Via National Journal:
On Wednesday, the senator from Vermont told a small crowd at Washington’s Masjid Muhammad (also known as “the Nation’s Mosque”) that “demagogues” trying to divide the country are acting in “shameful” ways in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. He then stressed the strides the country has made to overcome hatred and discrimination in the past.
“Let me begin by stating the obvious: there is enormous anxiety and fear in this country,” Sanders said. “Our people are deeply concerned—justly so—about the threats of international terrorism.”
Sitting at a table with a coterie of religious leaders from around D.C.—Imam Talib Shareef of the Nation’s Mosque, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rev. Reginald Green, Rabbi Batya Steinhauf, and Chaplain Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad of the Veterans Affairs Department—Sanders spoke about the history of bigotry and urged Americans to avoid letting fear divide them.
“It’s no secret that throughout the world and in our own country, we have seen centuries of bigotry and intimidation, sometimes with unspeakable results,” Sanders said, listing the Holocaust, Rwanda, and Bosnia as prime examples of times that hateful rhetoric has caused unnecessary and tragic violence.
He denounced the recent rhetoric of “demagogues” when it comes to Muslim immigration, calling out GOP real-estate mogul Donald Trump by name and saying that anti-Muslim comments have prompted an increase in hate speech across America.
“Now, at this moment with all of the fears and anxieties people have about terrorism and about the economy, there are demagogues out there: people like Donald Trump, who are once again trying to divide us up,” he said. “They want us to believe that people from Mexico coming into this country are rapists and criminals. They want us to believe that the average Muslim is a terrorist.”