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Rick Santorum’s Islamophobia Problem

6 January 2012 General 10 Comments Email This Post Email This Post


Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

By Ali Gharib

GOP presidential hopeful and former senator Rick Santorum found himself amid a flurry of new attention after placing a close second in the Iowa caucuses. One of the fiery right-wing politician’s views coming under increased scrutiny is his attitude toward Islam. Already in this campaign, Santorum endorsed profiling in airport security and, when pressed, said, “Obviously, Muslims would be someone you’d look at.

Now, journalist Max Blumenthal unearthed a 2007 speech Santorum gave to a Washingtonconference at the invitation of David Horowitz. In the speech (audio can be found at anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller‘s site), Santorum outlined the “war” against “radical Islam”:

What must we do to win? We must educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate. …

The other thing we need to do is eradicate, and that’s the final thing. As I said, this is going to be a long war. There are going to be pluses and minuses, ups and downs. But we have to win this war to — fight this war to win this war.

Santorum insists that he’s “not suggesting that we have to go in there and blow them up.” But, later in the speech, he compares the “long war” to World War II, adding, “Americans don’t like war. They don’t like suffering and dying. No one does.”

Both in this speech and in other writings and remarks, Santorum often specifies that he’s speaking of “radical Islam.” But what does “radical Islam” mean to Santorum? In fact, the former senator often times conflates extremists with the entire Muslim faith at-large and, at other times, he states outright that radicals dominate Islam. In the 2007 D.C. speech, Santorum compared Muslim wars from hundreds of years ago to 9/11: “Does anybody know when the high-water mark of Islam was? September the 11th, 1683,” he said to gasps from the audience.

As to what “losing” the war with “radical Islam” looks like, Santorum discussed Europe. “Europe is on the way to losing,” he said. “The most popular male name in Belgium — Mohammad. It’s the fifth most popular name in France among boys.” The other data point he cited was larger birthrates among “Islamic Europeans” as opposed to “Westernized Europeans.” Nowhere did he indicate a growing “radical” threat in Europe.

In October 2007 at his alma mater Penn State, Santorum gave a speech and failed to break out the radical strain from the faith at-large: “Islam, unlike Christianity, is an all-encompassing ideology. It is not just something you do on Sunday. … We (as Americans) don’t get that.” The quote is particularly ironic from someone who, among other such statements, has said, “[O]ur civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God’s law.

In a January 2007 speech, Santorum suggested Islam at-large was responsible for religious freedom issues and put the onus Muslims to deal with these issues to end the “war”:

Until we have the kind of discussion and dialogue with Islam — that democracy and freedom of religion, along with religious pluralism, are essential for the stability of the world and our ability to cohabit in this world. Unless Islam is willing to make that conscious decision, then we are going to be at war for a long time.

If Santorum’s discourse sounds like some of the Islamophobia network outlined in CAP’s Fear, Inc. report, that should be no surprise. Horowitz has repeatedly hosted Santorum for “Islamo-fascism Awareness Week” events and Geller and her associate Robert Spencer cite his work approvingly.

In a 2008 appearance at the Christians United For Israel confab, Santorum outflanked even Daniel Pipes. When Pipes mentioned that radicals only constituted about 10 to 15 percent of Muslims worldwide, Santorum, before wondering whether Muslims are capable of making moral decisions at all, challenged him:

It’s not a small number. OK? It’s not a fringe. It’s a sizable group of people that hold these views. [Pipes’ notion of ‘moderate’ Islam] is the exception, I would argue, of what traditional Islam is doing.

No decent American — or anyone across the globe — should oppose “eradicat(ing)” extremist ideologies like militant, “radical Islam.” But Santorum’s history of statements raises questions about just exactly what and who he’s targeting for eradication.

Original post: Rick Santorum’s Islamophobia Problem

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10 Comments »

  1. It’s interesting to see that RS (iandvertently) admits that US’s ‘War on Terror’ is in fact a war on Islam (Unless Islam is willing to make that conscious decision, then we are going to be at war for a long time.)

  2. I am ashamed that he is a fellow Penn State Alumni!!! They should take away his membership AND diploma!!!

  3. he really needs to get a clue & get out of the race before he starts a war he cannot win!!

  4. “Santorum suggested Islam at-large was responsible for religious freedom issues and put the onus Muslims to deal with these issues to end the ‘war'” – In the theocratic states, that is rather based in truth. Whenever you have “religion” (any religion mind you) as the main focal point in law and application you will face issues surrounding freedom.

  5. WHOA Are you telling me this guy is a bigot? I’m shocked

  6. Please, please, please let Santorum be the GOP candidate!!!!

  7. There’s also his Google problem.

  8. Forgetting, obviously, that Islam accounts for only 1% of terrorism in the western world. It’s also pretty damning evidence of his bigotry that he sees growing Muslim culture in Europe as a bad thing. This hasn’t lead to any terrorism, but it’s bad because their Muslim. How long before he starts threatening that they’ll marry our women?

  9. I don’t detect any ‘phobia’ here. ‘Islamophobia’ is an overused term designed to stir up blame and accuse others of extremist racism against Islam, the poor ‘victim’. Muslims may need reminding of Islam’s core doctrine concerning non-Muslims, which can be summed up: ‘Destroy everyone, by whatever means, who will not convert and accept Mohammed as THE prophet.’ Let’s call a spade a spade shall we? Islam demands respect from non-Muslims yet Islam does not respect ANY other religion; nor does it embrace or accept free speech or democracy, the pillars of any decent society. A cursory glance at Islamic history reveals Islam is simply Arab Imperialism conquering the weak. It lives by the sword, and by golly it will die by the sword if it has to. Now, if sounding a trumpet to warn the ignorant masses about the truth behind the REAL Islamic agenda for the west is a ‘phobia’, then let’s hope it catches on.

  10. Amazing how people who clearly know nothing about Islam, speak about what Islam is or isn’t and what is at it’s core.

    People and their agendas……

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