Tea Party Official Apologizes To Hindus After Insulting Muslim “Monkey God”; Local Hindu Says, Take Your Apology And Shove It

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Oh, you thought there was going to be a Tea Party and nobody was going to invite The Hindus? Oh, The Hindus are INVITED. The thing is, this particular Hindu is booked with other, more rational and less racist political affiliations. I have to wash my hair that day, Tea Partiers. AND FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, WHENEVER ANYONE LIKE YOU CALLS. Because guess what, I have lots of Muslim friends and they are awesome, and I am not going anywhere where they are not ALSO invited.

The short version is that Tea Party Express chairperson Mark Williams, who is a CNN commentator, made a comment in which he slammed Muslims for (get this) worshipping “the terrorists’ monkey god.”

According to the NY Daily News’ first story on the topic:

“A National Tea Party leader protesting a proposed mosque near Ground Zero set off a firestorm of anger Wednesday by saying that Muslims worship “the terrorists’ monkey god.”

Mark Williams, chairman of the Tea Party Express, blogged about the 13-story mosque and Islamic cultural center planned at Park Place and Broadway, calling it a monument to the 9/11 terrorists.

“The monument would consist of a Mosque for the worship of the terrorists’ monkey-god,” Williams, a frequent guest on CNN, wrote on his Web site.”

(The article on his website is now password-protected, and to get the password, you have to buy his book, which is not on GoogleBooks as far as I can tell. Possibly because Google’s slogan is “don’t be evil.”)

BUT IT GETS EVEN BETTER.

Williams APOLOGIZED. But not to, I don’t know, HUMANITY and especially Muslims, but to his “Hindu friends.” (Who ARE you, dudes? You Hindu Friends of Mark Williams? I imagine an extremely small club.) From his blog:

“I was wrong and that was offensive. I owe an apology to millions of Hindus who worship Lord Hanuman, an actual Monkey God.”

Oh, an ACTUAL Monkey God. You’re bending your opportunistic reality to accommodate an Actual Monkey God, as opposed to the one you concocted from the space in your brain where your education was supposed to go.

BUT IT CONTINUES!

“Moreover, Hanuman is worshiped as a symbol of perseverance, strength and devotion. He is known as a destroyer of evil and to inspire and liberate. Those are hardly the traits of whatever the Hell (literally) it is that terrorists worship and worthy of my respect and admiration not ridicule.”

NY Daily News story on his apology

A whole bunch of folks (like the Manhattan borough president and some other political types) denounced what he said… but I don’t see any Tea Partiers doing it. (Counterexamples? Comment thread away.)

Let me just say, I for one do not accept his apology, because it is offered in a spirit that is completely antithetical to the Hindu faith and the Hindu community in which I was raised, and because it demeans Islam, a religion that is important to so many of my friends and loved ones.

Also, while we’re at it, I dislike the Tea Party for associating tea, my favorite beverage, with racism and discrimination. South Asian-American folks, let’s reclaim tea and stand in solidarity against this kind of asshattery.

71 thoughts on “Tea Party Official Apologizes To Hindus After Insulting Muslim “Monkey God”; Local Hindu Says, Take Your Apology And Shove It

  1. I’m guessing this is all part of a larger “strategery” by Tea Party leaders. You say something completely wrongheaded and incendiary in public to make a point to your constituents, and get every blogger in the country talking about you. A couple of days later, you come up with a retraction and a half-hearted apology, so the media will think you’re a nice and reasonable person, while your constituents sing your praises for not backing down even a little bit from the original wrongheaded and incendiary statement.

    Did anyone read the comments to Williams’ apology post on his blog? If you didn’t know before, the Hindu religion is full of sex, thanks to the Kama Sutra! ;)

  2. Damn. Well said. The second I read that story on CNN I wondered what SM’s take on it would be. I wish more people would call these asshats out.

  3. So when I first read about his comment two possibilities entered my mind.

    He is mixing up everything and consciously as well as unconsciously dissing Hindus as well. Meaning ignorance, not caring to know about differences in religions, equating it with Islam. But at the same time while he is also making fun of the idea of Hindu gods (though he doesn’t realize they are Hindu gods.)

    But that was like a five percent chance, in my opinion.

    The other possibility which I readily believed and still believe is that he was making a racial derogatory comment towards Muslims. Monkey God–>> God of Monkeys—>>the Muslims. Similar to the slur used for Arabs and Middle Easterners, which actually end up being extended to all browns from Asia and North Africa.

