Reporters should ask Palin and Boykin during their visit to Colorado today: Can a good Muslim be a good American?

A wire service article in the print edition of today’s Denver Post informs us that Sarah Palin, in a speech yesterday, slammed the endangered-species act and called for more domestic oil drilling, but there was nothing more about her appearance tonight with Gen. William Boykin (U.S. Army, ret.).

An Associated Press story on The Post’s website, however, lets us know that, while in the Army, Boykin “disparaged” Islam but apologized later. The AP story was picked up by a handful of Colorado media outlets. AP reported:

Retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin said that America’s enemy was Satan and that one Muslim Somali warlord was an idol-worshipper. Boykin later apologized and said he did not mean to insult Islam. He retired in 2007.

It’s good to see that a drip of Boykin’s attacks on Islam have entered the vein of the Denver media, on the day Palin is scheduled to speak here. But there’s a river of hatred waiting to be aired, including Boykin’s condemnation of Islam and those who practice it. He writes that segments of Islam should not receive 1st Amendment protections like other religions, but his narrow and sweeping condemnations of the Koran and Islamic beliefs make his distinctions between one form of Islam and another meaningless.

At Palin’s event tonight, neither Palin nor Boykin is going to discuss Islam, according to the event’s organizer John Andrews. Reporters need to find the courage to ask Boykin and Palin about their views toward Islam anyway. 

Boykin’s disparagement of Islam is not ancient history, and he’s not apologizing for it now.

And Boykin will be sharing a stage with a former vice presidential candidate who could possibly be the next president of the United States. The fact that these two people are standing together is significant to everyone who cares about tolerance in America.

She and Boykin should be asked the question that the organizer of tonight’s event posed but refused to answer, “Can a good Muslim be a good American?”

If you study Boykin, you’d think he’d answer that question with a no.

And Palin? Well, she’s ok with sharing a podium with Boykin. So it’s reasonable to ask what she thinks.

In fact, journalists wouldn’t be doing their job if they don’t question Palin about Islam. As for Boykin, I’m not saying journalists should condemn him. I can do that. Just tell us what he’s stood for in the past and what he thinks about Islam today. And note that Palin agreed to appear with him at the same event.

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