CAIR-LA "Disappointed" by Loretta Sanchez's Statements on Muslims

Sanchez said what?
Sanchez said what?
Cropped screenshot from Buzzfeed

UPDATE, DEC. 11, 1:15 P.M.: Another statement critical of Loretta Sanchez's appearance of Larry King's talk show just came in, this time from the Council of American-Islamic Relations' Los Angeles of Anaheim office! The largest Muslim civil rights group is collectively shaking its head at the congresswoman for lending credence to the notion that up to 20 percent of Muslims desire a caliphate by extreme means if necessary.

"California Muslims are disappointed by the harmful statement made by Rep. Loretta Sanchez about Muslims,” said Haroon Manjlai, CAIR-LA’s Public Affairs Coordinator. “While Congresswoman Sanchez’s record on civil rights, especially with the American Muslim community, is praiseworthy, public discourse is not advanced by the use of biased polls that fuel paranoia." 

CAIR-LA counterclaimed that polls show American Muslims seeing no justification for violence in greater numbers than any other religious group in the country. Was she talking about American Muslims or Muslims at large? Who knows! The organization calls on Sanchez to reject bias motivated studies, but stops short of calling for an apology.

UPDATE, DEC. 11, 12:15 P.M.: Here comes the condemnations for Loretta Sanchez's statements on Muslims, caliphates and terrorism! First up is the statewide California Immigrant Policy Center with its Executive Director Reshma Shamasunder having this to say:

At a time when bigoted, Islamophobic rhetoric is spurring troubling incidents of hate across the country - including in Orange County - Representative Loretta Sanchez' wildly off-the-mark claims are irresponsible and dangerous. We expect California's representatives to uphold our values of inclusion and diversity, not trample them. 

Speaking on behalf of the organization, Shamasunder called on the congresswoman to "immediately apologize." While Sanchez ponders that possibility, the Weekly hears that more statements from other organizations are on the way, Stay tuned!

ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 11, 6:00 A.M.: If Senate hopeful Loretta Sanchez wanted to follow up her infamous Native American 'war cry' earlier this year, she might have fashioned herself with a stereotypical Indian name like Congresswoman Foot in Mouth! 

Known for a media gaffe or two over the years, the Democratic politician appeared on PoliticKING with Larry King to offer comments suggesting up to 20 percent of Muslims want a caliphate and are willing to use terrorism to establish it. Her Wednesday interview may have gone unnoticed—who knew Larry King still had a show and on RT America after all!—but Buzzfeed highlighted the statements in article that gained traction on the interwebs. 

"We know that there is a small group, and we don’t know how big that is—it can be anywhere between 5 and 20 percent, from the people that I speak to—that Islam is their religion and who have a desire for a caliphate and to institute that in any way possible," Sanchez said on the program. "They are willing to go to extremes," she later added. "They are willing to use and they do use terrorism." 

Sanchez's statements come at a time of rising Islamophobia both nationally and locally where even cholos from Anaheim gangs are getting all 'Murica by vandalizing Sikh temples in Buena Park with anti-Muslim graffiti. The congresswoman, who's running against fellow Democrat Kamala Harris for Barbara Boxer's Senate seat, leaned on the right side of things recently before Wednesday's guest appearance. She took a stand to welcome Syrian refugees unlike her Republican colleagues. Her office insists she still is and that media reports of her interview are distorted.

"The BuzzFeed article’s headline is inaccurate and misleading," says Emily Morris, a Sanchez spokeswoman. "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." 

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Spin aside, what sources place the stats as high as 20 percent and why did the congresswoman trot them out? Sanchez sits on the powerful Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Armed Services but instead of clarifying sources, she chose to issue a general statement trying to patch things up.

"I strongly support the Muslim community in America and believe that the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not support terrorism or ISIS," Sanchez said. "We must enlist the voices of the Muslim community in our fight against ISIS instead of alienating them through fear-mongering and discrimination." 

Any idea what percentage of Muslims are alienated by your latest media whoopsie, congresswoman?


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