Right-wing media figures are bolstering calls from Republican presidential candidates following the attacks in Paris to limit Syrian refugees entering the United States to Christians only, claiming it will stop terrorists from entering the U.S.
Republican Presidential Candidates Demand Limiting Syrian Refugee Resettlement In The U.S. To Christians
Jeb Bush: The United States “Should Focus Our Efforts As It Relates To The Refugees For The Christians That Are Being Slaughtered.” Appearing on CNN's State of the Union on November 15, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush called for “focus[ing] our efforts as it relates to refugees on the Christians that are being slaughtered,” saying that “there are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now”:
JAKE TAPPER (HOST): We have breaking news this morning. As you heard from Christiane Amanpour, according to French authorities, at least one of the Islamist terrorists smuggled into France amongst refugees from Syria. There are Syrian refugees coming into the United States right now. Clearly there is a heart-breaking humanitarian imperative at stake, but what would you do as president, given this new information?
JEB BUSH: Well, I think we need to lead as it relates to taking action in Syria and Iraq to eradicate ISIS from the face of the Earth. That should be our first and foremost responsibility. But as it relates to the refugees, I think we need to do thorough screening and take a limited number. But ultimately, the best way to deal with the refugee crisis is to create safe zones inside of Syria so that people don't risk their lives, and you don't have what will be a national security challenge, both for our country and Europe, of screening. In addition to that, Jake, I'd say that there are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now. They'll be either executed or imprisoned, either by Assad or by ISIS. And I think we should have -- we should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered.
TAPPER: How does the United States -- how do screeners tell which refugees are Christian and which ones are not?
BUSH: Well, we do that all the time. We do that -- it takes almost a year for a refugee to be processed into the United States. I think we need to be, obviously, very, very cautious. This also calls to mind the need to make sure we protect our borders, our southern border particularly. We need to focus on counterintelligence capabilities that have been weakened when the PATRIOT Act was reauthorized. This is a warning for our country that this threat is not going to go away. This is a threat against western civilization, and we need to lead. The United States has pulled back, and when we pull back, voids are filled. And they're filled now by Islamic terrorism that threatens our country. [CNN, State of the Union, 11/15/15]
Ted Cruz Calls For The U.S. To Accept Christian Refugees While Barring Muslims. During a November 15 campaign visit to South Carolina, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz “continued to call for Muslim refugees from Syria to be barred from entering the United States but opening the borders to displaced Christians.” According to The Washington Post, Cruz said, “We need to be working to provide a safe haven for those Christians who are being persecuted and facing genocide, and at the same time we shouldn't be letting terrorists into America.” Cruz “reiterated his assertion that it is 'lunacy' to allow Muslim refugees into the United States, asserting that there is no wat to know if they are aligned with the Islamic State”:
Sen. Ted Cruz Sunday continued to call for Muslim refugees from Syria to be barred from entering the United States but opening the borders to displaced Christians, arguing there is not a “meaningful risk” that Christians will commit terrorist acts.
“There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror. If there were a group of radical Christians pledging to murder anyone who had a different religious view than they, we would have a different national security situation,” Cruz (R-Tex.) told reporters in a middle school gym here.
“But it is precisely the Obama administration's unwillingness to recognize that or ask those questions that makes them so unable to fight this enemy. Because they pretend as if there is no religious aspect to this,” he said.
Cruz did not say how he would determine that refugees were Christian or Muslim. He reiterated his assertion that it is “lunacy” to allow Muslim refugees into the United States, asserting that there is no way to know if they are aligned with the Islamic State.
“We can't roll the dice with the safety of Americans and bring in people for whom there is an unacceptable risk that they could be jihadists coming here to kill Americans,” Cruz said. “We just saw in Paris what happens when a country allows ISIS terrorists to come in as refugees and the result can be a horrific loss of life,” he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.
