Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich last night called for all Muslims in the U.S. to be tested to determine whether they believe in Sharia law and to deport those who do, as well as keep tabs on Muslims’ internet activity and monitor all mosques.
Gingrich’s comments in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News were in response to the attack in Nice, France, hours earlier that killed at least 84 people. At the time of his remarks, neither the identity nor religion of the attacker had been determined.
While Gingrich was not selected by Trump to be his vice presidential candidate, despite being on the very short list of those considered, there is speculation that Trump would name Gingrich to be White House chief of staff, essentially serving as Trump’s chief operating officer and running the government day to day.
Gingrich’s proposal violates the First Amendment, as well as other civil rights laws that protect freedom of religion and expression and bar discrimination on the basis of religion.
“Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in Sharia they should be deported,” Gingrich said.
Sharia is the broad term for legal and ethical principles outlined in the Quran and other Islamic scriptures.
“Sharia is incompatible with western civilization,” Gingrich said. “Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door.” However, Gingrich said, calling Islam a “religion of peace” is “bologna.”
“It’s not that Islamists are necessarily evil, but they’re not necessarily a religion of peace,” he said.
Gingrich was asked by Hannity: “How do you possibly ascertain whether or not that person really wants assimilation, really wants a new life, or whether or not they want to expand that caliphate, which is what we’re at war against”
“The first step is you have to ask them the questions,” Gingrich responded. “The second step is you have to monitor what they’re doing on the Internet. The third step is, let me be very clear, you have to monitor the mosques. I mean, if you’re not prepared to monitor the mosques, this whole thing is a joke.”
“When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggests that American Muslims be subjected to Inquisition-style religious test and then expelled from their homes and nation, he plays into the hands of terror recruiters and betrays the American values he purports to uphold,” said Nihad Awaid, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a statement.
Gingrich’s judgment has been questioned in the past, having beendisciplined by the House over ethics accusations, and criticized for his public philandering and indiscretion while attempting to stake a claim as the moral authority.
Gingrich’s remarks echo similar statements made by Trump calling forsurveillance of mosques.