It’s a little forgotten now, but back in 2009, when the Obama Administration was trying to find takers for the Guantanamo prisoners, there was talk of moving six Guantanamo inmates who were Uighurs (Chinese Muslims) to Northern Virginia. The Democrats argued they’d fit in better because there’s a large Uighur community in Northern Virginia. Republicans, including Rep. Frank Wolf, thought it was a bad idea to have al Qaeda-trained terrorists living in the NoVa suburbs. Indeed, Rep. Wolf led the ultimately successful charge to have the Uighurs settled elsewhere. (They were ultimately unilaterally settled in Bermuda, without the British Government’s knowledge or consent, further straining our relationship with Great Britain.)
Jim Moran’s thoughts on the subject? Quite simply, if you opposed bringing al Qaeda-trained terrorists to NoVa, you are a racist. Check out this exchange on CNN’s Situation Room (transcript below):
MALVEAUX: Now to the debate over closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. A group of Chinese Muslim detainees could be the first Gitmo prisoners released in the United States. Their fate has been in limbo since 2003, when they were cleared for release.
Well, the U.S. won’t send them back to their homeland. They are fearing they’ll be tortured by Chinese authorities. Now they may wind up in the president’s back yard.
Our CNN’s Brianna Keilar reports from Fairfax County, Virginia.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, this is a suburb right outside of Washington, D.C., and it’s also the heart of the Uighur exile community in the U.S. There are hundreds of Uighurs in northern Virginia who say they want to welcome these 17 detainees into their neighborhoods, but the Fairfax County residents we spoke with have mixed feelings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They got here because we brought them, yes. So we own them. I’m not afraid of them. You know? What’s there to fear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should we bring them into our country, into our neighborhoods? Leave them in a safe place where they can be looked upon safely by troops.
KEILAR (voice-over): Nuri Turkel came to the U.S. in the 1990s. He is urging the U.S. government to release his fellow Uighurs. He says they are harmless and misunderstood.
NURY TURKEL, UIGHUR ADVOCATE: The oppression is very similar as the Tibetans. Just because the Uighurs did not have a charismatic leader like the Dalai Lama and the Uighurs didn’t have the grassroots movement leader that the Tibetans have, the West literally don’t know about the Uighurs. And so it’s very easy for politicians and certain groups to label them and (INAUDIBLE) about the Uighurs.
KEILAR: Republican Frank Wolf represents Fairfax County and is a strong advocate for its Uighur community, but insists the detainees are dangerous and should not be released in the U.S.
REP. FRANK WOLF (R), VIRGINIA: Under the law, a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. You do not want to take this chance of having people who have spent seven years down in Guantanamo, who perhaps have gone to a training camp, whose leader of the group is on the terrorist list. When they’re released, they should be released outside the United States.
KEILAR: Democrat Jim Moran disputes the Uighurs ties to terrorism.
REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: It’s just appealing to people’s fear instinct of the other people that they don’t know whose name they can’t even pronounce. But that’s not who we are as Americans. We are a haven for people who want individual freedoms, the right to practice their own religion, to speak, to assemble, whatever, as long as they don’t threaten any physical violence to anyone else.
KEILAR: For now, the Uighurs are in limbo. The Supreme Court is deciding whether to hear their appeal to be released. But even if the justices decide to take up the case, it could be more than a year before the men learn their fate — Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Thank you, Brianna.
(Here’s the link to the transcript.)
Now remember, these guys were trained by al-Qaeda. They were in Guantanamo for a reason. But according to Jim, that’s not why people didn’t want them moving in in NoVA. It’s because they couldn’t pronounce their names.
Congressman Moran cares more about partisan politics and blindly supporting Obama and helping him with his ill-conceived closure of Guantanamo than he cares about BASIC PUBLIC SAFETY. We can’t afford more of Moran’s partisan politics that put ideology before the safety of 8th District residents.