I write to join in the outrage over comments made by one of my congressional colleagues, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. His comments were clearly inappropriate.

In response to a question about potential future attacks on the United States, Rep. Tancredo reportedly said, “If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina.”

Threatening to respond in anger to a terrorist attack is terrible foreign policy. But more importantly, his remarks are inflammatory and disrespectful to the many Muslim-Americans who have come here simply in search of a better life.

His is exactly the wrong response to the threats we still face as a nation. Those who threaten us seek to divide us, and we can’t allow that to happen. We need to continually remind ourselves that our diversity — ethnic, racial, religious — has always been our greatest strength.

I agree with the U.S. Department of State that it is “absolutely outrageous and reprehensible for anyone to suggest attacks on holy sites, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or those of any other religion.” Further, brash statements like Mr. Tancredo’s only serve to undermine our shared fight against terrorism.

Last month, I spoke at the opening of the new Islamic Center at the Dar Al Noor mosque on Hoadly Road. I spoke to hundreds of constituents that day. That American foreign policy could be damaged by reckless statements is bad enough.

That American Muslims, such as the Prince William County residents I represent in Congress, could be personally hurt by these comments, especially when they are undertaking new efforts to reach out to other people of faith, is far worse.

The American spirit is better than this.

Republican, 11th District of Virginia


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