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Islam as an Issue

Faith in the 2012 Election

Quotes (33)

This collection gathers together key candidate statements on Islam from the primary and general election campaigns, addressing perceived linkages between religion and terrorism and the impact of that on America's foreign policy. You can also view a grid that juxtaposes the major positions of the major candidates here.


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  • October 22, 2012
    We do have to make sure that we're protecting religious minorities and women because these [Arab Spring] countries can't develop unless all the population, not just half of it, is developing.
  • September 25, 2012
    The impulse towards intolerance and violence may initially be focused on the West, but over time it cannot be contained. The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunni and Shia, between tribes and clans. It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos. In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence. And extremists understand this. Because they have nothing to offer to...
  • September 15, 2012
    The United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths. We stand for religious freedom. And we reject the denigration of any religion—including Islam. Yet there is never any justification for violence. There is no religion that condones the targeting of innocent men and women.
  • September 12, 2012
    [The United States] rejects all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others -- but there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None.
  • September 12, 2012
    I also believe the [Obama] administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions. It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values.
  • March 1, 2012
    You’ll notice the President Obama is very quick to apologize for Islam while he attacks the Catholic church. [...] This is the most anti-religious administration in American history. And you have my commitment that on the very first day I will issue an executive order that turns over every single anti-religious act of Barack Obama.
  • January 16, 2012
    Well, obviously when you have a country [Turkey] that is being ruled by, what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then yes. Not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO, but it’s time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it. [...] And we need to send a powerful message to countries like Iran, and Syria and Turkey that the...
  • January 7, 2012
    [...Y]ou make that decision [to leave Afghanistan] based on an analysis of understanding how virulent the threat of radical Islam is. And you confront that threat not just militarily, and importantly not just militarily. You confront it first by being honest with the American public about what this threat is. This president has sanitized every defense document, everything. [...T]he word radical Islam doesn’t appear anywhere.
  • December 10, 2011
    We have a president of the United States who has put the most muddled foreign policy in place that is causing the problems in the Middle East. Whether it goes back to 2009 when we had an opportunity to impact Iran, whether it has been the way that he stood back in Egypt and did not try to negotiate people who would come in that could work with us, and now we have radical Islamists as the head of Egypt [...].
  • November 22, 2011
    We are not fighting a war on terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic. We're fighting a war against radical Islam. And what radical Islam is telling, all of the radical Islamist leaders are saying is that just wait America out, America is weak, they will not stand for the fight [...].
  • September 12, 2011
    This whole idea that the whole Muslim world is responsible for this [terrorism], and they're attacking us because we're free and prosperous, that is just not true. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda have been explicit: they have been explicit, and they wrote and said that we attacked America because you had bases on our holy land in Saudi Arabia, you do not give Palestinians fair treatment [...]
  • August 12, 2011
    YORK: Mr. Cain [...] you have already apologized for remarks you made about Islam. Is your focus on other people’s religions hurting your campaign?

    CAIN: It is not hurting my campaign, Byron, because my focus is not on other people’s religion. Let me repeat myself and be real clear. I believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution. I believe that the government does not have a right to impose religion on people. But when you’re talking about some of these sensitive issues, I think we owe...
  • August 12, 2011
    YORK: Speaker Gingrich, you’ve said you would impose a loyalty test for Muslims to serve in your administration. You said, “We did this in dealing with the Nazis, and we did this in dealing with the communists.” Are you really comparing American Muslims to Nazis? And what specific loyalty test would you require them to take?

    GINGRICH: Well, actually, I didn’t describe it as applied to Muslims. I described it as applied to everybody. [...] My point was, there is nothing illegitimate about...
  • August 7, 2011
    I don't know what reaching out to the Muslim world is going to achieve. I am not going to pander to the Muslim world. I am not going to try to pacify Muslim countries in belief that it's somehow going to change their attitude towards the U.S. I am not going to have a deaf ear, but I am just not going to make it some sort of priority.
  • August 1, 2011
    As Ramadan begins, Michelle and I would like to send our best wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world. […] Here in the United States, Muslim Americans share Ramadan traditions with their neighbors, fellow students, and co-workers. For so many Muslims around the world, Ramadan is also a time of deep reflection and sacrifice. As in other faiths, fasting is used to increase spirituality, discipline, and consciousness of God's mercy. […] I wish Muslims around the...
  • July 27, 2011
    While I stand by my opposition to the interference of shariah law into the American legal system, I remain humble and contrite for any statements I have made that might have caused offense to Muslim Americans and their friends. I am truly sorry for any comments that may have betrayed my commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the freedom of religion guaranteed by it. Muslims, like all Americans, have the right to practice their faith freely and peacefully.
  • July 17, 2011
    WALLACE: But couldn’t any community then say they don’t want a mosque in our community?

