Sep 5 2011
Rep. Michele Bachmann’s staff had set up video equipment for six Muslim constituents who had come to her district office for a meeting. The plan was for them to have a teleconference with the congresswoman, who was in Washington. But Bachmann did not turn up.
Washington Post It was the second time the group had been stood up by Bachmann, whose office blamed a scheduling conflict. Huq said Bachmann offered no apology and did not attempt to reschedule.
Asked about the no-show meeting with the Muslim constituents in 2009, Becky Rogness, a spokeswoman for Bachmann’s congressional office, said cancellations were sometimes unavoidable. The office declined to comment about specific incidents but said Bachmann strives to respond to all of her constituents regardless of their points of view.
The St. Cloud Area Somali Salvation Organization, which assists the region’s refugee population, had a good working relationship with Bachmann’s Republican predecessor, Mark Kennedy. So shortly after she took office, the group reached out to Bachmann for help on the case of someone who had been deported to Mexico. Bachmann’s office did not respond to phone calls and letters, said the administrator, Farhad Mohamud.
“It seems that she never had an intention to have a relationship with our community,” said Mohamud, a social conservative who said he would consider voting for a Republican other than Bachmann for president.
Bachmann’s relationship with local Muslims has been particularly strained. Muslim voters say it is not because she is a Republican. They point out that as governor, Pawlenty maintained a working relationship with Muslims and that his administration, for instance, created a home loan program to comply with Islamic law, which forbids the charging or paying of interest. (Part of the reason why he is no longer a candidate)
Some Muslims in Bachmann’s district say they know her primarily from what they see on television, and they point to a remark she made during a Republican debate in 2005. Asked about rioting Muslim youth in France, Bachmann responded, “Not all cultures are equal,” and she criticized the “tribalism” of Muslims immigrating to the country.
“Not all values are equal,” she continued. “Those who are coming into France, which had a beautiful culture, the French culture is actually diminished. It’s going away. And just with the population in France, they are losing Western Europeans, and it’s being taken over by a Muslim ethic. Not that Muslims are bad, but they are not assimilating.”