Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump elaborated Monday evening on his recent proposal that Muslim Americans monitor each other and report suspicious activity, claiming Muslims knew about but failed to report the radicalized couple that shot up a government center in San Bernardino, California.
According to NPR reporter Asma Khalid, Trump told rally attendees in Nashua, New Hampshire that “there’s something going on” with Muslims and “their culture.”
“These people in California, people knew he had bombs all over the floor, people knew it, why didn’t they turn him in?” he asked.
Wanted to make sure I hadn't misheard Donald Trump's Muslim comments, so transcribing that section here. pic.twitter.com/b4cwITQML3
— Asma Khalid (@asmamk) December 29, 2015
Trump has refocused his campaign from anti-Latino bigotry to anti-Muslim bigotry in recent months, proposing a database of Muslims in America and a ban on all Muslims entering the country. Monday’s comments were building off his assertion earlier this month that Muslim Americans must “surveil their own people.” His poll numbers soared after the San Bernardino shooting.
The San Bernardino shooters’ connections have been heavily scrutinized and have thus far resulted in the arrest of their neighbor, Enrique Marquez, Jr., who may have purchased the guns used in the attack. Attendees at the mosque where Syed Rizwan Farook prayed have also been grilled about potential radicalization at the mosque.
The failure to report people planning mass shootings is not isolated to the Muslim “culture,” despite what Trump claims. Family members and friends often notice warning signs but struggle to identify serious threats. Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who gunned down a prayer meeting at a black church in Charleston over the summer, openly spewed violent bigotry and even confided to his friends that he was planning to “do something crazy.” But his friends didn’t take him seriously.
Though Muslims are constantly asked to take responsibility for attacks by other Muslims, Muslim Americans are already reporting people they suspect to be extremists at higher rates than any other group. A University of North Carolina study found that 40 percent of arrests of attempted terrorists stemmed from tips within Muslim American communities. Muslim Americans were so vigilant that they even reported undercover informants who were aggressively trying to recruit young Muslims and manufacture fake terror plots.