The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity that is banned in the United Arab Emirates as a terrorist group, is condemning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for supporting the closing of extremist mosques that are "loaded for bear."
Trump's comment came when asked about a British plan to shut down mosques that preach extremism. He initially said it's a "great idea." When asked about such a policy's compatibility with religious freedom, Trump replied, "Well, I don't know. It depends on if the mosque is, you know, loaded for bear, I don't know. You're going to have to certainly look at it."
“Donald Trump’s apparent willingness to close down American mosques that he deems ‘extreme’ is totally incompatible with the Constitution and our nation’s cherished principle of religious freedom,” said CAIR's Government Affairs Department Manager Robert McCaw. “The government should not be in the business of deciding what is acceptable free speech or religious belief. Donald Trump’s off-the-cuff remarks are both un-American, and un-presidential.”
Trump's fellow GOP presidential contender, George Pataki, previously called for stripping the tax-exempt statuses of organizations and houses of worship that promote terrorist organizations or incite violence against Americans. He told me that CAIR is one of the organizations he had in mind. CAIR's connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are well-documented.
CAIR also recently called on GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson to end his campaign after he said he would not support any Muslim for president of the United States. Carson later altered his stance to say he could potentially support a Muslim who isn't an extremist and rejects Islamic sharia law.
Carson responded by calling on the Internal Revenue Service to remove CAIR's tax-exempt status because its laws forbid 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from declaring opposition to a political candidate. He also brought attention to how the Justice Department designated CAIR as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the largest terrorism-financing trial in U.S. history.
You can read the Clarion Project's factsheets about each presidential candidate's positions related to Islamist extremism by clicking here.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.