GOP candidates appeal to Islamophobia; President Obama: Americans ‘don’t have religious tests to our compassion’

GOP presidential candidates pandering to the GOP’s Christian Right base for votes by engaging in Islamophobia hysteria have crossed over a line.

J.E.B.! Bush said over the weekend that relief efforts for refugees fleeing war and terrorism in the Middle East should be limited to Christians. Jeb Bush: U.S. assistance for refugees should focus on Christians:

gop-elephant-w-flag-crossRepublican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says that any U.S. assistance to Middle Eastern refugees should focus primarily on Christians fleeing persecution.

“We should focus our efforts as it relates to refugees on the Christians that are being slaughtered,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union” in an interview on Sunday morning.

J.E.B.! is definitely not his brother George W. Bush who was deliberately careful not to turn terrorist attacks by extremists into an apocalyptic clash of civilizations between the Western world and Islam:

Just six days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush went to the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., and gave a speech cautioning against bigotry and religious discrimination against Muslims.

“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,” he said. “That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.”

More quotes by Bush distinguishing between the fight against extremists and the Islamic faith.

  • “Americans understand we fight not a religion; ours is not a campaign against the Muslim faith. Ours is a campaign against evil.” [9/27/01]
  • “We’re taking action against evil people. Because this great nation of many religions understands, our war is not against Islam, or against faith practiced by the Muslim people. Our war is a war against evil. This is clearly a case of good versus evil, and make no mistake about it — good will prevail.” [1/5/02]
  • “Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion.” [10/11/02]

Senator Ted “Calgary” Cruz, a “pander bear” to the GOP’s Christian Right base if there ever was one, similarly said that he would allow Christian refugees from Syria into the U.S., but not Muslim refugees. Cruz: ‘No meaningful risk’ of Christians committing terrorism:

Sen. Ted Cruz Sunday continued to call for Muslim refugees from Syria to be barred from entering the United States but opening the borders to displaced Christians, arguing there is not a “meaningful risk” that Christians will commit terrorist acts.

“There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror. If there were a group of radical Christians pledging to murder anyone who had a different religious view than they, we would have a different national security situation,” Cruz (R-Tex.) told reporters.

The rest of the GOP field is no better. Conservative suspicions of refugees grow in wake of Paris attacks:

Donald Trump has promised to kick all Syrian refugees out of the country and not allow any more in.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called for sealing off U.S. borders, while former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee wants to halt the arrival of any refugees from countries with a “strong presence of ISIS or al-Qaeda.” Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has embraced some of Trump’s views, said Sunday that accepting Syrian refugees is “a suspension of intellect.”

* * *

President Obama, like many Democratic leaders, has been more sympathetic to the plight of the millions of Syrians fleeing the violent, years-long war that has consumed their homeland. That has prompted an intense wave of criticism from some Republican voters, including some who have long believed that Obama is Muslim despite his insistence that he is Christian.

If you have listened to FAUX News or hate talk radio since the Friday evening terrorist attack in Paris, the level of Islamophobia fear mongering and scapegoating of one of the world’s largest religions based upon the act of terrorists has reached the point where it is fair to ask which of the Tea-Publican candidate for president will be the first to suggest that we round up all Muslims in the U.S. and put them into detention camps, like we did to Japanese-American citizens during World World II.

My money in on “The Donald,” who has already promised to round up all undocumented immigrants and load them onto cattle cars and ship them back to their country of origin.

Is this the people Americans have become from the constant stream of ignorance, fear and hatred of “others” spewed by the conservative media entertainment complex? (and yes, I object to Bill Maher and his Islamophobia as well).

