Washington, 11 Syawal 1437/16 July 2016 (MINA) – President Barack Obama on Friday issued a thinly veiled rebuke of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s call for the U.S. to test every person with a Muslim background to see if they believe in Sharia law and deport those who do.
Addressing the terror attack in Nice, France, that left more than 80 people dead, Obama didn’t mention Gingrich by name, but there was little doubt who he was calling out.
“In the wake of last night’s attacks, we’ve heard more suggestions that all Muslims in America be targeted, tested for their beliefs, some deported or jailed,” Obama said in remarks from the White House. “And the very suggestion is repugnant and an affront to everything that we stand for as Americans.”
Obama’s implicit critique of Gingrich was a part of broader point he made Friday in response to the Nice attack, which he called “sickening.”
“It’s been a difficult several weeks in the United States, but the divide that exists is not between races and ethnicities and religions,” Obama said. “And those impulses, when we do not speak out against them and build institutions to protect people from those impulses, they can take over. They can be unleashed, so all of us have responsibilities, not just a few.”
Obama said the fight against terrorists will be won when the United States “stays true to our values.”
Gingrich’s original comments came on Thursday night during an interview on Fox News, hours after a truck rampaged through a Bastille Day celebration in Nice.
Muslims and experts on Islam quickly criticized Gingrich’s initial comments.
“Apparently a lot of people who know nothing about Islam are now experts on Islam and sharia, telling Muslims what their religion actually says,” tweeted Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)