DENVER – Colorado Muslims say comments by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn and others in support of travel bans and profiling of people who practice Islam are dangerous and irresponsible.
In a Dec. 12, 2015 talk show interview – which recently garnered attention after flying under the radar early in the campaign – Glenn said he generally supports a proposal by Republican Donald Trump to prohibit all Muslims from entering the United States.
He made the comments on the conservative 710 KNUS “Craig Silverman Show.”
“His proposal, on its face, is sound ... when you are looking at potential threats,” Glenn responded to a question asked by Silverman.
A Dec. 7, 2015, news release from the Trump campaign stated, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Glenn made his comments when he was competing in what would become a crowded and chaotic Republican primary to take on Democrat Michael Bennet. Nearly a year later, in the general election, a spokeswoman for Glenn said the candidate stands by his comments.
“Unlike Michael Bennet, Darryl Glenn recognizes that we are at war with radical Islam, and he will call the threat for what it is: radical extremists who are hellbent on destroying this country and everything it stands for,” said Katey Price. “We have a responsibility to secure our borders and protect our citizens from outside threats, and that’s what Darryl Glenn is advocating.”
Glenn is sticking to his comments, even as the Trump campaign seemed to walk the proposal back on Thursday, with running mate Mike Pence of Indiana saying that Trump no longer wanted to enact a ban on Muslim travel.
Asked on CNN about why he would not condemn the proposal, Pence said, “Because that’s not Donald Trump’s position now.”
Trump himself in recent weeks has scaled back how he frames the proposed temporary prohibition on travel, saying “extreme vetting” of immigrants should center around countries with known terrorist activity.
During the December 2015 interview, Glenn took his comments a step further when asked by Silverman about prohibiting Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.
“Unfortunately, it might even involve some level of profiling. ... There are people that want to do us harm,” Glenn responded.
The El Paso County commissioner – who prides himself on being an “unapologetic constitutional conservative” – also was asked whether Islam clashes with the U.S. Constitution. The segment of the Silverman show was titled, “Craig’s Lawyers’ Lounge.” Glenn was asked the question because he is an attorney.
“Islam and the Constitution are in clear conflict,” Glenn opined.
“When you think about, you know, what they’re advocating; we need to wake up. Because the threat is here. It’s already here. And we need to do something about that. That’s probably why Donald Trump is resonating so well.”
“That doesn’t qualify him to be a good leader if he has such thick ignorant stereotypes,” Imam Shafi told The Durango Herald during an interview Wednesday at his southeast Denver mosque.
“Such leaders should not be voted (in). We need leaders who think for peace and security and prosperity. We want leaders who solve our problems.”
He added the caveat that Muslims have not done a good job reaching out to Americans.
“We are doctors, like others. ... We are teachers, we are engineers, we are scientists, we have businesses. We are paying our taxes.”
Imam Shafi, who was born and raised in Kenya, went as far as to suggest that Glenn and Trump are “inciting Americans to civil war” by advancing hyperbole.
As for Glenn’s comment that Islam is in conflict with the Constitution, Imam Shafi said, “The American Constitution is not a religious constitution, but it has a provision for religion, for every religion. ... The freedom of worship without segregation.”
Imam Shafi went on to suggest that politicians – especially Republicans – are using Islam to mobilize voters.
“They have mastered the game on how to get into our heads,” he said.
“I am just concerned that they are causing a lot of damage. They are tarnishing our lovely, our beautiful, America. They are really sending a bad message out there that we are no longer human beings.”
For his part, Bennet said travel bans and profiling won’t address the problem.
“We’re a lot better off denying people access to this country who are dangerous to this country, instead of banning entire religions from the Unites States, which has never been our practice,” Bennet said. “It’s not who we are as Americans.”