President Obama today tried to tamp down this Islamophobia hysteria at his press conference from the G-20 Summit in Turkey. Think Progress reports,  Watch Obama Tear Into GOP Candidates Who Only Want To Take In Christian Refugees From Syria:

obama-quote-isis-638x456President Obama called out Republican presidential candidates who have said the United States should admit Christians but bar Muslim refugees from Syria from entering the country, saying that Americans “don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

“When I hear folks say that: ‘Well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims,’ when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful,” Obama said on Monday during remarks at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey. “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

He pointed to Pope Francis’ speech to Congress when the Catholic leader “didn’t just speak about Christians who were being prosecuted” but said we need to protect all people who are vulnerable.

“It is very important for us right now, particularly those who are in leadership, particularly those who have a platform and can be heard, not to fall into that trap, not to feed that dark impulse inside of us,” Obama continued. “I had a lot of disagreements with George W. Bush on policy, but I was very proud after 9/11 when he was adamant and clear about the fact that this is not a war on Islam. The notion that some of those who have taken on leadership in his party would ignore all of that, that’s not who we are.”

After telling Republicans to follow Bush’s example, he continued, “Whether you are European or American, you know the values that we are defending — the values we’re fighting against ISIL for — are precisely that we don’t discriminate against people because of their faith. We don’t kill people because they’re different than us. That’s what separates us from them.”

15 responses to “GOP candidates appeal to Islamophobia; President Obama: Americans ‘don’t have religious tests to our compassion’

  1. captain*arizona

    we can both fight climate change and isis at the same time as in world ii we fought both germany and japan. do you understand how idiotic you sound to the american people when you say the best way to fight isis is thru climate change suppression. liberal elitism ay cost us the 2016 election with this stuff despite the republican partys best effort to lose.

  2. captain*arizona

    I agree with bill maher islam is not liberal. liberal elitists are supporting the bringing in of muslim refugees instead of destroying isis. I think destroying isis so their won’t be refugees is a better solution. we all hope one day they would be americanized and given enough time this will probably happen. we denounce christian fundamental fascism and islamo fundamental fascism is worse. just ask the jewish students being harassed on college campuses. bill maher is right.

    • Destroying Daesh (the real name of the group that wants to be considered a country) won’t fix climate change.

      • Ha! Ha! Ha! Boy, are you ever clueless. If ISIS is not dealt with and it has it’s way, climate change will be the least of your worries.

        • Pointing the mirror back at you. Defeating Daesh won’t eliminate the root cause for the Syrian conflict, which is climate change.

          Therefore, defeating Daesh won’t stop the exodus of refugees.

          • When I first read your response, I was taken back. I couldn’t believe you were being serious. After reading it a couple more times, I realized you must be serious and then I realized that you are so infected with some sort of climate change derangement syndrome that you can’t be taken seriously.

            Where on earth do you get the idea that refugees fron Syria are fleeing because of climate change? Why only Syria? Why not Jordan? or Egypt? or Iraq? They all share the same climate. Why is only Syria from which they are fleeing? Could it possibly be the civil war going to depose Assad? Or the invasion of northern Syria by ISIS? Or the sudden intervention by Russia on the side of Assad? Inherent in all of this is the death of thousands of civilians not involved in the fighting. Do you think that all the death and destruction might contribute to the refugee problem?

            Your assertion that the refugees are fleeing climate change makes it hard to take you seriously on anything. I hope it was just passionate rhetoric made in a heated rush to respond and not an actual reflection of what you truly think.

          • Thank you, Cheri. Once climate change was mentioned as a cause of the Syrian Civil War and the flood of refugees, I knew there would have to be a study out there somewhere that would show such was the case. The militancy of the climate change adherents requires that any global crisis MUST have a man made climate change connection. In this case, even the authors of the study grudgingly admit the connection might be tenuous, BUT “look at the timeline!”.

