Kasich After Brussels Attack: We're at War With Radical Islam -- Not Islam

by | March 23, 2016 AT 12:30 PM

By Tom Troy

Ohio Gov. John Kasich called for the destruction of the terrorist movement that attacked an airport and subway station in Belgium while disagreeing with more aggressive rhetoric from his opponents for the Republican presidential nomination on an issue that is a high priority with GOP voters.

"We must also redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out, and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil," Mr. Kasich said Tuesday.

The latest attacks occurred on the day when Republican voters in Arizona, Utah, and American Samoa were to choose delegates for the GOP national convention.

All three Republican candidates made strong statements.

"We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized," U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, condemned Mr. Cruz's call for surveillance.

The group said it sends "an alarming message to American-Muslims who increasingly fear for their future in this nation and to all Americans who value the Constitution and religious liberties."

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump reiterated his calls to ban Muslims from entering the country, saying on Fox News the United States needs to "shut the borders."

Mr. Trump said he had warned about such attacks.

"Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime, and now it's a disaster city. A total disaster," he said.

Also on Fox News, Mr. Kasich took issue with Mr. Trump, saying, "Close the borders to everybody? That's not a workable or wise way to proceed."

"Along with every American, I am sickened by the pictures of the carnage, by the injuries, and by the loss of life," Mr. Kasich said.

The governor called on President Obama to cut his historic trip to Cuba short.

"This is a time for real leadership. ... If I were in Cuba right now, the last thing I would be doing is going to a baseball game," he said, according to the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, adding that we haven't been aggressive enough in trying to stem this type of radicalism.

"We are not at war with Islam; we are at war with radical Islam," Mr. Kasich said ahead of a fund-raiser at the Minneapolis Club. "In our country, we don't want to create divisions. Just because you happen to be a Muslim doesn't mean that you are a radicalized person who wants to destroy somebody in the West."

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are also competing in Arizona and Utah for the Democratic presidential nomination, as well as in Idaho.

Mrs. Clinton, a former secretary of state, issued a statement that "the people of Brussels, of Europe, and of the world will not be intimidated by these vicious killers."

Mr. Sanders condemned "this barbaric attack" as "another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians."

"Today's attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS," he said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria that has been inspiring terrorist attacks.

An NBC News poll in January found that terrorism was the top concern of 34 percent of Republican voters, compared with 11 percent of Democrats.

(c)2016 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)