The seven million strong American Muslim community was shocked at the impractical, inhuman and unconstitutional suggestion of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calling for Inquisition-style religious "testing" and possible deportation of "every person here who is of a Muslim background."
In response to the terror attack in Nice, France, Gingrich told Sean Hannity of Fox News: "Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization.
After paying cursory respect to "modern Muslims," Gingrich proposed making a felony out of visiting "any website that favors ISIS," as well as "any organization which hosts such a website," which would presumably include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and innumerably more sites where people freely engage in all sorts of incendiary speech.
Gingrich went on to say: "And we're told to be reasonable, to be passive, to not judge. Well I just want to tell you tonight, everybody who watches this video, this is the fault of Western elites who lack the guts to do what is right, to do what is necessary, and to tell us the truth, and that starts with Barack Obama."
He also suggested monitoring of mosques in America.
The suggestion is un-American
President Barrack Obama remarked that "in the wake of last night's attack we've heard more suggestions that Muslims in America" be targeted for tests, exclusion and even expulsion. "The very suggestion is repugnant and an affront to everything that we stand for as Americans," he said.
He argued that nations should try to protect freedom, not surrender in fear. "We cannot give in to fear or turn on each other or sacrifice our way of life," Obama said. "We cannot let ourselves be divided by religion because that's exactly what the terrorists want. We should never do their work for them. And here in the United States, our freedoms " keep us strong and safe."
Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, noted that America had been founded on the principle of religious freedom. "That is a principle enshrined in our constitution and one that the president believes is worth protecting," he said, criticizing Gingrich's rhetoric as "un-American by its very definition". Earnest added: "This is also the very worst possible time for leaders to suggest that Americans should turn on one another. That's exactly what the terrorists would like us to do."
Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, co-chair of the congressional progressive caucus, told MSNBC's Morning Joe: "He does know better. That's the sad thing about Newt Gingrich. He's a very smart man, it's just calculating, pandering, and it's really sad." Keith Ellison is the first Muslim congressman.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, condemned the terror attack in France and also condemned a suggestion by Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who responded to the attack by calling for testing and possible deportation everyone of a "Muslim background" in the US for sharia beliefs.
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"We condemn this bloody massacre as we have condemned previous ISIS or ISIS-inspired atrocities and the deviant ideology that produces such senseless and cowardly violence. We are praying for the people of Nice, the victims of another outrageous attack on humanity.
"As we mourn the victims and determine how best to protect people of all faiths and backgrounds from such brutal attacks, let us not help the recruiting efforts of ISIS and other terror groups by blaming all Muslims for the murders in France.
"When Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggests that American Muslims be subjected to an Inquisition-style religious test and then expelled from their homes and nation, he plays into the hands of terror recruiters and betrays the American values he purports to uphold."