Paul: U.S. should “absolutely not” monitor mosques, create Muslim database

11/22/2015 04:31 PM

Calling Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s stance on the topic “disqualifying,” Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ Sunday that he opposed government surveillance at mosques and establishing databases to track Muslims.

“Yes we should follow people who are a risk,” Paul said. “Should we talk to their neighbors and friends, should we talk to their imam? Sure, all of that is legitimate, but should we target mosques and have a database of Muslims?

“Absolutely not, and I think that’s disqualifying for both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio to say that we’re going to close down every place that potentially has a discussion that might lead to extremism. That would require some sort of religious czar that I think isn’t consistent with our freedom.”

Trump raised both policies on the campaign trail and television interviews this week in light of terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic State militants in Paris that left 130 dead Nov. 13.

On Thursday, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said during an appearance on Fox News that any place “where radicals are being inspired” should be shuttered.

Paul, polling 10th in the GOP presidential field according to an average by Real Clear Politics, also touched on a bill he filed to halt new U.S. visas for citizens of countries with jihadist movements.

That follows calls from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for President Barack Obama’s administration to “pause” the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. and reexamine the procedure.

The U.S. House passed a bill on a bipartisan 289-137 vote on Thursday to require individual refugees from Syria and Iraq to be cleared by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the National Intelligence Council before resettlement.

Paul pointed to a pair of Iraqi refugees who were arrested in Bowling Green on terrorism charges in 2011 and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing carried out by Chechen refugees as instances in which better vetting was needed.

“I do agree with those who say that the visa waiver program is a problem,” Paul said. “There are many French citizens who want to attack their government and attack us, and we have no program for screening them. I say they should all come in through global entry, sort of a frequent-flier program where you have to get a background check or they have to wait 30 days.

“Right now we have nothing in place, and I think we are at a great deal of risk from a variety of sources — refugees but also visa-waiver nations.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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