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St. Cloud Times columnist A.J. Kern fans the flames of anti-refugee fears

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Back in September — when presidential hopeful Ben Carson declared that America should never elect a Muslim president because “it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America” — many Americans took it like a slap in the face. Other Republicans not named Trump pushed Carson to apologize to American Muslims. Even bomb-throwing evangelist Ted Cruz (R-Texas) denounced the idea of barring anyone from public office based on religion.

But one columnist from St. Cloud defended Carson.

“Having lived in an Islamic dominant country, I agree with Carson,” wrote St. Cloud Times columnist A.J. Kern. “And, based on his surge in the polls, as well as an increase in donations to his campaign following his statements, many Americans also agree.”

Many Americans living in St. Cloud, Kern’s sphere for influence, do agree with her anti-Muslim views. Starting at the Times last spring, Kern has been doggedly criticizing the Somali refugees who have poured into the city in recent years. Kern’s main crusade: Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities, which sponsor the refugees, are “de facto government bureaucracies” rolling in taxpayer dough while Americans, read: white, Christian Americans — suffer in poverty.

Though Stearns County officials have repeatedly tried to debunk suspicions that refugees receive all sorts of free stuff from the government, there are folks in the area that eat up Kern's theories.

The VFW has invited Kern to speak on “Islam, forced diversity through refugee resettlement and how it affects our American culture, global wealth redistribution, and how to counter the political correctness police.” Cable access show Speechless MN has had her on to talk about how Muslim refugees are pushed on towns by the United Nations, and how Muslim culture is the antithesis of American culture.

“They don’t even use the word assimilate anymore,” Kern told Speechless MN host Tim Kinley during one show. “They are integrating, and we have to accommodate. That’s the reality. The lack of assimilating is creating a lot of conflict.”

Kern, who lived in Iran during the 1970s, was no doubt influenced by the Iranian Revolution. At the time, theocratic revolutionaries overthrew the U.S.-supported Shah and imposed strict Sharia law. Disturbed by the suppression of civil society and treatment of women, Kern somehow came to view Minnesota’s new Muslim refugees as harbingers of the same oppression.

To prove her point, Kern cites a Wenzel Strategies survey that found 32 percent of American Muslims are in favor of making Sharia law the supreme law of America. This happens to be the same pollster that claimed one in four Americans believed the U.S. would collapse within a decade after Obama’s re-election.

Kern has also written that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights organization, is a terrorist organization. And she's dismissed St. Cloud's CreateCommUnity team, Mayor Dave Kleis' racial harmony program, as being driven by communist techniques

“You don’t need to be a theology scholar to understand the possible consequences of Islamic traditionalist-, moderate- or fundamentalist-influenced leadership,” Kern wrote. “Simply look at the existing spectrum of Islamic dominant countries. Particularly as a woman, until Islam is pro-liberty for all, I say ‘No, thank you!’” 

We asked St. Cloud Times editor John Bodette why he brought Kern on as a columnist. Bodette responded to say she is only a volunteer.