  4. Also, while we’re at it, I dislike the Tea Party for associating tea, my favorite beverage, with racism and discrimination. South Asian-American folks, let’s reclaim tea and stand in solidarity against this kind of asshattery.

    Maybe we should start a Chai Party.

  5. The one comment left on his blog in response to his “apology” is so hateful towards Hindus that it seems like it could have been written by the “South Asian” Far Left…maybe they exchange notes. In any case, I agree with the basic point of your post V.V. I hope Hindu-Americans understand how hateful this dude is for not differentiating between Muslims at large and fundamentalists and steer clear of this nut. As with the case of the BNP which refers to its one Sikh member as a “guest”, in his particular utopia we too would be children of a lesser god.

  6. There are interesting intelligent competent discussions that can be made about what the Tea Party means, who is in it and what this incident means as a whole. Unfortunately, I think this is going to be an opportunity for a GOP Bash fest. Let’s see how fast this comment section is going to be closed.

  7. NYX….I agree. As someone who has occassionally voted republican at the local/state level, that would be unfortunate. But, I have to say it is harder to stand up for the GOP day by day as the last Rockefellers are drummed out and they make cynical use of these TPM wackos. Many centrist Democrats, including myself, were terrified that Code Pink and “Move On” would lose the election for us but the GOP seems to find it worthwhile to be seen in public with their “crazy uncle”

  8. Amardeep, I believe the liberal alternative would be referred to as the Latte Party.

    French presses and organic locally produced milk for everyone!

  9. Well, let’s see if the Internet Hindus descend on the Tea Baggers like the legions of Hanuman — that would be worth the price of admission.

  10. @hema

    Your hypothesis fits with highly intelligent people who carefully control their message rather than ignorant guys who just blurt out any silly thing that comes to their mind. I’m guessing you made a typo. Let me try to think who fits in better.

    I’m guessing this is all part of a larger “strategery” by Tea Party leaders candidate Obama. You say something completely wrongheaded and incendiary in public (Senator from Punjab) to make a point to your constituents, and get every blogger (e.g. SM) in the country talking about you. A couple of days later, you come up with a retraction and a half-hearted apology, so the media (e.g. SM) will think you’re a nice and reasonable person, while your constituents (unions) sing your praises for not backing down even a little bit from the original wrongheaded and incendiary statement.

    There … edited it for you. :-)

  11. Well, let’s see if the Internet Hindus descend on the Tea Baggers like the legions of Hanuman — that would be worth the price of admission.

    I was hoping they would show up after Glenn Beck’s “the Ganges, a river that sounds like a disease” comment. Sadly (for me), not much happened.

  12. Give it to Mark Bhaiyya, he’s got a sense of humor

    who responding to a comment from Paul re CCC and Kama Sutra,

    I think that a little Kama Sutra might loosen you up a little there Paul. Maybe you should look into it.

    Too much monkeying around. And have we forgotten the rich popular tradition of comedy featuring Hanuman and his tail?

  13. I am trying to recall the support the Hindu Community got from Muslims when various communities pushed back against temple development /expansions (in Pomona for instance).

    No luck … Still thinking … Still no luck … Still thinking …

    Ok, that’s taking too much time, lemme think of the help Hindu communities got in building temples in Muslim nations…

    Saudi Arabia? No luck … UAE? Still thinking … Bagladesh? Still no luck … Malaysia? Still thinking …

    I dunno why, but somehow I cannot work up a rage at the prospect of not being able to hear “Allah ho Akbar” when I’m downtown..

  14. s someone who has occasionally voted republican at the local/state level, that would be unfortunate. But, I have to say it is harder to stand up for the GOP day by day as the last Rockefellers are drummed out and they make cynical use of these TPM wackos. Many centrist Democrats, including myself, were terrified that Code Pink and “Move On” would lose the election for us but the GOP seems to find it worthwhile to be seen in public with their “crazy uncle”

    The Dems are overtaken by their “crazy uncles” (and aunts) at least in the White House – see Anita Dunn, Van Jones, Valerie Jarett, Rahm Emmanuel, Kevin Jennings (the Fist Czar) etc. In all fairness, Dunn and Jones were removed from their post. The Uncle of all Crazy Uncles is obviously Joe Biden. As a side point, there are no centrist democrats anymore which is a damn shame but it is what it is. Besides, I don’t even know who Mark Williams is. I can see the point with Beck or Palin but Mark Williams? Who even knew who he was before this controversy? How is he influencing the White House (with Beck and Palin, I could see their power but Williams?)

