By: Harry C. Blaney III

After a major crisis, the tendency is for people to grasp for short-term reactions. Often, as we saw in the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, a great tragedy can be used for narrow, sectarian, evil, and self-interested purposes to try to increase the hate and hostility between segments of our citizens based on race, religion, ethnic background, and even political views.  This is what happened on Sunday after the killing of over 50 people by a man who has been described as mentally mad, had been investigated twice by the FBI, and who pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call during the attack. According to recent reporting, he appears to be a “lone wolf.”

In the aftermath of the attack and as the nation mourned, the Presidential candidates took to social media and cable news to express their views. Here are Hillary’s, Trump’s, and Bernie’s statements on the attack.  Trump also gave a speech on the issue in Manchester, NH, while Hillary addressed the nation from Cleveland, OH.

From Trump’s statement (and his widely-criticized Tweets on the subject) it seems that the American presidential candidate of the Republican Party wants to divide us at a time that calls for compassion.  Crises often are a test of the rationality of a leader and his or her character, and in this case Trump utterly failed.

Donald Trump accused the President of incompetence and reiterated his call for a ban on all Muslims coming into the country, implying that this horrendous attack was Obama’s fault. President Obama gave a sober and strong address that both rejected such violence and reaffirmed that we should unite and not be divided by such violence.

Trump even tried to cite, falsely, a Pew Poll that he said showed the majority of Muslims favored jihad and hated America (some of the findings are listed below). This irresponsible, incendiary, and outrageous statement filled with hate and unfounded accusations by a presumed presidential candidate of the Republican Party is unprecedented in our history and presents a danger to our nation, both at home and abroad, with just the words alone.

What Trump did not do, which exposes his politicizing purpose, is point out that the automatic assault rifle used was touted by the lobbying of the National Rifle Association as the “gun liberals love to hate” and the gun used in San Bernardino, California; Newtown, Connecticut; and Aurora, Colorado. Trump also gave a sweeping endorsement of the NRA’s most extreme stances in the unlimited access to dangerous assault weapons and other guns.

We are already living in a time that needs wisdom and measured judgment to address our most serious challenges and a mad man in charge of our nation is far more dangerous to us than any terrorist.



How do Muslims feel about groups like ISIS?

Recent surveys show that most people in several countries with significant Muslim populations have an unfavorable view of ISIS, including virtually all respondents in Lebanon and 94% in Jordan. Relatively small shares say they see ISIS favorably. In some countries, considerable portions of the population do not offer an opinion about ISIS, including a majority (62%) of Pakistanis.

Favorable views of ISIS are somewhat higher in Nigeria (14%) than most other nations. Among Nigerian Muslims, 20% say they see ISIS favorably (compared with 7% of Nigerian Christians). The Nigerian militant group Boko Haram, which has been conducting a terrorist campaign in the country for years, has sworn allegiance to ISIS.

More generally, Muslims mostly say that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians in the name of Islam are rarely or never justified, including 92% in Indonesia and 91% in Iraq. In the United States, a 2011 survey found that 86% of Muslims say that such tactics are rarely or never justified. An additional 7% say suicide bombings are sometimes justified and just 1% say they are often justified in these circumstances.

In a few countries, a quarter or more of Muslims say that these acts of violence are at least sometimes justified, including 40% in the Palestinian territories, 39% in Afghanistan, 29% in Egypt and 26% in Bangladesh.

In many cases, people in countries with large Muslim populations are as concerned as Western nations about the threat of Islamic extremism, and have become increasingly concerned in recent years. About two-thirds of people in Nigeria (68%) and Lebanon (67%) said earlier this year they are very concerned about Islamic extremism in their country, both up significantly since 2013.

What do American Muslims believe?

Our 2011 survey of Muslim Americans found that roughly half of U.S. Muslims (48%) say their own religious leaders have not done enough to speak out against Islamic extremists.

Living in a religiously pluralistic society, Muslim Americans are more likely than Muslims in many other nations to have many non-Muslim friends. Only about half (48%) of U.S. Muslims say all or most of their close friends are also Muslims, compared with a global median of 95% in the 39 countries we surveyed.

Roughly seven-in-ten U.S. Muslims (69%) say religion is very important in their lives – almost identical to the rate among U.S. Christians. Virtually all (96%) say they believe in God, nearly two-thirds (65%) report praying at least daily and nearly half (47%) say they attend religious services at least weekly. By all of these traditional measures, Muslims in the U.S. are roughly as religious as U.S. Christians, although they are less religious than Muslims in many other nations.

When it comes to political and social views, Muslims are far more likely to identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party (70%) than the Republican Party (11%), and to say they prefer a bigger government providing more services (68%) to a smaller government providing fewer services (21%). As of 2011, U.S. Muslims were somewhat split between those who said homosexuality should be accepted by society (39%) and those who said it should be discouraged (45%), although the former group has grown considerably more accepting of homosexuality since a similar survey was conducted in 2007.

We Welcome your Comments below!

Please visit our 2016 Candidate Quotes page for more coverage about how the candidates have addressed the issue of national security.

Join our efforts by sending in quotes from candidates (with their citations) to nationalsecurity@ciponline.org.


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