Several debate participants have history of promoting anti-Muslim bias
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/13/11) — The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT*), a national coalition of major Muslim organizations, today called on Republican presidential candidates to repudiate growing Islamophobia in American society during tonight’s GOP debate in New Hampshire.”
In a statement, AMT said: “We call on all the participants in tonight’s GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire to state clearly that they will not promote or exploit growing anti-Muslim sentiment to gain political advantage. While appealing to fear and religious intolerance may score some cheap political points with a vocal minority in American society, our nation and its values of diversity and inclusion are harmed in the process. “American Muslims deserve the same rights and respect as other citizens.”
AMT says several of those taking part in tonight’s debate hold Islamophobic views or promote unconstitutional measures targeting American Muslims. For example:
• Herman Cain first said he would not appoint a Muslim to a cabinet position, but later modified that stance by calling for an unconstitutional “loyalty” oath for Muslim appointees.
• Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum calls Sharia, or Islamic principles, “an existential threat” to America. In a “lecture on Islam,” Santorum falsely claimed the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, was written in “Islamic.”
• Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has suggested a federal anti-Sharia law. He also said: “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they [his grandchildren] are my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists. …” Gingrich once issued a statement calling for a ban on all mosques near Ground Zero “so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.”
• In response to a 2005 debate question about French Muslims, Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said: “Not all cultures are equal. Not all values are equal.”
• Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty touted his cancellation of a Minnesota agency’s Sharia-compliant mortgage program designed to help Muslim homebuyers.
• Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said in 2007 that he would not consider Muslims for cabinet posts. Romney stated: “. …based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration.” (Romney later disputed the accuracy of that quote.)