            The obvious problems with their theory is twofold (actually, there are more than two problems with it, but two are enough): (1) The revolt against Assad has been building for more than 15 years. The drought has been ongoing for less than 10 years. Also this is not the first drought experienced in the region. Droughts are a historic phenomenon going back to the time of Jesus. They are well documented and are a natural cycle for the region, something the report pretty much ignores. (2) The report also mentions Turkey and Iraq, but the refugees fleeing are from Syria. If climate change was a real problem in the region, we would see refugees from these other nations, but very few have come from Iraq, and virtually none from Turkey. The lack of these refugees tends to cast doubt on climate change as a reason for the refugees.

            I always have to add this caveat: I think climate change IS occurring, but I believe it is a natural occurrence. The geological record shows climate change occurs often and the climate on other planets is also changing, things that are always ignored by “climate scientists” bent on blaming mankind for the changes.

    • Captain, I agree with you 100% that it is far better to defeat ISIS and stop the flow of refugees than it is to allow tens of thousands of refugees to come into western countries unfettered and uncontrolled.

    • If that “liberal elitist” bullshit is addressed to me, you are wrong, per usual. The world’s powers could have and should have already destroyed ISIS — a lightly armed terrorist organization estimated to have no more than 30-50,000 troops in the field driving around in Toyota pickup trucks — a long time ago. The world powers have allowed this problem to metastasise. But this country has always opened its doors to refugees from wars. It’s right there on the Statue of Liberty.

      The U.S. has frequently been criticized for the times that we did not live up to our ideals, e.g., turning away the St. Louis carrying Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005267. American public opinion in 1939 was opposed to taking in political refugees from Europe. “Two-thirds of Americans polled by Gallup’s American Institute of Public Opinion in January 1939 — well after the events of Kristallnacht — said they would not take in 10,000 German Jewish refugee children.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/11/17/what-americans-thought-of-jewish-refugees-on-the-eve-of-world-war-ii/.

      It was not our finest hour, and it was due in part to the isolationist policies of non-intervention and neutrality after World War I. Americans did not want any part of Europe’s wars, just as they no longer want any part of the wars in the Middle East that the U.S. unleashed with its unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq. This is Secretary of State Colin Powell’s “pottery barn rule” — you break it, you buy it. We own this mess.

      • “But this country has always opened its doors to refugees from wars.”

        France has opened her doors, Germany and Britain have opened their doors, Sweden, Belgium and the rest of the EU did also. How is that working out for them?

  3. “Islamophobia”. What a powerful made up word that is. Why in hearing the word you would expect to see white fundamentalist Christians waving the Confederate Stars and Bars with fangs dripping blood instead of teeth, tripping over their white sheets and hoods, while chasing after Muslims to lynch ‘em from the nearest American Oak tree, all the time singing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

    Let’s take a look at the word “Islamaphobia”. Who invented it? Why was it invented? Why is it being used? Who benefits from it’s use?

    It was invented by leftist journalists who wanted to silence anyone who chose to point out that Islam was breeding a particularly rabid form of terrorism. It was politically expedient and correct to forgive ALL Muslims rather than admit that a significant percentage of them have declared war on everyone who is not a fanatical Islamist. It is far more politically correct to do that than to make a judgment and say that Muslims might need to be viewed with some skepticism rather than welcomed with open arms. Of course, to these same people it is fair game to attack Christians and Jews, but Muslims are to be treated with almost deferential respect. Never, ever say anything negative about Islam and even when Muslim terrorists commit heinous acts, never, ever hold Islam accountable. The use of the word makes the speaker feel special and tolerant even though that wonderful display of tolerance may well backfire on them when the Islamist decides that the time has come for infidels to die.

    I would bet that I am the only person posting here that has actually read the entire Quran, or even parts of it. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do it because I wanted to do so, I did it because I was required to as part of my Doctoral Thesis. I was also required to discuss the Quran with local Imams in order to better understand it. Like the Bible, it often contradicts itself, but one theme that remains consistent throughout the book is that only Muslims count. All others could be lied to, stolen from, imprisoned, enslaved, and dealt with in whatever manner was deemed appropriate by Muslim authorities. An interesting sidenote is that it differentiated between “people of the book” (Christians and Jews) and all other religions. Christians and Jews were to be dealt with kindly and given a chance to convert before being killed, while all others (Animists, Buddhists, Atheists, etc.) were to be treated as animals and killed outright. The Quran is a book that sets forth a lot of violence against non-Muslims. Islamic terrorists easily find justification for their actions within the pages of the Quran.

