A little housekeeping is required regarding our primary-eve blog about Denver Post blogger and former state senator John Andrews' attack on Rima Sinclair, a Republican candidate for State House District 6, who lost in a big way to rival Joshua Sharf. Sinclair phoned yesterday to inform me that Andrews had published a blog on the Post's Politics West site tanning me like a piece of leather -- something I hadn't known, since keeping track of people saying bad things about me would be a fulltime job, and I already have one of those (my boss and the faltering print-journalism industry willing). So I checked out Andrews' missive, bizarrely headlined "Hey Westword, Your PC is Showing," and discovered heaping helpings of hilarity and hypocrisy.
In the piece, which accuses yours truly of political correctness, not of using a personal computer as opposed to a Mac, Andrews scoffs at the suggestion that referring to Sinclair as "Rima Barakat Sinclair" rather than "Rima Sinclair," the name under which she ran for office, could be interpreted as race- and faith-baiting, or that suggesting she acts like "an Islamist mole" might have been over the top. But he completely ignores my main point -- that he should have contacted Sinclair to give her an opportunity to respond to his charges, particularly since he was writing for the Post, a paper that aspires to basic journalistic standards, as opposed to an independent blog.
When I phoned Sinclair, I discovered that Andrews had a point in regard to her comments about Jewish media moguls. But instead of complimenting me on my fairness and evenhandedness, he excoriated me for allowing her to repeat her dubious remarks -- which he paraphrases twice more in his own response. And then there's this statement:
I won't attempt here, for Roberts's benefit, a detailed defense of Joshua Sharf -- to whom, full disclosure, I gave a campaign endorsement, a recurring slot on my radio show, and a plug to be one of the Gang bloggers [for Politics West].
Full disclosure? One of my complaints about Andrews' first salvo was that he didn't disclose any of these facts, which he should have done to help readers put his views into perspective.
By the way, Sinclair denies that she introduced herself to Andrews as "Rima Barakat" when they met several years ago, and she believes an e-mail that was sent to him at the time, which identifies her as "Rima B. Sinclair," proves her point. This assertion and other material, including a letter she says the Post has refused to publish, can be found below.
Whatever the truth, I've got to give Andrews credit for his spinning abilities. That guy shoulda been a politician. -- Michael Roberts
Material submitted by Rima Sinclair:
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1) What's in a name?
Soon after my nomination as the Republican candidate for House District 6, Joshua Sharf, John Andrews, Mike Rosen and others of their ilk, have repeatedly complained about my Semitic maiden name, Barakat. Sharf wrote he did not want a "Barakat in Sinclair's clothing" running for office. Rosen, marching to the same tune, claimed that I wanted to run away from my "Middle-Eastern" name. At first John Andrews seemed confused, but then he wrote: "Rima Barakat, without the Sinclair, was how she introduced herself to me .... that is what she still often goes by for media purposes when wearing her Muslim activist hat." Perhaps the obsession with my name had caused a lapse in his memory. The first time I saw him was at the Jewish Community Center, during a talk about Islam that featured Andrews and Dan Grossman. A couple of days later I sent this first of several follow-up emails:
----- Original Message ----- From: Sinclair To: Herzel Melmed ; Dan Grossman ; John Andrews Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:39 AM Subject: Mosque visit
Following up on our discussion at tithe JCC last Monday, I proceeded to arrange for your visit to Colorado Muslim Society on Parker Rd. I talked to the Imam and our office manager, and hey welcomed the idea. We all agreed to set a date for this visit before the start of Ramadan(Oct 4th - a busy month of fasting and worship) I suggested Sunday Oct 2nd. 2:00- 4:00pm. We will invite about 10 people to join us representing the three Abrahamic religions
Regards, Rima B. Sinclair
In order to ease their enquiring minds and solve the mystery behind the name; The word "barakat" comes from the Semitic root, "barak." My surname is the plural form of the word and it means the "Blessed." Semites, Israelis and Palestinians, may bear the name in the singular or plural form. Most people know me by my maiden name, but after I got married, I took up my husband's family name and my legal name became Sinclair. I am proud of both names, and feel blessed that I am able to incorporate into my life the positive aspects of both Western and Eastern traditions.
2) Self-Hating Semite
Andrews wrote that I made "excuses", in print and during a KNUS radio interview, for the terrorists who attack civilians, yet he did not bring forth any evidence for his claims. In fact, on May 1st 2008, the GOP Denver county and district officers invited Sharf and his supporters to bring forth any evidence for their claims; none of them showed up. Instead, Andrews, Rosen, and Sharf, along with other tabloid publications, pointed to a 2006 interview where I criticized Israel's shelling of civilians during the Lebanon war. But, a careful examination of the video would show not a single word was said in support terror attacks against civilians. To the contrary, it reveals that I had clearly stated that killing civilians was not condoned by the Abrahamic religions. It would also prove that my statements were reported by various international media outlets, including Israel's.
