Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann
courted controversy today by claiming that falafel and other "jihadi foods" should be banned from school lunches in the United States.
In an interview with local television station KSTP
in Minneapolis, Bachmann explained that after visiting a local elementary school she was shocked to find that falafel
- a fried vegetable patty popular in the Arab world - was being served as a option on the vegetarian menu.
Ostensibly in the studio to discuss her close race for reelection against Democratic challenger Jim Graves
, Bachmann instead used the time to appeal for a nationwide movement against Arab cuisine.
Startled by the parochial nature of her statements, KSTP anchor Chris Johnson felt obliged to challenge her reasoning:
"I have to ask Ms. Bachmann, why is that a problem? I mean some children like the taste of falafel, what's wrong with that?"
"Chris, falafel is a gateway food," responded Bachmann, "It starts with falafel, then the kids move on to shawarma
. After a while they say 'hey this tastes good, I wonder what else comes from Arabia?' "
"Before you know it our children are listening to Muslim music, reading the Koran, and plotting attacks against the homeland."
"We need to stop these terror cakes now, before they infiltrate any further."
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Bachmann stopped short of advocating a ban on all Arab food, saying that "responsible adults can probably use Arab food safely in moderation."
However, she made clear that she was frightened by the pace at which the cuisine has permeated the U.S.:
"I have a friend in Texas who has to homeschool her children because her local public school forces students to eat hummus. Its everywhere now. This is really scary stuff."
Bachmann then intimated that the widespread use of Arab foods in American schools could be the sign of a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top:
"I have no proof that President Obama is forcing our children to eat Arab and Middle Eastern food. But it would certainly fit the pattern."
Bachmann has a history of controversial statements regarding Islam and the role of Muslims in America.
She says her first priority upon returning to congress will be to introduce a bill protecting America's children from the dangers of Muslim cooking:
"We must ban falafel and other jihadi foods in schools before its too late."