Trump's choice for CIA director once said US Muslims who don't reject terrorism are 'complicit' in it


mike pompeo

Thomson Reuters

Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

President-elect Donald Trump on Friday selected hardline Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo to be his CIA director, prompting scrutiny over some of his past comments.

Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee who has represented Kansas' 4th district since 2011, told Congress in 2013 that Muslim leaders across the US who fail to condemn terror attacks motivated by radical Islamic beliefs are "potentially complicit in these acts, and more importantly still, in those that may well follow."

"When the most devastating terrorist attacks on America in the last 20 years come overwhelmingly from people of a single faith and are performed in the name of that faith, a special obligation falls on those that are the leaders of that faith," Pompeo said on the House floor.

He claimed that Islamic leaders across the country weren't doing enough to stand up to terrorism, and that their silence was "deafening."

"The silence in the face of extremism coming from the best-funded Islamic advocacy organizations and many mosques across America is absolutely deafening," he said. "It casts down upon the commitment to peace by adherents to the Muslim faith."


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Many Islamic clerics living in the US have spoken out against, and regularly condemn, Islamic extremism, rejecting the suggestion that they are somehow complicit in such acts. 

"We are more scared of terrorism than anyone. We suffer in the actual act of terrorism, and then we suffer the backlash," the high-profile Muslim academic Yasir Qadhi said last year.

Muslim-Americans were also quick to condemn least year's deadly attack on a clinic in San Bernardino, and the more recent massacre at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 people dead.

"I fully condemn the terrorist act in Orlando and the ideology that stands behind it," Muslim imam and community leader Muhammad Mursi wrote after massacre. "That is not ISLAM. Islam teaches peace not violence."


Pompeo's hawkish views on Islamic extremism appear to align with those of Trump and his new national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn has called radical Islam a "cancer" and, like Trump, has blamed political correctness for impeding the fight against ISIS.

Pompeo played a prominent role on the House Benghazi Committee that was set up to investigate the attacks on a diplomatic compound in Libya that killed four Americans in 2012. He co-wrote a scathing addendum to the committee's decision to clear then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing, claiming that Clinton "failed to lead," "misled the public," and was complicit in the Americans' deaths. 

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