/11, and the deadliest mass shooting in modern history.

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has said that the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce has been harassed ever since. “First there were threatening voicemails. Then drivers would splash water on the parishioners leaving on Fridays, and then a member got beat up in the parking lot when he came to the mosque for early morning prayers,” he said. “And now the mosque has been set on fire.” (These incidents have been well-documented.)

Though Mateen’s attendance at the mosque may be partly to blame for its harassment, it was actually another attendee who initially reported Mateen to the FBI in 2006. “I had told the FBI about Omar because my community, and Muslims generally, have nothing to hide,” Mohammad A. Malik wrote for The Washington Post in June. “I love this country, like most Muslims I know.”

Despite this, an 80-page report titled “Confronting Fear” by the University of California, Berkeley’s Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP) found that 78 incidents targeted mosques in 2015, the highest number since 2009 when the record-keeping began.

The report also found that anti-Islam bills have passed in ten states, and there are now 74 groups, up from 69 in 2013, which make up an “Islamophobia network.”

“Islamophobia has unfortunately moved from the fringes of American society to the mainstream,” CAIR’s introduction of the report reads. “The last two months of 2015 saw 34 incidents in which mosques were targeted by vandals who want to intimidate worshippers. This is more incidents than we usually record in an entire year.”

The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office indicated that the St. Lucie County Fire District, the Florida State Fire Marshall’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI are all assisting in the investigation.

The Islamic Center of Fort Pierce has launched a fundraising campaign asking for “help [to] rebuild and take a stand against bigotry.”

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

GOP Congresswoman Saying She Would ‘Do Anything’ to Protect Her Grandchildren, Even ‘Shooting Them’ Sets Internet on Fire

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U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in a speech denouncing a House bill on gun safety, appears to inadvertently have declared that to protect her five grandchildren, she would “do anything,” even shoot them.

“I rise in opposition to H.R. 2377,” Congresswoman Lesko says in the video. “I have five grandchildren. I would do anything, anything to protect my five grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting them if I had to, to protect the lives of my grandchildren.”

NCRM has verified the video is accurate. Congresswoman Lesko made the remarks on June 9, according to C-SPAN, while she was opposing a red flag law.

The Congresswoman presumably meant she would as a last resort shoot someone threatening her grandchildren.

One Twitter user, Ryan Shead, posted the previously ignored video to Twitter, where it has gone viral and is trending.

Lesko, who some social media users note is running for re-election unopposed, went on to say: “Democrat bills that we have heard this week want to take away my right, my right to protect my grandchildren. they want to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect their own children and grandchildren. and wives and brothers and sisters,” which is false.

“This bill takes away due process from law-abiding citizens. Can you imagine if you had a disgruntled ex or somebody who hates you because of your political views and they go to a judge and say, ‘oh, this person is dangerous,’ and that judge would take away your guns?”

Lesko’s hypothetical claims are false. Red flag laws are designed to protect both gun owners and those around them.

Some social media users noted that Congresswoman Lesko reportedly “attended meetings about overturning the election,” while others are having fun with the Arizona Republican’s remarks:

Watch Congresswoman Lesko’s remarks above or at this link.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’

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Far-right religious activist, conspiracy theorist, and founder of the right-wing organization Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk has falsely declared that separation of church and state, a bedrock principle on which American society is based, is a “fabrication” not in the Constitution.

Kirk is a member of the secretive theocratic Council for National Policy., a close friend of Donald Trump, Jr., and spent years promoting President Trump – even interviewing him at one point. Turning Point USA has had repeated challenges. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer in 2017 write a piece about TPUSA titled, “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity.”

Former TPUSA communications director Candace Owens has praised Hitler, saying “the problem” with him was that he wanted to “globalize.”

RELATED: Watch: Charlie Kirk Calls for Texans to Be ‘Deputized’ to Protect ‘White Demographics in America’

On Wednesday Kirk declared, “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists.”

That’s false.

The claim separation of church and state is not in the Constitution is a religious right belief that has been debunked by countless legal experts.

“Of course we should have church and state mixed together,” Kirk continued. “Our Founding Fathers believed in that. We can go through the detail of that. They established – literally – a church in Congress.”

That too is false.

RELATED: ‘When Do We Get to Use the Guns?’: TP USA Audience Member Asks Charlie Kirk When Can ‘We Kill’ Democrats? (Video)

“It’s a good thing Charlie Kirk doesn’t go to Wheaton because he would fail my Constitutional Law class,” writes Dr. Miranda Yaver, PhD, a Wheaton College professor.

As most public school students know, Kirk’s claims are belied by the First Amendment to the U.S., Constitution, which states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It’s the Establishment Clause, legal experts say, that debunks Kirk’s falsehood.

In reviewing the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, Reuters last month noted: “It was President Thomas Jefferson who famously said in an 1802 letter that the establishment clause should represent a ‘wall of separation’ between church and state. The provision prevents the government from establishing a state religion and prohibits it from favoring one faith over another.”

Jefferson is also considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

Watch Charlie Kirk below or at this link.

 

 

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News

Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert

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Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.

Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.

“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”

READ MORE: Longtime friend of GOP’s Eric Greitens calls him a ‘broken man’ and accuses him of lying about his beliefs

“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”

As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”

See the discussion below.

Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks  via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.

 

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