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Rick Santorum’s Islamophobia Problem

Rick Santorum’s Islamophobia Problem

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.

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  • Géji

    > “and the birth rate will swallow Western Civilization”

    Wow! I thought Muslims had a great deal to do with “that” Civilization, thus the givers not the “swallowers”, but what do we know, hey!

  • Géji

    < "They are saying that since Mohammed is a Muslim name,"

    – Yes, in fact the first [Muslim] name.

    < "more Muslims children are being born"

    – And they couldn't see that with "other" Muslim names?

    “or some thing like that.”

    -No, not something “like” that, but “precisely” that. —–


  • HGG

    “If not, then what the hell is their beef”

    They are saying that since Mohammed is a Muslim name, more Muslims children are being born and the birth rate will swallow Western Civilization or some thing like that.

    I don’t know if Santorum is racist, I don’t think so, but he’s certainly anti-Muslim though his main thing is Homophobia, Santorum is really big on that (hence, the Google results of his name)

    Santorum, alongside Bachmann and Paul, are the bottom of the barrel of the Republican candidates. That they have made it so far reflects the sad state of the Republican party.

  • Faisal Rathor

    @Stephen G. Parker and Géji, Thanks for your remarkable comments.

  • Jack

    Here’s that speech from Rick Santorum on “engaging, evangelizing and eradicating”.

    Santorum seems to mean war with Iran, which he goes on about for some time. But as noted, he doesn’t make it clear what he has in mind exactly with ‘eradicate’.

    And here is the article by Max Blumenthal, who unearthed the speech.

  • Senor

    @Geji: I love how Bill Maher says nasty things about all religions except Judaism. Suddenly, the “athiest” in him becomes very measured in how he talks. He must be afraid to lose his show.

    As for the article, the only Republican I would vote for is Ron Paul. He does not want war with Iran. Neither do I. I do not want fuel to go to 8 dollars a gallon.

  • sifakid

    Guys, have you google “santorum”?

  • Géji

    “The most popular male name in Belgium — Mohammad. It’s the fifth most popular name in France among boys”

    Oh God, I’ve heard this crap on the zealous Zionist Bill Maher’ show, and never understood what the hell Islamophobes mean by this ridiculous claim, popular among who? Are Western Christians or Jews or Hindus or Atheists or Buddhists naming their sons “Muhammad”? Have I slept through this? If not, then what the hell is their beef, are they now telling Muslims how to name their sons?

  • “Islam, unlike Christianity, is an all-encompassing ideology. It is not just something you do on Sunday. … We (as Americans) don’t get that.”

    And this guy wants the support of Evangelical Christians??? In the Christianity in which I was raised, and which my family currently adheres to (especially on my wife’s side), the idea that Christianity is “just something you do on Sunday” would be “fighting words”! How many times have I heard Christians say (and I myself said the same): “Christianity is not a religion; it’s A WAY OF LIFE”.

    As a matter of fact, I still believe that. ANY Religion that does not affect the way one lives every day of his/her life is a worthless Religion. If your Religion consists only in a weekly meeting and religious rituals, you don’t really have a Religion.

    I personally rejoice in the fact that Islam (peace with God through submissive devotion to Him) is “a way of life”, not just a matter of performing religious rituals. The Religion of Jesus Christ and all the Prophets – and all the followers of the Prophets – was devotion to God (Islam) every day and everywhere.

    Maybe we ought to do our best to spread the message to Christians that Rick Santorum believes Christianity is “just something you do on Sunday” – not like Islam, which encompasses all of life! I expect he would lose an awful lot of support from Christians.

  • Saladin

    This is a hilarious parody of Rick Santorum by a pro Ron Paul super PAC called endorse liberty you guys should post this

    Rick Santorum Iowa Speech

  • H.

    Muslim Republican featured on Daily Show:

  • mindy1

    *Sigh* things like this are why politics is frustrating-I disagree with Obama, but do not want to support someone like him 🙁

  • khushboo

    Typically an islamophobe is a homophobe and a racist. Did you see his latest on what he said about Blacks on welfare during his speech and then he made a lousy excuse saying he flubbed. I don’t think any sane person will buy that excuse since he has a history of racist and homophobic comments. Doesn’t he know that most people on welfare are whites?! NAACP just slammed this idiot and rightfully so!

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