By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
NEW YORK - New York's beleaguered governor, David Paterson, has done it again. This time mischaracterizing Muslims in his comments about a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero.
Paterson, in an apparent attempt to allay the fears of those who maintain the center would be a hotbed of terrorism, called its backers "Sufi Muslims."
"This is not like the Shiites," Paterson continued.
"They're almost like a hybrid, almost westernized. They are not really what I would classify in the sort of mainland Muslim practice."
Which, of course, implies, that "mainland Muslims" are not westernized and are to be feared.
Not surprisingly, this latest gaff by Paterson, has drawn the ire of Muslims.
Among those chiming in are the folks at the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who diplomatically called Paterson "grossly misinformed."
"Governor Paterson's comments are grossly misinformed and will be used to support the false notion that mainstream Muslims are somehow incapable of being productive citizens," said CAIR-NY's Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali.
"Responsible leaders should refrain from mainstreaming misinformation about Islam and instead reach out to the Muslim community and its leaders. Of particular concern is the governor's derogatory description of Shia Muslims."
Ali wants Paterson to meet with representatives of New York's Muslim community to discuss and find ways of quelling the anti-Muslim rhetoric that the proposed community center is engendering.
Maybe she should wait until Paterson is out of office and someone who people actually respect as governor takes over before holding such a meeting.
This latest misstep comes as Paterson is being accused of having misled investigators over his acceptance of World Series tickets last year.
It also comes at a time when Paterson predicted "violence and death" because he's ordering the collection of sales taxes for cigarettes sold on Indian reservations to non-Indians.
Paterson, who was lieutenant governor, became governor in 2008 when the incumbent, Eliot Spitzer, resigned over a sex scandal involving a prostitute. One day after he was sworn in, he and his wife both acknowledged having had extramarital affairs.
Fortunately for New Yorkers, Paterson will not be governor for much longer. He was planning to run as an incumbent, but dropped out of the race after it was revealed that he may have tried to use State Police troopers to try to convince a woman to drop a domestic abuse charge against one of his aides. Although he dropped out of the election, he has claimed no wrongdoing and he has resisted calls to resign.
The election is this year, which means Paterson will be governor for just four more months. But two questions remain. Can the Muslims - and everyone else in New York - manage to wait for a new governor to be sworn in? And can Paterson keep his mouth shut until then?
Host - News Talk Online
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