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Rick Santorum: Obama And Bush Gave Muslims A Pass

CREDIT: AP Images - Manuel Balce Ceneta

Rick Santorum speaking at the Values Voter Summit earlier this year.

In a speech at Liberty University Monday, Rick Santorum accused both President Obama and Bush of giving “all Muslims a pass” for not holding Islam accountable for terrorism.

“I’m not saying all Muslims are terrorists, but we have an obligation to face the truth about who the enemy is and what they want to accomplish,” the potential 2016 contender said. “By not correctly identifying these Islamists for who they are, they’ve given all Muslims a pass for identifying a cancer within their own body.”

This kind of fearmongering about Islam has surged since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, largely due to hateful rhetoric from the GOP and the media. As a result, Muslim Americans have suffered from illegal surveillance, job discrimination, and even mosque burnings.

It’s also a myth that Muslims are ignoring extremists who claim to act in the name of Islam. Muslim organizations have regularly condemned terrorism. In September, over a hundred prominent Muslim scholars wrote an open letter to ISIS’s leader calling the group un-Islamic. Muslims in Germany held a day of prayer to condemn ISIS, while British Muslims started the hashtag #NotInMyName to criticize ISIS.

In September, Obama said that “the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace.” Other world leaders, such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and France’s foreign minister, have also made the distinction between Islam and ISIS.

This is not the first time that Santorum has made anti-Islam comments. This September, he implied that Muslims have not moved beyond violence. During a debate in 2011, Santorum endorsed profiling Muslims and young men at airports. He has also said that “[equality] doesn’t come from Islam. It doesn’t come from the East and Eastern religions. It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” drawing complaints from Muslim, Hindu and Sikh religious leaders. The Council on American-Islamic Relations offered to send him a copy of the Quran at the time to show that Islam supports equality.

Amelia Rosch is an intern for ThinkProgress.