This morning on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough asked Rick Santorum a simple question: What can we do to show the millions of peaceful Muslim Americans that they are valued and respected members of society?
Santorum rejected the question and said that onus was on every Muslim American to confront “the cancer within Islam.” Santorum said that “most Muslims” in America were shirking their duties to confront radicalism.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski had enough. “I’ll turn the argument around on you. Why aren’t you working on white men with guns?,” she asked.
“You are telling Muslim Americans they all need to come out and talk about the tiny percentage of their community that has kind of, quite frankly, wreaked havoc. But yet, you look at the data of white men wreaking havoc on this country? Why aren’t white men coming forward? Why don’t you call on them to do that?,” Brzezinski continued.
Santorum responded by saying he was dealing with the problem of “gun violence.” Not by supporting any kind of gun safety legislation but by encouraging people to get married.
Brzezinski is right on the data. Since 9/11, fatalities from attacks by right-wing extremists — a group of almost exclusively white men — has accounted for 254 fatalities. Meanwhile, Islam-inspired attacks accounted for 50 fatalities over the same period. (This data was from June so did not include the recent attacks in Colorado and San Bernardino.)
Prejudice against Muslims in America is not without consequences. ThinkProgress has documented 46 anti-Islam incidents, many of them violent, since the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Santorum criticized the Obama and George W. Bush administrations for being too accommodating toward Muslims.