Obama Responds to Trump’s Proposed Muslim Ban: ‘We Don’t Have Religious Tests Here’

By Steven Klett, Epoch Times
June 14, 2016 2:53 pm Last Updated: June 14, 2016 7:15 pm

President Barack Obama took a strong stance against Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban in a speech that touted his record in the fight against ISIS, called for stricter gun control, and addressed Trump’s criticism that he doesn’t use the term “radical Islam.”

Speaking on the proposed Muslim ban, Obama invoked the Constitution and Bill of Rights, saying that the U.S. “does not have religious tests”: 

“This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don’t have religious tests here. Our founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, are clear about that. And if we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect.”

He also expanded on prejudice towards American Muslims, asking rhetorically whether or not that means that the Muslim communities will be treated differently: 

“Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith? We heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign. Do Republican officials actually agree with this? That’s not the America we want. It doesn’t reflect our democratic ideals.”

Obama also warned that if the United States falls “into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush” and “imply that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.”

Donald Trump renewed calls to ban all Muslims from entering the United States following the terror attack on a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 dead and 53 wounded.

“What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough,” Trump tweeted after the attack.

In his speech, President Obama characterized the shooting as an attack by a “lone actor” and called on congressmen to pass stricter gun legislation.

The president also rebutted criticism from Donald Trump, who had called on Obama to resign if he did not use the term “radical Islam.”

“There has not been a moment in my 7.5 years as president where we have not been able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label ‘radical Islam.’ Not once has an adviser of mine said, ‘Man, if we use that phrase, we are going to turn this whole thing around,’ not once,” Obama said. 

“So someone seriously thinks that we don’t know who we are fighting? If there is anyone out there who thinks we are confused about who our enemies are—that would come to a surprise of the thousands of terrorists we have taken out on our battlefield.”

In the war against ISIS, Obama characterized the war as “firing on all cylinders” and that the American lead coalition remains on the offensive, while ISIS forces in Syria and Iraq are losing territory and are on the defensive.