Anti-Islamic Sentiment Cheered at Values Voter Summit

In a fiery speech at Washington's Values Voter Summit, conservative icon Gary Bauer offered his unflinching views on Islam. The former Reagan staffer, Family Research Council president, and Republican presidential candidate is known for his outspoken evangelical views and his vigorous defense of Israel.

Days after the anniversary of 9/11, in a speech touching on the Ground Zero Islamic center controversy and the recent Koran-burning threat, Bauer did not worry about being politically correct. "The terrorists of 9/11 were not created by poverty," he said, soon after he took the stage. "They were created by radical Islam." The crowd erupted in affirmation.

"We believe that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator -- and by the way, folks, that's not Allah -- with certain unalienable rights," Bauer continued. He's a small man, with what look like acne scars across his face. He spoke with passion and precision, building to well-timed climaxes and giving the crowd room to respond -- which they did.

They gave him a mid-speech standing ovation when he said, "Mr. President, it's time for the Islamic world to prove to the rest of the world that they understand human rights and that they will tolerate religious freedom." Bauer suggested that rather than giving his speech on religious tolerance in Washington following the Ground Zero controversy, Obama should have given it in Mecca.

Bauer went on to allude to contemporary persecution of Jews in Europe, where he claimed they were being beaten in the streets and Jewish cemeteries were being desecrated. Not long after this comment, he claimed that Barack Obama "is the most anti-Israel president in the history of the United States." His audience apparently agreed.

In case listeners thought his anti-Islamic sentiments were limited to radical fundamentalists, Bauer cleared up that confusion by saying that "Islamic culture ... keeps hundreds of millions of people on the verge of violence and mayhem 24 hours a day." This, too, was met with loud cheers.

Bauer was the only major speaker today to venture into anti-Islamic territory, but he seemingly triggered a sentiment in the crowd that lurked just under the surface. Even so, he was quickly overshadowed by the much-anticipated Christine O'Donnell.         

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Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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