FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) â€“ 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 youâ€™ve ever seen from a member of congress, it probably is. How short? Try one word, in capital letters: â€œNUTS!â€
â€œI was shocked at first. I didnâ€™t expect this from a congressman,â€ said Nezar Hamze, the executive director of CAIR Florida â€” the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
â€œWe stand up for the civil rights of the Muslim community. Thatâ€™s what we do,â€ said Hamze.
Hamze says he wrote to the Republican Congressman earlier this month with his concerns about the Congressmanâ€™s relationships with groups and people Hamze considers to be anti-Islamic. â€œWhen I first saw that, I wasnâ€™t sure if he was calling me nuts, or he was calling my concerns nuts,â€ said Hamze.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t look too professional to me. It doesnâ€™t look thought out,â€ said one constituent in Westâ€™s district 22 named Chuck.
Simone Oliver, another district 22 constituent thinks itâ€™s fine, but says it needs a little more.
â€œMaybe another sentence, explaining,â€ 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: â€œNuts!
Hamze doesnâ€™t think heâ€™ll ever find out what Congressman West meant with the word because, he says, West has turned down all meetings with CAIR Florida.
â€œ[If I could say something to him now,] Iâ€™d tell him to grow up! To act like a congressman and engage in dialogue, and to stop the school boy insults,â€ 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.