“Should Muslims have religious freedom?” is now a serious question in the Republican primary

What was I thinking? I wrote a post about how rabidly anti-Muslim Friday’s Paris attacks were making the Republican primary candidates without waiting for Donald Trump to weigh in.

I should have known that Bush, Cruz and Rubio’s positions of “only let Christians enter the country” and “say ‘radical Islam’ a few more times” wouldn’t have anything on their current frontrunner’s inevitable truckload of nativist hate.

Calling in to Morning Joe earlier today, Donald Trump said that he would “strongly consider” shutting down mosques with suspected ties to terrorist organizations in response to Friday’s attacks in Paris.

As Trump said, “Well, you’re going to have to watch and study the mosques because a lot of talk is going on at the mosques. And from what I heard in the old days, meaning a while ago, we had great surveillance going on in and around mosques in New York City and I understand our mayor totally cut that out.”

Scarborough interjected to add that shuttering mosques is already being considered in France, and asked if Trump would consider doing so as president. Trump continued:

Donald Trump, screenshot via 60 Minutes

Donald Trump, screenshot via 60 Minutes

Well, I would hate it do it but it’s something that you’re going to have to strongly consider because some of the ideas and some the hatred, the absolute hatred, is coming from these areas. You know, New York City as an example. We had a group of people from what I understand that really knew what they were doing, that were really studying the situation and they’re not doing that anymore under the new mayor. And I think that’s a mistake. It’s something that many people — not just me — are considering and many people are going to do.

Not that it makes much of a difference for Donald Trump, but if you actually take a moment to listen to far-right Muslim clerics in the West, closing down their mosques is exactly what they want. The more the West compromises its values in the face of Islamic extremism, the more Islamic extremists get to say that our values are an anti-Muslim facade. Silencing them only proves their point: that we don’t actually mean it when we say they have religious freedom, and that they are victims in a campaign of religious oppression — against which they are entitled to fight:

What’s more, every time there’s a mass shooting in this county we are reminded — by the same Republican candidates who are now calling for regulations on particular kinds of religious belief — that laws don’t work. You can’t regulate guns, they say, because lawless people don’t follow the law. What makes them think, then, that Muslims whose mosques are closed are simply going to pack up and stop practicing their faith?

The history of religious states is littered with cases of minority religious groups being forced underground — usually by Christians, who notably forced Jews underground when they made Judaism punishable by death during the Inquisition. If we force mosques to close their doors because we fear that the ideas being preached there are too extreme, we drive those ideas underground and amplify their extremity.

Like the rest of Trump’s ideas, it’s a simple solution to a complex problem. He will rise in the polls.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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14 Responses to ““Should Muslims have religious freedom?” is now a serious question in the Republican primary”

  1. Nicholas A Kocal says:

    And how would these idiots know that a person was a Christian. Couldn’t a terrorist just pretend to be a Christian and sneak into the country. Maybe spend a week or two with Mike Huckabee, before detonating a nuuclar bomb made with that thar yellowcake from Iraq.

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  3. LanceThruster says:

    “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

  4. Houndentenor says:

    Well they have to have someone to make their base afraid of.

  5. JaneE says:

    The GOP is not at war with Islam, or immigrants. They are at war with America. They want to eliminate the first amendment, the 4th amendment, the 8th amendment, the 14th amendment – Hell, just say all of them except the 2nd and you will be about right. They do not believe in American values, or Christian values. They believe in power, in might makes right, and wealth. People are just cannon fodder for them.

  6. Doug105 says:

    CULTURE
    Inside the Bizarre Right-Wing Political Correctness Movement That Threatens Free Speech
    The right’s version of political correctness can be far more pernicious.
    http://www.alternet.org/culture/inside-bizarre-right-wing-political-correctness-movement-threatens-free-speech

  7. Don Chandler says:

    The whole anti-muslim movement seen in the republican party is a call to war. It’s really really dumb too. When you elevate Christianity, you start sounding like a Christian version of a “Jihadist”. There is little distinction. You make a billion and a half enemies in the world and thus you spread dissent among your allies. It’s crazy stuff. Heard Lindsay Graham talking about an imminent terrorist attack in the US. And then the CIA head talking about the Paris attack not be a “one off” event. The US public is being engineered into war… AGAIN.

  8. emjayay says:

    Ben Carson wants to have the feds checking out university professors for teaching too many traitorous liberal ideas and Trump wants to maybe shut down some mosques. Hello, thought police. Talk about “political correctness”.

  9. ComradeRutherford says:

    Indeed. The GOP has always been Nazi-supporting. As you point out, they are making their Nazi-style fascism more and more apparent.

  10. ComradeRutherford says:

    Conservative say, “It’s time we get rid of the U.S. Constitution! It’s just a goddam piece of paper!”

  11. Indigo says:

    The wheels have come off but the Republican Band Sled keeps on sliding . . . it’s a steep hill they’re sliding down. Notice that Bernie Sanders got away with comparing himself and his policies to Dwight Eisenhower and nobody even blinked from the Republican side.

  12. nicho says:

    “Oh, no, the mosque is closed. That means we have to cancel the attack.” “We could go to Starbucks. They are anti Christian.” “No, no, it has to be a mosque.”

    Is there any evidence at all that these attacks are associated with a mosque? If so, I haven’t heard that.

  13. 2karmanot says:

    The Republican Party is becoming more blatantly Nazi by the minute—-kill the gays and persecute Muslims, Close down places of worship, control women, eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Medicare, ban climate regulations, eliminate taxes, and on it goes. These dystopian morons may very well destroy the old Republic in time. Still, it amuses me that the Dump always refers to off stage experts who know things. I can just see a theater of babbling D-list Minions who inform Donald about ‘stuff.’

  14. Jimmy says:

    Why would anyone be surprised by this? Good luck getting that by any legal challenge. I doubt even this Supreme Court would ignore something like this, but I’ve been surprised in the past. So, if they’e willing to shut down mosques for breeding terrorists, are they going to do the same with churches that do the very same thing? Somehow I doubt it.

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