Once relegated to late-night AM radio, anti-Muslim extremism has found a home in the Republican Party.
A report (pdf) by the National Security Network outlines how anti-Muslim rhetoric has become commonplace among Republicans. “The current political climate is the culmination of a years-long and well-funded effort to bring Islamophobia and xenophobia from the far-right fringe to the political mainstream,” according to the report, which was written after last month’s Paris terror attacks but before the shootings in San Bernardino last week.
The GOP’s current leader for its presidential nomination, Donald Trump, has made many comments suggesting, for example, that Muslims be registered in a national database and issued special identification noting their religion. Trump has also urged that U.S. mosques be closed.
But Trump, who will say just about anything to get in front of a camera, isn’t the only prominent Republican giving voice to such sentiments. Competing presidential nominee Marco Rubio of Florida did Trump one better—he said he would close not just mosques, but cafés, diners and Internet sites. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who had at one point closely trailed Trump in the polls but is now slipping, has compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs.”
These comments are a stark contrast to then-President George W. Bush’s exhortations not to blame all Muslims for the 9/11 attacks and Mitt Romney’s rebuke of anti-Muslim comments during his 2012 presidential run.
Much of the hateful speech has been directed at refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria. At least 30 governors, such…