    There is a saying that just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you. Well, just because you are Islamophobic doesn’t mean there are no Muslims out to cause mayhem. Given it’s track record, to pretend it is a “religion of peace” is political correctness run amuck. Or stupid, if you want to speak plainly.

    • If you can differentiate that members of the KKK or Westboro Baptist Church do not represent or speak for all Christians (and a multitude of Christian denominations and sects), why do you paint all 1.5+ billion Muslims in the world uniformly as terrorists because of the acts of a relatively small number of radical extremists whom Muslims around the world condemned for their acts of brutality and terrorism? https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/14/how-muslims-around-the-world-condemned-the-paris-attacks/

      All of the attackers from Friday’s massacre in Paris so far have been identified as European Union nationals, according to a top EU official. The announcement further casts doubt on the validity of a Syrian passport found near the bodies of a slain attacker. http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/11/16/3722838/all-paris-attackers-identified-so-far-are-european-nationals-according-to-top-eu-official/.

      Portraying refugees from war as terrorists in waiting is unsupported by the evidence. It takes 18 months to up to 3 years of a screening process for refugees to come to America. It is not the exodus people are seeing in Europe (and that unruly process is the fault of the EU). The record of refugee settlement in the U.S. has been nearly flawless. “The United States has resettled 784,000 refugees since September 11, 2001,” Newland wrote in a recent op-ed. “In those 14 years, exactly three resettled refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities—and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible.” http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/11/17/3722952/refugee-resettlement/.

      Ignorance, irrational fear and hatred of “others” is a political tactic being used by candidates to appeal to GOP voters in the early primary states. It is calculated and cynical. And it is indefensible.

      • Of course no one looks at the KKK or the Westboro Baptist Church as typical Christian organizations, but even if they did, it would simply be an acceptance of a radical version of theology and not a murderous, terrorist example of Christianity demanding compliance with their view of the religion.

        I never said all Muslims were terrorists. I said that a significant percentage of them were. Now what is a “significant percentage”? I consider it to be a number large enough to cause fear whenever Muslims are encountered, or the thought of relocating Muslims to your neighborhoods sparks fear at the likelihood that extremist will be found in their numbers. Muslim terrorists kill out of proportion to their numbers, and that is not an accident. Their tactics are specifically designed to kill as many as possible while losing as few of their followers as possible. I think you ignore the mayhem the Muslim terrorists are causing around the world. We have had VERY few incidents because our intelligence services are preventing them from happening. The government doesn’t announce it because that would spread fear, but the hints that it is occurring are often found in news stories and anecdotes.

        Yes, not all Muslims are terrorists, but their Quran gives them permission to do so should they have such an inclination. It is also well known that many of the Imams in the United States are radicals who freely encourage their congregants to go overseas and assist their brethren in the fight against infidels.

        ISIS is the most organized, best funded and best managed Islamic terrorist organization we have faced. They call themselves the Islamic State and to a reasonable extent, they are. They haven’t carved out a chunk of the earth to call their own, but they are very flexible at moving around and claiming temporary homes wherever they are. When you say their size is only 50,000, you are underestimating their influence. Whether through fear and intimidation, or sympathy with their cause, their influence is felt world wide. Wherever there are Muslims, the influence is felt. Don’t just look at their numbers and assume that is all there is to them.

        • captain*arizona

          I do think they represent the christian fundamental fascist movement. and like the good germans they had no problem with god hates fags until they started after dead soldiers. Remember the words of paster neomoller. In iowa a preacher said gays should be killed with republican presidential candidates in attendance.