After multiple discussions during the GOP debate Thursday on how the candidates would stop terrorists like ISIS and go after Islamic extremism, they were confronted by a Muslim beauty video blogger.
Nabela Noor described a climate of hatred and violence against Muslims in the United States, propelled by fearmongering over Islamic terrorism. In her popular video series, Noor frequently references the Republican Party’s hateful rhetoric.
“As president, what would you do to address this toxic climate and promote increased tolerance in the United States?” she asked.
Jeb Bush, who has said that the country should have a religion test and only accept Christian refugees from Syria, blamed Donald Trump for the divisive rhetoric.
“Mr. Trump believed in reaction to people’s fears that we should ban all Muslims,” Bush said. “Well, that creates an environment that’s toxic in our own country.”
He then directly addressed the vlogger who asked the question.
“Nabela’s a rising entrepreneur,” he said. “She wants to pursue the American dream. She’s an American citizen. She should not feel uncomfortable about her citizenship. She’s not the threat. The threat is Islamic terrorism. We need to focus our energies there, not these broad-blanket kind of statements that will make it harder for us to deal with it.”
But in the past, Bush has not hesitated to make “broad-blanket kind of statements” when it came to rejecting Syrian refugees, who like Noor, are not actually threats to our national security. Just five of the 784,000 refugees resettled in the United States since September 11 have been charged with plotting terrorist activities, and the likelihood that Americans will be killed by an Islamic extremist is far lower than the likelihood that they will be killed by right-wing extremists.
While Bush did not call for a ban on all Muslims entering the country like Trump, he proposed determining which refugees are Christian and which are Muslim using their last names and birthplaces.
“You can tell when someone is a Christian in the Middle East. I can promise you that,” the former Florida governor said. “There are ample means by which to know this.”