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Hans Zeiger recants his call for Republicans to unite against ‘cult of Islam’

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Sep. 14, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
September 14, 2010 2:36 pm

The last time I looked at the writings of House candidate Hans Zeiger, the 25-year-old Republican was drawing fire for his published views on Girl Scouts (“a pro-abortion, feminist training corps”) and public schools (“polluted with the filth of moral relativism.”)

Zeiger said he no longer stands by those columns and blog posts, made when he was 18 and 19. He had some of them pulled down from the Web, which unleashed attacks by Democrats and liberal bloggers accusing him of hiding his real views.

But Zeiger’s posts continue to trickle out, and one unearthed by blogger David Goldstein (warning: foul language) is especially incendiary.

The post on WorldNetDaily, “The right must unite against Islam,” calls for conservatives to rebuild their coalition after their 2006 defeats by making a common enemy of “the cult of Islam.”

This post is a little more recent than others: December 2006, when Zeiger was 21. He seems to lump together the Muslim religion with the terrorist attacks by Muslim fundamentalists on Sept. 11.

Our response to the problem of Islam cannot mainly be war, though it may include war. We must respond with a renewed culture. We must counter the rise of Islam with a faith of our own. That is not to say that conservatives must be Christians, but conservatives must understand that the only defense against Islam is a vibrant Christian culture.

I asked Zeiger about it today. He called the column “unacceptable.” and repeated comments that he has grown a lot since being a “young and naïve” college student schooled on talk radio.

Zeiger, who is Presbyterian, said he respects people of all religious faiths. He said:

A former high school classmate wrote me about that post. And she kind of took me to task for not fully understanding the complexity of Islam, and that’s a fair critique. Since that time I had a Muslim roommate in grad school, studied Islam extensively, doing a masters’ degree in international relations, and have had a lot more time to think about the topic.

So does he still think Islam is a cult? “Islam is very complex, and I would not profess to make sweeping judgments about it.”

What did he mean by “the problem of Islam?” He says: “I don’t know what I was thinking at the time. It was not something I should have written, and not something that expresses anything of my views today.”

Zeiger’s writings have turned at least one potential supporter against him. His former Republican opponent, Steve Vermillion, mocks Zeiger’s references to other faiths’ “false gods” in a letter to The News Tribune. Vermillion says he plans to endorse Democratic Rep. Dawn Morrell.

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