WASHINGTON — Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., one of four Hindus in Congress, on Wednesday said he was “outraged” by Islamophobic emails written by Cubs patriarch and conservative mega-donor Joe Ricketts, and urged the baseball organization to meet with “leading” Muslim-Americans in the Chicago area.
A meeting is already in the works, spokesman Dennis Culloton said, as the Ricketts family scrambles to contain the damage from the hacked emails.
The senior Ricketts’ fortune paved the way for his four children to become Cubs co-owners and board members, with Tom, the Cubs chairman. Todd Ricketts is leading the fundraising drive to re-elect President Donald Trump. Pete Ricketts is the GOP Nebraska governor and Laura Ricketts is a major Democratic donor, fundraiser and activist.
Krishnamoorthi, from Schaumburg, who represents the northwest suburban 8th Congressional District, said in a statement, “I am outraged to read about the Islamophobic emails written by Joe Ricketts.
“As a country, we need to send the message that this language and these ideas are unacceptable. There are strong forces in our country seeking to divide us and turn communities against one another. We are all Americans, and we all have the constitutional right to practice our religion free of government interference, but our society needs to demand acceptance and respect that go beyond that minimum standard.
“Muslim-Americans, and all Americans, should be able to live their lives and follow their paths of worship free of hate-filled speech and denunciations. Although the Cubs Organization has already distanced itself from Joe Ricketts’ comments, I call on the Chicago Cubs organization to convene a meeting of leading Muslim-Americans in the Chicago area with members of the Ricketts family to engage in a constructive dialogue regarding the importance of religious freedom and respect in America.”
The anti-Muslim emails, where Joe Ricketts wrote “Islam is a cult and not a religion,” included the promotion of birther conspiracies falsely suggesting former President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.
Joe Ricketts issued an apology. Tom Ricketts in a statement condemned his father’s “language and views.”
On Wednesday, Culloton said the four Ricketts siblings “agree with everything in the Congressman’s message” as arrangements are still pending about the meeting with Muslim community leaders.
The Ricketts email release at the web publication SplinterNews.com comes at a politically sensitive time. Todd Ricketts, tapped by Trump to be the finance chair of the Republican National Committee, last week expanded his duties to steer joint fundraising with Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
Trump has his own rocky relations with Muslim-Americans. At the start of his presidency, Trump banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, following anti-Muslim rhetoric during his campaign.