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July 28, 2016

Veteran: Anti-Muslim Rhetoric an Assault on Nation’s Ideals

By Joe Jenkins

Hours after the horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, on July 14th, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich declared, “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.”

Veterans for American Ideals leader Emir Hadzic, a Bosnian Muslim refugee and a Marine veteran with eight deployments under his belt, had a powerful response to Mr. Gingrich. Writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, he calls such rhetoric “a frontal assault on our country’s ideals” and a “threat to our national security.”

Hazdic argues that our national values honor diversity and religious freedom, and such statements not only undermine those ideals, but also contradict his own experience as a refugee in the United States. In fact, it is the generous welcome that he received here that inspired him to join the Marines and pledge to protect and serve our nation.

Further, he argues, these values are more than just ideas: they matter to keeping our nation safe. We depend on allies throughout the world to help keep us secure, and they are willing to help us because they see the United States as a champion of freedom. When we act against those values we alienate the people we depend on and we play into the propaganda of our enemies, who seek to divide Islam from the West.

Hazdic calls for reasoned, enlightened political leadership, of the sort recently demonstrated by some members of the Senate who have pushed to continue to offer Special Immigrant Visas in order to provide a safe haven for our allies in Afghanistan who are in danger as a result of their service to the U.S. military. Such leadership, Hazdic argues, is necessary to protect both America the country, and America the ideal.

Read the full op-ed here.