  15. I say that we ignore the nuts. They come from all different political persuasions – remember Biden’s quip about 7-11 and Indians? Come election time, we simply choose the less unsavory or less ignorant candidate. Getting riled up about such stuff plays to yet another stereotype of us being thin-skinned on religious matters and keeps this nonsense in play.

    One days soon, this character won’t be in the news and will probably return to his old job at the local DQ.

  16. I was hoping they would show up after Glenn Beck’s “the Ganges, a river that sounds like a disease” comment. Sadly (for me), not much happened.

    Professor sahib are lying here – you were not ‘hoping’ they would show up, because you knew they would not show up :) . You have already decreed that one shall take offense in such matters only if ones holy book explicitly lists that act as sinful.

  17. DizzyDesi wrote:

    I am trying to recall the support the Hindu Community got from Muslims when various communities pushed back against temple development /expansions (in Pomona for instance).

    DizzyDesi, I’m sure you’ve heard of the incident at Maple Grove when a Hindu temple was vandalized. An Islamic punk band called the Kominas actually held a fundraiser to rebuild it.

  18. You have already decreed that one shall take offense in such matters only if ones holy book explicitly lists that act as sinful.

    What the hell does this even mean?

  19. I’m sure you’ve heard of the incident at Maple Grove when a Hindu temple was vandalized. An Islamic punk band called the Kominas actually held a fundraiser to rebuild it.

    Thanks for reminding me of that. It is a bunch of supercool Bangladeshi-Americans.

  20. Amardeep wrote:

    I was hoping they would show up after Glenn Beck’s “the Ganges, a river that sounds like a disease” comment.

    Amardeep, Please read this article about the Ganges River’s self-purifying properties. It has dissolved oxygen levels 25 times higher than any other river in the world.

  21. I dunno why, but somehow I cannot work up a rage at the prospect of not being able to hear “Allah ho Akbar” when I’m downtown..

    Let me help you out. Your track record of comments here makes your bigotry amply clear. So, that’s the reason.

  22. I was hoping they would show up after Glenn Beck’s “the Ganges, a river that sounds like a disease” comment.

    that would be taking on an opponent who’d make them run home crying to mommy. better to take on ganesha chocolates, lakshmi burgers, and love guru posters. the vigilant devout know they are the real danger.

  23. As for the mosque, what should be looked into is who is behind it? Where is the funding coming from? There is no big Muslim residential community in that down town area, not for something that size.

    That Turkish PM said something that was disturbing: “Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan once wrote, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.” and then the Saudi’s awarded this guy their “King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam” award. If this is money from the Saudis I would not trust this mosque. They’ve been funding radical Islam in many countries for years now.

    Plus the guy behind this project is behind something else called the Sharia Indx Project:

    “So far the project has produced a book of scholarly essays on the concept of measuring a nation’s “Islamicity”, providing a theoretical foundation for the index. By the end of this year, it expects to release the results of an unprecedented poll, conducted with the Gallup Organisation, that asked people in 44 majority-Muslim nations how well they felt their country complied with Islamic principles. “It will create an annual rating, a score to rate countries on how compliant they are,” said Imam Feisal…. …The pillars of Shariah are based on five – some say six sacrosanct rights and principles. Breaching any of them is considered a major sin that requires punishment.” http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090721/NATIONAL/707209836/1138

    I get the impression this guy behind the 9-11 mosque is far right.

  24. This story is so ridiculous on so many levels. Is it wrong that I got an all-day warm fuzzy from it?

  25. I live and work half a block from the site and speaking to people I get the impression no one wants the center there. I really hope the residents get a say

  26. [deleted by admin for violating comment policy]

    I think a multi-cultural and multi-religious center should be built there instead. A building owned by no one religion – donated perhaps to the city. Where the religions of all those who were killed that day are presented – all given equal treatment. That is a far better way to build bridges and promote tolerance.

  27. @ Sameer.. the mosque that was built in my home town (about 40 years ago) with the help of my dad and many other members of our community was chosen because there was a building on sale that they could afford. Before that they rented a place. A lot of the time it has nothing to do with anything except availability. I noticed your article was from the Jerusalem Post, and they aren’t always known for unbiased reporting.(from wiki: the paper underwent a noticeable shift to the right in the late 1980s… including the paper’s advocacy for privatization of Israeli religious institutions).. Most places of worship are built or bought based on where the greater number of the people live and whether there is property or buildings for sale.

  28. also, does anyone know if there are other places of worship near ground zero (other than mosques).. if not a multicultural center, it would be nice if there were others in the area (but maybe they’re already is?)

