Looking to keep pace in a campaign where security and terrorism have taken center stage, Bernie Sanders took his message to a new setting Wednesday: he visited a mosque.
On Wednesday, the Vermont senator told a small crowd at Washington’s Masjid Muhammad (also known as “the Nation’s Mosque”) that “demagogues” trying to divide the country are acting in “shameful” ways in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. He then stressed the strides the country has made to overcome hatred and discrimination in the past.
“Let me begin by stating the obvious: there is enormous anxiety and fear in this country,” Sanders said. “Our people are deeply concerned—justly so—about the threats of international terrorism.”
Sitting at a table with a coterie of religious leaders from around DC—Imam Talib Shareef of the Nation’s Mosque, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rev. Reginald Green, Rabbi Batya Steinhauf, and Chaplain Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs—Sanders spoke about the history of bigotry and urged Americans to avoid letting fear divide them.
“It’s no secret that throughout the world and in our own country we have seen centuries of bigotry and intimidation, sometimes with unspeakable results,” Sanders said, listing the Holocaust, Rwanda and Bosnia as prime examples of times hateful rhetoric has caused unnecessary and tragic violence.