The assertion is a shift for Cruz, who in early 2014 told Fox News that America should allow Syrian refugees to come to the United States. Now he is saying that Muslim refugees should be resettled in majority Muslim countries in the Middle East. [The Washington Post, 11/15/15]
President Obama Calls Out Republican Presidential Candidates For Wanting A Religious Test For Refugees
President Obama: Wanting A Religious Test To Screen Out Refugees “Shameful,” “Not American.” Speaking before the G20 summit in Turkey on November 16, President Obama called out “folks [who] say that maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims,” calling it “shameful” and “not American”:
President Obama responded testily today to opponents of admitting Syrian refugees to the U.S., taking aim at some GOP presidential candidates for saying only Christian refugees should have asylum.
“When I hear folks say that maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who is feeling from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that's shameful,” Obama said at a press conference in Turkey where he was attending the G-20 summit.
“That's not American. That's not who we are.” [McClatchyDC, 11/16/15]
Echoing Republican Candidates, Conservative Media Call For Only Allowing In Christian Refugees And Criticize Obama's Statement
Laura Ingraham: “Jeb Bush Is Right” On Refugees, U.S. Should Only Accept Refugees “We Can Verifiably Say Are Christians.” During the November 16 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham said Jeb Bush was “right” and argued that "[t]he Christians who we can verifiably say are Christians, who are in the threat of being slaughtered, I'm happy to bring in some of them," but others have “got to stay in the Middle East.” Ingraham added, “We cannot be the warehouse of all these ... Muslim people coming from these far-flung lands”:
LAURA INGRAHAM: Apparently we can't close our doors to anybody. Just can't do it. So we're supposed to compromise our security and go further into debt to help people in other countries, many of whom dislike us intensely, and that's putting it nicely. Think we're an evil, horrible country and more often than not they celebrate attacks against us. So we're supposed to lower our standard of living here in the United States, for what, exactly? You explain that to me. For a purely humanitarian reason? Well if that's the case we should have brought in the Christians before they were being slaughtered in the Middle East. And the ones that we can bring in, I think Jeb Bush is right on that. The Christians who we can verifiably say are Christians, who are in the threat of being slaughtered, I'm happy to bring in some of them. I think most people would. But all these other people, they've got to stay in the Middle East. We cannot be the warehouse of all these, you know, Muslim people coming from these far-flung lands where -- we're just not going to be able to control who becomes radicalized, who doesn't because of technology, it's impossible. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 11/16/15]
Fox's Ralph Peters: There's A “Good Argument For Giving Refuge To” Christian Refugees, But “Don't Let Muslims In.” Appearing on the November 16 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., Fox military analyst Ralph Peters advocated for the U.S. to ban Muslim refugees from entering the country, but said, “I see a good argument for giving refuge to the Christians fleeing the Middle East”:
STUART VARNEY: The topic this morning on many people's minds is whether or not we should allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into this country before the end of the year, and another 100,000 next year. We can't -- we don't know who they are. Should we let them in?
RALPH PETERS: Yeah but that's, again, we need a little more granularity. There are real refugees among the people fleeing Syria, and they're Christians. You want to avoid importing Islamist terrorists into our country? Don't let Muslims in, let the Saudis take them. But I see a good argument for giving refuge to the Christians fleeing the Middle East, because we have stood by and done nothing while 2,000 years of Christian civilization has been systematically and gruesomely destroyed. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 11/16/15]
Fox Anchor Julie Banderas Questioned “Obama Rejects Republican Calls For Religious Test For Refugees” After “ISIS Threatens Washington.” Fox News anchor Julie Banderas criticized Obama's G20 statement on Twitter, writing, “ISIS threatens Washington D.C. and in response President Obama rejects Republican calls for religious test for refugees coming to the U.S.?”:
ISIS threatens Washington D.C. and in response President Obama rejects Republican calls for religious test for refugees coming to the U.S.?
-- Julie Banderas (@JulieBanderas) November 16, 2015
News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch: Obama Should Change Syrian Refugee Policy To Only Allow“Proven Christians.” In a November 16 tweet, Rupert Murdoch, executive co-chairman of Fox News' parent company, wrote that instead of accepting all Syrian refugees, President Obama should “make [a] special exception for proven Christians”:
Obama facing enormous opposition in accepting refugees. Maybe make special exception for proven Christians.
-- Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) November 16, 2015