Kudos to Senator Flake

A Mormon Republican Senator visits an Arizona mosque.

Sen. Jeff Flake visits local mosque

Afternoon prayers at the Islamic Center of the North East Valley looked a little different Friday as U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, his wife and two of their children were in attendance.

“We have much in common with our brothers and sisters in the Muslim faith; we have much to learn from them,” Flake said.

The visit was a result of growing anti-Muslim sentiment among Americans and rhetoric coming out of Washington. he said.

After the prayer sermon, Flake addressed the congregation.

“Just a message of solidarity and appreciation for the contributions of the Muslim-American community to this community this state and to the nation,” he said.

I am very impressed by this gesture which would have been welcome at any time, but is especially noteworthy given the pronouncements of Donald Trump as well as the general anti-Muslim sentiment that has been brewing in the populace of late.

Both Flake and Ali addressed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the country.

“I think all of us were surprised at the statement that was made, and the position and policy that he has adopted; I don’t think that it reflects well, certainly not on the Republican Party, and it doesn’t reflect well on us as a country if this were to go,” Flake said. ”It’s just the antithesis of everything that we stand for here in America.”

“As we see these poll numbers and the statements of Donald Trump, the best response to ignorance is education,” Ali said.

Those in attendance Friday were grateful for the senator’s support and his show of faith, especially given the hostility they’ve faced solely for practicing their religion.

“Hopefully it will open eyes to fellow Americans that we’re all in this together; we’re all in it to fight extremism and combat terrorist activities,” Rheem Khalife Kabbani said.

If I may: amen.


FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Religion, US Politics, , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    We have much in common with our brothers and sisters in the Muslim faith; we have much to learn from them,” Flake said.

    I was reading the latest National Geographic’s article on Mary (mother of Jesus) this morning. Mary is mentioned more in the Koran than she is in the Bible. I did not know that. So kudos to Sen Flake for recognizing the common roots of their religions.

    I have long grown tired of telling a certain species of Christian that Christians, Jews, and Muslims all worship the same God and being told that I don’t know what I am talking about. I’m an Atheist and I know more about their religion than they do. That is how sad and shallow their belief is.

  2. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: it’s not really the same God, it’s just ostensibly the same God. A rather significant variation on the Old Testament God,,different from the New Testement God and the Book of Mormon God.

    It’s like Superman in that terrible “Man Of Steel” movie. Is he still Superman if he is dark, brooding, stands around watching his father die, and inspires absolutely no one? He has the costume and the name, but he is otherwise unrecognizable.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: They all 3 worship the God of Abraham (that is why they are the “Abrahamic Religions”). I don’t care how you slice it, it’s the same God worshiped differently.

  4. humanoid.panda says:

    If the GOP runs with Cruz (or, Allah willing, Trump) and gets the whupping it earned, watch for Flake and Sandoval running as the GOP’s version of Clinton in 2020..

  5. Bookdragon says:

    Amen indeed. Flake gives me some hope for the GOP as evidence that there are still decent people among its politicians who have the courage to stand up for what’s right. May his tribe increase.

  6. CSK says:

    Good man. The fringe right will be shrieking for his head after this. They hate him already.

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    It is not surprising that Sen. Flake would reach out to members of another religious minority, given his faith background. Hopefully other political figures from religious minorities will do so, as well.

    Perhaps Schumer will be next? [Ah hah hah hah hah!!]

  8. al-Ameda says:

    Senator Flake is venturing into RINO territory with this gesture.

    I commend the senator. These days it is far too easy to be a demagogue, so it is very nice to see a political leader take the not often taken high road.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @al-Ameda: It seems that if you do anything that is thoughtful, reasonable, or prudent, you get screamed at for being a RINO.

    I do wish the Republican Party would stop being dragged around by the carnival geeks. People such as Rush Limbaugh don’t care if we have a working system at the end–the only thing they care about are the eyeballs on the screen.

  10. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    That’s eminently true. Limbaugh, Levin, that whole crew are interested in expanding, or keeping, their audiences, and that involves playing to the lowest common denominator.

    Slightly OT, but Donald Trump, who is now identifying himself to Iowans as an “evangelical,” has accused Ted Cruz of not being an evangelical, because “he’s from Cuba.”

    It’s hard to imagine how this whole thing could get uglier and trashier than it already is, but it seems it will.

  11. Laurence Burton says:

    As a former Mormon with many family and friends in the faith, I have a lot of facebook friends that are Mormon – most of whom are conservative of course. I think it’s fair to say from the sampling that I’ve seen that Mormons in general are not buying into Islamophobia, nor are they buying in to Trump in general.

    This is almost certainly due to a series of statements from the LDS Church supporting refugees. I could be wrong on this, but I think I even heard that every Republican governor has come out against resettling Syrian refugees in their state, with the lone exception being the governor of Utah.

  12. Franklin says:

    I, too, wish to commend Senator Flake for doing the right thing. And even beyond that, reaching out rather than attacking.

  13. Matt says:

    @Laurence Burton: Not terribly surprising as Mormons were in the same position at one point. Even today they are looked down on and discriminated against by other so called Christians.