Tapio Fires Back at Critics After Interfaith Dustup


After criticizing an interfaith gathering at the state capitol and chastising his own party leaders for being asleep at the switch on the issue of Islamic terrorism, District 5 State Senator, Neal Tapio hammered back at critics even among his own Republican caucus for openly distorting what actually happened at the close of the interfaith event.

“I knew full well the task that I was undertaking and I knew what the response would be,”  Tapio said.  “Frankly, I’m outraged and appalled at what is the repeated and predictable attempt both by the political establishment to suppress open and honest dialog on this crucial issue of national security or on any other issue they believe can be made into a shame game of political correctness.”  Tapio said.

“If I’ve learned anything, it’s that modern political discourse has a lot in common with sharia law these days,” Tapio said.  “Suppression of discourse and dialog are the name of the game in both arenas.  And in both examples, the penalty for criticizing the wrong people or the wrong ideas is a price on your head.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s first so-called, ‘Interfaith Day,’ at the capitol, Tapio and other conservative and Christian leaders had voiced concern and opposition to the combining of Christians and Jewish voices with those of the Islamic faith, saying the intolerance and violence advocated by portions of the Muslim population made their inclusion an inappropriate presence in the state house.  For voicing his concerns, critics called Tapio racist, bigoted and Islamophobic.

“14 Islamic nations believe it their moral and legal duty to kill anyone who leaves the Islamic faith or who speaks against it.  And yet if I as a South Dakota state senator, attempt to point out the dangers of publicly endorsing and sanctioning the most violent and least tolerant belief system on the planet, I am called a racist, a bigot, an Islamophobe and a hateful person,”  Tapio said.

“My heart is with the nearly 2-billion people globally who live under the violence, fear and oppression of Islamic law.  My heart is with the victims of Islamic terrorism around the world and here in the United States.  My heart is with the women who are stoned to death for not wearing a head covering or for speaking in public.  My heart is with the young girls whose genitals are mutilated and who are forced as children to marry and be raped by men old enough to be their grandfathers,”  Tapio said.

“In Newsweek magazine, just yesterday, (January 10) was an article reporting that three American Muslim Imams have spoken publicly, calling for death to all Jews,” Tapio said.

“These are American muslims, on American soil, making threats and incitements of violence against an entire race of people.  And yet, fake news and political opposition are trying to twist and spin and shift the focus, painting me, the son of a Lutheran minister, as hateful, intolerant and racist.” Tapio said.

“Jesus very clearly said to love thine neighbor as thyself and to do good to those who hurt you,” Tapio said.  “I think that’s a very different message than the promotion of terrorist Jihad and calls to kill all non-believers that are coming from Muslim leaders right here in America, and even from the very organization that was given a nice dose of public relations assistance by being invited to enjoy equal credibility and equal participation with Christians and other faiths who just want to live peacefully and safely with their neighbors, regardless of differences of belief.”  Tapio said.