Newt Gingrich offered several stunning proposals in response to Thursday’s mass terrorist attack in Nice, France during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“Let me be as blunt and direct as I can be,” the former House speaker said. “Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with western civilization.”
Gingrich did not expand on what this test would involve, how it would be applied to the 3.3 million Muslims living in the United States or where the U.S. could deport American Muslims who are citizens. The proposal would likely violate Constitutional protections of the free exercise of religion and of due process.
Hannity asked how the U.S. government could ascertain whether an individual Muslim “really wants assimilation.”
“The first step is you have to ask them the questions,” Gingrich replied. “The second step is you have to monitor what they’re doing on the Internet. The third step is, let me be very clear, you have to monitor the mosques.”
Gingrich also called for “anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS or Al Qaeda or any other terrorist groups” to be jailed on felony charges. Any organization that hosted such a website would also be subject to such charges, he said.
If the U.S. intelligence community is unable to diminish ISIS’ power by taking out the websites the group uses to spread its propaganda, Gingrich proposed using aggressive force.
“We should destroy them with kinetic power, using various weapons starting with predators and frankly just killing them,” he said.
Gingrich framed these radical proposals to single out Muslim Americans and engage in unprecedented levels of surveillance against U.S. citizens as essential to combatting the threat from the “medieval barbarians” who make up ISIS.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack on tourists watching fireworks along the French Riviera that left 84 dead.
Gingrich’s call for monitoring mosques and testing the religious beliefs of Muslims recalled proposals made by Donald Trump. Trump last year proposed banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., a ban that he he has since amended to apply only to immigrants from “terrorist nations.”
Gingrich is a close adviser to Trump and was on his shortlist of possible vice presidential picks.