California Democrat Doubles Down on Claim 20% of Muslims Support Extremism

Loretta Sanchez (JC Olivera / Getty)
JC Olivera / Getty

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), who warned last week that 5% to 20% of Muslims may “have a desire for a caliphate and to institute that in any way possible,” faces a backlash from critics in California.

Sanchez was speaking about the San Bernardino terror attacks to Larry King on Ora.TV. She serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the Armed Services Committee, and is running to eplace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in 2016.

Josh Richman of the San Jose Mercury News reports:

Groups including the California Immigrant Policy Center; Asians Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles; and the greater Los Angeles area office of the Council on American Islamic-Relations demanded an apology from Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, for what she said Thursday during an interview on PoliticKING with Larry King on Some said Islamophobic rhetoric could give rise to hate crimes–a fear underscored by the reported arson of an occupied mosque in Coachella later on Friday.

A spokesperson for Sanchez emailed the Los Angeles Times: “Different sources claim a wide range of percentages (one of the numbers that Rep. Sanchez was referring to) when speculating about the number of Muslims who allegedly support the theological idea of a caliphate, which doesn’t mean that they support actual terrorism.”

A Pew study in 2011 found:

As in 2007, very few Muslim Americans – just 1% – say that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are often justified to defend Islam from its enemies; an additional 7% say suicide bombings are sometimes justified in these circumstances. Fully 81% say that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians are never justified.

Five percent had favorable views of Al Qaeda.

A separate Pew study showed that the so-called Islamic State enjoys little or no support in some predominantly Muslim countries, but up to 20% support in Nigeria, and substantial support in several other countries as well.

Opinion surveys tend to show that American Muslims are less radical than Muslims in some other countries, though a small percentage of terror supporters among millions of people still represents a significant number of individuals.


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