Andrews' denial that the attacks were not motivated by "race- and faith-baiting" was incredible. What else was he angry about?
He actually quoted a David Horowitz publication that claimed that I aim to destroy the whole Western civilization with the help of the "Muslim Brotherhood" -the fact that the "brotherhood" , by definition, excludes all women did not cross their minds. The referred article was a re-packaged version of Sharf's allegations before I was even nominated. Andrews, again, neglected to disclose that he knew Horowitz and that they worked together to pass the Academic Bill of Rights (ABOR) when Andrews was the President of the Colorado House.
In addition to all of the racial, Islamophobic "hate and fear" and labeling campaign, Sharf saw it appropriate to sneak in a post on the Denver Metro Young Republicans (DMYR) calling on volunteers to help his election campaign to defend the "Home front from Islamist terror." He too has claimed that my ethnicity and faith had nothing to do with his attacks.
Many theologians, academics, and politicians have criticized the Israeli occupation policies in Palestine. It has become a cliché to label all objectors according to their ethnic and faith background. If the critique came from Christians, they would be labeled Anti-Semitic. If they were Jewish, they would be called self-hating Jews. If they were Muslim, they would be labeled "Jihadist" and "Islamist terror apologist." For accuracy's sake, having come from a non-religious Palestinian Semitic background, my attackers should label me a Self-Hating Semite.
3 US Senate Candidate , Bob Schaffer
Andrews' audio "gem", produced by Sharf, only serves to further expose the level of corruption of their business. The same unedited recording would prove that: On June 5, The GOP Denver monthly breakfast featured Dick Wadham as the guest speaker. It was there that I attempted to ask a rhetorical question concerning the wisdom behind US Senate candidate Bob Schaffer's early endorsement of Joshua Sharf, despite the latter's overt racism.
4) Andrews' "Dhimitude"
In his last attempt to cover up his dishonesty, Andrews whips out the "dhimmi" word. I seriously doubt that he even knows the meaning of that word. Suffice to say that from the legal rights point of view, I, a Muslim woman, would trade places with a Christian or a Jewish man in a heart beat if I was living in the mid-east. Men there have far more rights than women regardless of their faith background. Mr Andrews has confused the concept of "Thima" with the concept of the "Goyim" nation. He should read an academic comparative study conducted by scholars that would shed light on this topic beyond the racist rhetoric.
Mr. Andrews' statements were not truthful.
A letter to the editor Sinclair says she sent to the Denver Post:
On March 1, 2008, the Republican Party Assembly elected me to be the Republican Party nominee for State House District 6. I felt honored by this chance to give back to the community where I have lived for 20 years and saw an opportunity to promote the common good.
I grew up in a country where I could not vote and where women are treated as second class citizens. In America, I have built a business, I married a wonderful husband of my own choosing, I do not have to fear authority and can seek to participate in government. Immediately after becoming a naturalized citizen, I joined the Republican Party because I felt it best safeguards these blessings of liberty and opportunity that exist in America and nowhere else.
Soon after my nomination, extremist Republicans launched a vicious campaign against my ethnic Palestinian-American background and my faith. Joshua Sharf, a blogger, who petitioned to be on the ballot, employed destructive stereotypes and scare tactics that have served to distract voters from the serious challenges facing Colorado. He did not go after me for my positions on child protection, healthcare or energy, but found it appropriate to call me a “terror apologist” and “Islamist trouble.” Sharf posted on his blog a statement calling me a “Palestinian Cockroach” and called on the Denver Metro Young Republicans (DMYR) volunteers to help his election campaign to defend the "Home front from Islamist terror." On August 12, Sharf won the Primary election by a margin of 2:1.
After the Primary, the attacks did not stop. Radio talk show host and Denver Post columnist John Andrews excused his participation in this bizarre episode in the Colorado Republican party history and wrote that I was a “strong threat” to America and quoted a tabloid that my goal was “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” Then on August 18, Andrews wrote that I was absorbed by my ethnic origins “that it seemed Palestine might be her one issue if elected state representative.” Andrews omitted, for example, that I was the only candidate who highlighted the urgent need to protect our children's physical well-being. Somebody must speak out on behalf of the voiceless in our society.
Running for Colorado State House District 6 has little to do with international conflicts despite the attempts by Republican extremists to paint it otherwise.
This is what is relevant: I care about our future in this great state in this great nation. I believe in the values of equality, justice, freedom of religion, and the sanctity of human life. I am for smaller, smarter government and responsible capitalism that balances the drive for profit with environmental and social sensitivities. I support getting rid of the use tax that continues to weigh down small business. I believe the property tax-rate freeze has essentially resulted in a property tax hike, causing an additional burden on hard working Coloradans .I believe any healthcare solution must build on the existing infrastructure and focus on cost containment, portability, and individual choice. These are the types of issues the campaign should have been about.
Rima B. Sinclair