Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) seems to be going further than even Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in advocating the crackdown of U.S. Muslims. He doesn’t just want to consider shutting down mosques, as Trump says, but wants to shut down “any place where radicals are being inspired.”
“It’s not about closing down mosques. It’s about closing down any place — whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site — any place where radicals are being inspired,” Rubio said on Fox News’ The Kelly File on Thursday night when asked if he agreed with Trump. “The bigger problem we have is our inability to find out where these places are, because we’ve crippled our intelligence programs, both through unauthorized disclosures by a traitor, in Edward Snowden, or by some of the things this president has put in place with the support even of some from my own party to diminish our intelligence capabilities.”
“So whatever facility is being used — it’s not just a mosque — any facility that’s being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States, should be a place that we look at,” he continued.
Trump first articulated potentially shutting down U.S. mosques on Monday during a call in to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when hosts asked if he would consider doing the same thing France did and shut down U.S. mosques with direct terrorist ties. Trump said he would “strongly consider” it, then lamented NYPD shutting down its domestic surveillance program targeting Muslims in New York City. Later this week he suggested the U.S. would “absolutely” create a federal database of Muslims if he were elected president.
Both Trump and Rubio could be putting forth these ideas because polling suggests that limiting rights of Muslims is popular with Republican voters. A poll released this week found that 25 percent of Rubio supporters liked the idea of shutting down U.S. mosques.
Meanwhile establishment candidate Jeb Bush has resisted targeting of U.S. mosques: “You talk about closing mosques, you talk about registering people, that’s just wrong …. it’s manipulating people’s angst and their fears. That’s not strength. That’s weakness.”
But Bush also suggested admitting Syrian Christians instead of Syrian Muslims. “At a minimum we ought to be bringing in people that have — orphans or people that clearly aren’t going to be terrorists. Or Christians,” Bush said during a campaign stop South Carolina, according to ABC News. “There are no Christian terrorists in the Middle East, they’re persecuted.”
Last weekend, directly in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Rubio about Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s resistance to saying the words “radical Islam.” Rubio articulated that U.S. Muslims were similar to Nazis before World War II, whether they support radical extremism or not:
I think that’s, I don’t understand it. That would be like saying we weren’t at war with Nazis because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi party, but weren’t violent themselves. We are at war with radical Islam, with an interpretation of Islam by a significant number of people around the world who they believe now justifies them in killing those who don’t agree with their ideology. This is a clash of civilizations. And as I said at the debate earlier this week, there is no middle ground on this. Either they win or we win, and we need to begin to take this seriously. These are individuals motivated by their faith.
As TPM’s Josh Marshall argued, “in this framework all Muslims are comparable to Nazi party members. Just some haven’t gotten their hands dirty.”