Bernie Sanders Visits Mosque to Talk Security, and GOP “Demagogues”

“They want us to believe that the average Muslim is a terrorist.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, center, flanked by Imam Talib Shareef, left, and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., right, speaks during an interfaith roundtable hosted by at Masjid Muhammad, the Nation's Mosque in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Emily Schultheis
Add to Briefcase
Emily Schultheis
Dec. 16, 2015, 4:59 p.m.

Look­ing to keep pace in a cam­paign where se­cur­ity and ter­ror­ism have taken cen­ter stage, Bernie Sanders took his mes­sage to a new set­ting Wed­nes­day: he vis­ited a mosque.

On Wed­nes­day, the Ver­mont sen­at­or told a small crowd at Wash­ing­ton’s Masjid Muhammad (also known as “the Na­tion’s Mosque”) that “dem­agogues” try­ing to di­vide the coun­try are act­ing in “shame­ful” ways in the wake of the ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Par­is and San Bern­ardino, Cal­if. He then stressed the strides the coun­try has made to over­come hatred and dis­crim­in­a­tion in the past.

“Let me be­gin by stat­ing the ob­vi­ous: there is enorm­ous anxi­ety and fear in this coun­try,” Sanders said. “Our people are deeply con­cerned—justly so—about the threats of in­ter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism.”

Sit­ting at a table with a co­ter­ie of re­li­gious lead­ers from around DC—Im­am Talib Shareef of the Na­tion’s Mosque, Rep. Keith El­lis­on (D-Minn.), Rev. Re­gin­ald Green, Rabbi Batya Stein­hauf, and Chap­lain Ab­dul-Rasheed Muhammad of the De­part­ment of Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs—Sanders spoke about the his­tory of bigotry and urged Amer­ic­ans to avoid let­ting fear di­vide them.

“It’s no secret that throughout the world and in our own coun­try we have seen cen­tur­ies of bigotry and in­tim­id­a­tion, some­times with un­speak­able res­ults,” Sanders said, list­ing the Holo­caust, Rwanda and Bos­nia as prime ex­amples of times hate­ful rhet­or­ic has caused un­ne­ces­sary and tra­gic vi­ol­ence.

He de­nounced the re­cent rhet­or­ic of “dem­agogues” when it comes to Muslim im­mig­ra­tion, call­ing out GOP real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump by name and say­ing the anti-Muslim com­ments have promp­ted an in­crease in hate speech across Amer­ica.

“Now, at this mo­ment with all of the fears and anxi­et­ies people have about ter­ror­ism and about the eco­nomy, there are dem­agogues out there: people like Don­ald Trump who are once again try­ing to di­vide us up,” he said. “They want us to be­lieve that people from Mex­ico com­ing in­to this coun­try are rap­ists and crim­in­als. They want us to be­lieve that the av­er­age Muslim is a ter­ror­ist.”

Oth­ers on the pan­el echoed Sanders’s con­cern that “bigotry” has found a place in the head­lines in re­cent weeks. Green, one of the Free­dom Riders of the Civil Rights move­ment, lamen­ted the fact that “we would be at this point in time where bigotry is rear­ing up its ugly head again.” “We can­not af­ford to out of ig­nor­ance let our lives be gov­erned by the ig­nor­ance es­poused,” he ad­ded.

Ter­ror­ism and na­tion­al se­cur­ity is­sues aren’t at the core of Sanders’s mes­sage, and as the na­tion­al con­ver­sa­tion has shif­ted away from eco­nom­ic is­sues and to­ward se­cur­ity he has struggled to main­tain mo­mentum. But the sen­at­or has come out force­fully in fa­vor of al­low­ing Syr­i­an refugees in­to the coun­try, an is­sue he’s re­peatedly spoken about in re­cent weeks—and in the days since Trump pro­posed his ban on Muslim im­mig­ra­tion, Sanders has made that a fre­quent top­ic as well.

In a nod to the eco­nom­ic pop­u­list is­sues that form the cent­ral ar­gu­ment of Sanders’s cam­paign, he on Wed­nes­day also briefly spoke about the eco­nom­ic is­sues fa­cing fam­il­ies in the United States. “They are also wor­ried about the state of the eco­nomy and about the fu­ture of their chil­dren,” he said. “They are wor­ried as to why they are work­ing longer hours and why they find it harder and harder to re­tire with dig­nity.”

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP’S ATTORNEY WAS SET TO TESTIFY ON WEDNESDAY
Senate Intel Postpones Testimony by Cohen
1 days ago
THE LATEST
AMENDMENT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED CONSIDERATION
Senate Rejects Effort to Nix SALT Tax Changes
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."

Source:
INTERVIEWED BY COMMITTEE STAFF
Lewandowski Meets with Senate Intelligence Committee
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."

Source:
FISHING EXPEDITION
Some Members Seek to Wrap Up Russia Investigations by Year’s End
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."

Source:
WROTE LAW THAT WEAKENED OPIOID OVERSIGHT
Trump: Marino Withdrawing Nomination for Drug Czar
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login