    CAIN: They could say that. Chris, lets go back to the fundamental issue that the people are basically saying they’re objecting to. They’re objecting to the fact Islam is both a religion and a set of laws, Sharia law. That’s the difference between any one of our other traditional religions where it’s just about religious purposes. The people in the community know best, and I happen to side with the people...
  • June 13, 2011

    MCELVEEN: You recently said you would not appoint a Muslim to your cabinet and you kind of back off that a little bit and said you would first want to know if they're committed to the Constitution. You expressed concern that, quote, "a lot of Muslims are not totally dedicated to this country." Are American-Muslims as a group less committed to the Constitution than, say, Christian or Jews?

    CAIN: First, the statement was would I be comfortable with a Muslim in my administration, not that I...

  • June 13, 2011
    Well, first of all, of course, we're not going to have Sharia law applied in U.S. courts. That's never going to happen. We have a Constitution and we follow the law.
  • June 13, 2011
    KING: Should one segment, Governor -- I mean, one segment of Americans, in this case, religion, but in any case, should one segment be singled out and treated differently?

    ROMNEY: No, I think we recognize that the people of all faiths are welcome in this country. Our nation was founded on a principal of religious tolerance. That's in fact why some of the early patriots came to this country and we treat people with respect regardless of their religious persuasion. Obviously, anybody who would...
  • June 13, 2011
    I do not believe in Sharia law in American courts. I believe in American laws in American courts, period. There have been instances [...] in New Jersey -- there was an instance in Oklahoma where Muslims did try to influence court decisions with Sharia law. I was simply saying very emphatically, American laws in American courts.
  • May 1, 2011
    As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not—and never will be—at war with Islam. I've made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.
  • March 27, 2011
    I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.
  • March 15, 2011
    We need to define it and say what it is. And it is evil. Sharia law is incompatible with American jurisprudence and our Constitution.
  • March 14, 2011
    Sharia law is not just a religious code. It is also a governmental code. It happens to be both religious in nature an origin, but it is a civil code. And it is incompatible with the civil code of the United States.
  • March 3, 2011
    I began to realize that what happens with evangelical Protestants and with Catholics is this strong sense of a dual assault. On one front they are under siege from radical Islamicists, and on the other they are under siege from radical secularists.
  • January 12, 2011
    The assertion that we disrespect Islam is actually quite the opposite. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States of America. And as President Obama said in the heart of Cairo, one of the world’s great Muslim-majority cities, and I quote, [...] “I believe America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion or station in life, all of us share common aspirations -- to live in peace and security, to get education, to work with dignity, to love our families, our...
  • August 24, 2010
    These people reject reason. These people say that their lives are governed by faith, period, by the rule of law. That was handed down in Sharia. And it is all-encompassing and it is perfect and it is not to be added to. And that there is no room for this.
  • August 13, 2010
    As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by...
  • July 28, 2010
    Building this structure on the edge of the battlefield created by radical Islamists is not a celebration of religious pluralism and mutual tolerance; it is a political statement of shocking arrogance and hypocrisy. We need to have the moral courage to denounce it. It is simply grotesque to erect a mosque at the site of the most visible and powerful symbol of the horrible consequences of radical Islamist ideology. Well-meaning Muslims, with common human sensitivity to the victims' families,...
  • October 30, 2009
    Traditional Western education speaks little of the influence of Muslim scientists, scholars, throughout history, and for that matter the cultural treasures that stand today in testament to their wisdom.
  • June 4, 2009
    I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles -- principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
  • June 4, 2009
    I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.