“I want surveillance of certain mosques,” bellowed Donald Trump to his followers at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama over the weekend. Ted Cruz recently declared that it would be “lunacy” to allow Muslim refugees into the United States because they “could be jihadists coming here to kill Americans.” And in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, Marco Rubio exclaimed that in order to keep Americans safe, we need to be vigilant in our war against “radical Islam.”
The threat posed by ISIS is real and must be forcefully addressed. But if these Republicans truly want to keep us safe, why don’t they ever raise the issue of right-wing terrorists? After all, as The New York Times reported just a few months ago, “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.”
The reality, of course, is that talking about scary Muslims plays great with the GOP base. In fact, a recent poll found that three quarters of Republicans think Islam is “at odds” with American values.