President Barack Obama strongly condemned what he called a “repugnant” proposal by a top Republican to test every Muslim living in the United States and deport whoever believes in Sharia law, following the deadly truck attack in Nice.
“In the wake of last night’s attacks, we’ve heard more suggestions that all Muslims in America be targeted, tested for their beliefs, some deported or jailed,” Obama said, referring to a proposal by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“And the very suggestion is repugnant and an affront to everything that we stand for as Americans. We cannot give in to fear or turn on each other or sacrifice our way of life.”
French officials said that the man who rammed his truck into a crowd in Nice on Thursday during Bastille Day celebrations, killing at least 84 people, was a “terrorist” born in Tunisia who likely had links to violent extremists.
Gingrich, who had been in the running to become Republican presidential contender Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick but was ultimately passed over, unleashed harsh new anti-Muslim rhetoric after the Nice attack.
“Western civilisation is in a war,” Gingrich told Fox News on Thursday.
“We should frankly test every person from here who is from a Muslim background and if they believe in Sharia law they should be deported. It is incompatible with Western civilisation.”