FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A South Florida Muslim group sent Congressman Allen West a letter asking him to disassociate himself from activists the group considers anti-Islamic.
Congressman West did respond and the letter he sent back is raising some eyebrows.
If it looks like the shortest letter you’ve ever seen from a member of congress, it probably is. How short? Try one word, in capital letters: “NUTS!”
“I was shocked at first. I didn’t expect this from a congressman,” said Nezar Hamze, the executive director of CAIR Florida — the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“We stand up for the civil rights of the Muslim community. That’s what we do,” said Hamze.
Hamze says he wrote to the Republican Congressman earlier this month with his concerns about the Congressman’s relationships with groups and people Hamze considers to be anti-Islamic.
“When I first saw that, I wasn’t sure if he was calling me nuts, or he was calling my concerns nuts,” said Hamze.
“It doesn’t look too professional to me. It doesn’t look thought out,” said one constituent in West’s district 22 named Chuck.
Simone Oliver, another district 22 constituent thinks it’s fine, but says it needs a little more.
“Maybe another sentence, explaining,” she said.
West has not fully explained his position, but in other letters to CAIR Florida, he has said he is neither anti-Islamic nor anti-Muslim.
The line West wrote has historical significance. During World War II, General Anthony McAuliffe famously wrote a one-word letter to the Germans in response to a surrender ultimatum. The word used: “Nuts!
Hamze doesn’t think he’ll ever find out what Congressman West meant with the word because, he says, West has turned down all meetings with CAIR Florida.
“[If I could say something to him now,] I’d tell him to grow up! To act like a congressman and engage in dialogue, and to stop the school boy insults,” said Hamze.
West turned down an interview request from CBS4 News on Monday. As of Monday night, his office had not yet responded to requests for a statement on the matter.