Democrat Sanchez Won’t Back Down from Claim on Muslims and Terror

Loretta Sanchez Odierno (Chip Somodevilla / Getty)
Chip Somodevilla / Getty

California Congresswoman and U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez is doubling down on her statement in December that as much as 20% of the world’s Muslims want to form an Islamic caliphate and would condone terror to achieve that goal.

Interviewed by Capital Public Radio, Sanchez cited her position as the second-ranking Democrat on both the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, asserting, “I would consider myself, quite honestly, an expert on the issues of terrorism…My comments were that some people have said to me–and it’s true, some people have said to me–that between 5 and 20 percent of Muslims in the world want a caliphate. Nobody has been able to refute those numbers.”

In her interview with Larry King in December, Sanchez said:

We know that there is a small group, and we don’t know how big that is — it can be anywhere between 5 and 20%, from the people that I speak to — that Islam is their religion and who have a desire for a caliphate and to institute that in any way possible, and in particular go after what they consider western norms, our way of life. They are not content enough to have their way of looking at the world; they want to put their way on everybody in the world. And again, I don’t know how big that is, and depending on who you talk to, but they are certainly — they are willing to go to extremes. They are willing to use and they do use terrorism.

Sanchez came under heavy fire for her December comments from the liberal activist group Courage Campaign, the California Immigrant Policy Center in Oakland, and the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR)–the latter an unindexed co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial, and a listed terrorist group in the United Arab Emirates.

Yet a June 2015 poll from the Center for Security Policy showed 51% of American Muslims agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah,” while 25% agreed that “violence against Americans here in the United States can be justified as part of the global jihad.”

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Sanchez’s rival for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), has criticized her for her remarks on Muslims, accusing her of “scapegoating.”


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