SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Rep. Loretta Sanchez is in hot water Friday evening after expressing anti-Muslim comments that have been described as Trump-like.
Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, who is running for Sen. Barbara Boxer’s soon-to-be open seat, said “anywhere between 5 and 20 percent” of Muslims could be extremists willing to participate in terror activities.
KCAL9’s Stacey Butler was at a mosque in Anaheim as she said Muslims gathered to share fears and frustrations over bombshell comments made by Sanchez and other politicians, including Donald Trump who has suggested closing all mosques or not allowing any Muslims to enter the U.S.
“I don’t think she really realizes the full impact on our community of her statement,” said Tazer Herzallah, member of the West Coast Islamic Society in Anaheim.
Sanchez, a 10-term congresswoman who sits on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, made the comment Wednesday on Larry King’s online show, “PolitcKING.”
“We know that there is a small group, and we don’t know how big that is — it can be anywhere between 5 and 20 percent, from the people that I speak to — that Islam is their religion and who have a desire for a caliphate and to institute that in anyway possible,” she said.
Herzallah says the Muslim community has worked closely with Sanchez for two decades.
“It’s unfortunate that someone like Loretta, that has had such a strong relationship with our community for so long, would say something that would put our community at risk. That would literally bring danger to our doors. By inflaming, by adding fuel to the fires,” Herzallah said.
Herzallah said the mosque needs constant security. The same morning Sanchez made her comments, he said a group of protesters marched just outside their doors.
“Police had to come out here before our congregational prayer and set up a security perimeter just to make sure that nobody gets hurt,” he said.
Sanchez’ comments also rubbed the NAACP the wrong way and they are demanding an apology.
“At a time when people of color from all across the nation continue to have their civil and constitutional rights violated, fear and hate is being promoted by yet another politician running for political office,” the group said in a statement.
Butler reached out to Sanchez for comment, but she was unavailable.
She did release a statement that said, “I referenced various conflicting opinions regarding the rate of support for ISIS and other militants among Muslims worldwide. As I clearly stated in the full interview, those studies offer only estimates based upon very limited research. There are other equally compelling data to support far lower estimates.”