U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris on Sunday challenged Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s contested remarks about Muslims and terrorism.
In Sanchez’s original comments, the Democratic congresswoman from Orange County said in a broadcast interview that between 5 percent and 20 percent of Muslims, an estimated 80 million and 320 million worldwide, wanted to target Western norms “in any way possible.” Muslim, liberal and immigrant rights activists pounced, calling the comments irresponsible, claiming the number of people willing to go to extremes was far lower.
Sanchez, who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, said her figures were based on expert research and in no way were an attack on Muslims.
“Let’s just call it what it is,” Harris, a fellow Democrat and the state’s attorney general, told reporters Sunday in response to a question at a campaign event here.
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“This is a climate that is ripe for scapegoating,” she said. “And leaders don’t scapegoat.