  29. Read some where: ‘Tea Party’ took the fun out of ‘Tea’ & ‘Party’

  30. There are at least three churches within walking distance including the oldest Catholic Parish of Manhattan

  31. Williams is an idiot, but his point is relevant. NYC should take some pointers from the Swiss about the mosque construction.

  32. “I was hoping they would show up after Glenn Beck’s “the Ganges, a river that sounds like a disease” comment. Sadly (for me), not much happened.”

    Allow me explain. Glenn Beck is not Muslim. So no point making an issue out of it, is there? Very logical. Also he apologised for confusing Hindus with Muslims which (1) shows correct attitude wrt Muslims and (2) implies that he could one day be persuaded that Hindus are functionally white in the US. (Wishful thinking, but anyway…)

  33. I dunno why, but somehow I cannot work up a rage at the prospect of not being able to hear “Allah ho Akbar” when I’m downtown..

    Dizzy Desi, Next comment like this on any thread again and your done as far as commenting on SM.

  34. “Macaca God” or “God of Macacas” ?

    I guess people haven’t sketched Mohammed enough for Williams to know what he looks like.

    I’m OK with a complete ban on ALL RELIGIONS from building any more “places of worship”. We got enough tax-free havens already.

  35. Dizzy Desi, Next comment like this on any thread again and your done as far as commenting on SM. he made a valid point – you may not necessarily agree. Surely a park would be the best outcome rather than yet another religious building. “Your” done ? – did SM outsource internship to a bogan ?

  36. … I wonder if this tea bag dude is trying to feed on Hindu-Muslim, communal, partition hostilities to win over Hindu South Asian support in his battle against the building of the Masjid… what a tea bag

  37. also, who is he giving the middle finger to? and that is a pretty huge middle finger… such tea baggery…

  38. As a side point, there are no centrist democrats anymore which is a damn shame but it is what it is.

    WTF? Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Mark Warner, Joe Lieberman, Bill Clinton the entire 50-some odd member Blue Dog caucus in the House to name just a few.

    Now name some mod Repubs besides Snowe and Collins. ::cue Jeopardy theme music::

    No, here’s a better one. Name one moderate Repub in the House. I don’t think you can.

  39. I just commented on the “apology.” The person above me accepted the apology “on behalf of all Hindus.”

    I informed him that I, a Hindu, will not be spoken for.

  40. Did anyone else read the NYRB article – The Tea Party Jacobins It went a long way towards helping me understand this movement that (frankly) mystifies me. I think the general idea that it is a movement without an overall direction (though with the common idea ‘don’t get in my way’) pushing a prodding to find its boundaries (are we just xenophobic or are we uncomfortable about the greater fluidity of the ‘American’ identity in the age of NAFTA and globalization) can help to explain why their leaders frequently miss and make such utterly imbecilic and disgusting statements.

  41. WTF? Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Mark Warner, Joe Lieberman, Bill Clinton the entire 50-some odd member Blue Dog caucus in the House to name just a few. Now name some mod Repubs besides Snowe and Collins. ::cue Jeopardy theme music:: No, here’s a better one. Name one moderate Repub in the house. I don’t think you can.

    Mark Warner is a blue dog? LOL, I think you are cribbing from last year. The stimulus and the tarp vote in the house along with the health care vote dispelled any doubt whether these fellows are “blue” dogs. Joe Lieberman voted for the health care bill. Just because he is a hawk on foreign policy affairs, a position that the democrats have now abandoned, does not mean he is a blue dog. Moderate Republicans in the Senate – Lindsay Graham and for now Scott Brown who voted in financial reform legislation. Brown only opposes the health care bill. No one in the house that I know of but I hardly doubt our problem this year is moderate republicans.

  42. Folks, read the Tea Party Jacobin. Its brilliance is astounding.

    Now an angry group of Americans wants to be freer still—free from government agencies that protect their health, wealth, and well-being; free from problems and policies too difficult to understand; free from parties and coalitions; free from experts who think they know better than they do; free from politicians who don’t talk or look like they do (and Barack Obama certainly doesn’t). They want to say what they have to say without fear of contradiction, and then hear someone on television tell them they’re right. They don’t want the rule of the people, though that’s what they say. They want to be people without rules—and, who knows, they may succeed. This is America, where wishes come true. And where no one remembers the adage “Beware what you wish for.”

    Silly Serf, rebelling against the protective arms of the government! How cute that they throw the “tea party are racist” argument in there by saying that they don’t like Obama cause they don’t look like him. Brilliant analysis. Should win a Pulitzer prize.