Newt Gingrich effectively called for the deportation of all practicing Muslims from the United States Thursday night. His suggestion, which would almost certainly be unconstitutional, represents perhaps the most sweeping call for a religious test proposed by a mainstream political figure over the last few years, which have seen a strong backlash against Islam
Let me be as blunt and direct as I can be. 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,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door.”
Gingrich continued by saying that anyone who visited a website associated with ISIS or Al-Qaeda should be prosecuted as a felon.
Gingrich has a tendency to speak off the cuff, often saying outrageous things, so it’s hard to tell how considered the comment was.
But it represents a grave misunderstanding of both the First Amendment and “sharia,” an oft-blurred term.