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Tensions flare on Senate floor over GOP Senator’s Muslim Brotherhood remarks

State Senator Patrick Colbeck

Tensions were high on the Senate floor today, when a lawmaker doubled down on claims that Muslim terrorist groups are trying to infiltrate the U.S.

Republican Senator Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, is running for governor. A Buzzfeed article recently uncovered a presentation Colbeck gave. In it, he accuses a Democratic candidate for governor of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Colbeck has offered no proof to support this claim.

Colbeck did not mention Abdul El-Sayed in his floor speech today, but he did reiterate his belief that there is a “civilization jihad” plot against America furthered by the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The organizations which share the professed mission of the Muslim brotherhood to destroy our nation from within are real, not theoretical,” Colbeck said Thursday. “They are active right here in the state of Michigan.”

Colbeck said Muslims have gained positions of power in places like Hamtramck and Dearborn – where they plan to implement Sharia law. There’s no evidence to support that second claim. But that hasn’t stopped some fringe groups from stoking fears about it.

Democratic Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, denounced Colbeck’s views after Colbeck’s speech.                         

“This type of behavior is a kind of cheap rip-off of Joseph McCarthy,” he said. “Spreading hatred, pseudo intellectualism.”

The Senate president repeatedly banged the gavel at Knezek for his comments against Colbeck.

“Yes I hope you’re looking at me, senator, as I call you a coward.” Senate rules do not allow members to disparage other members during floor speeches. Republican leaders in the House and Senate did not have any comment on Colbeck’s beliefs.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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