Udall Responds To Tancredo Remarks
"I have been asked to respond to recent comments by my colleague, Rep. Tom Tancredo, in which, prompted by a gross hypothetical question, he suggested that threatening devastating attacks on Muslim holy sites might be a responsible deterrent to Islamic terrorist attacks on American soil.
"Despite the terrorist's attempts to persuade Muslims otherwise, the war against al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists is not a war against the Islamic faith, and the notion that it is an acceptable form of deterrence to threaten a nuclear attack against Muslim holy sites is clearly wrong-headed. It not only demonstrates a limited understanding of what the war against terror is all about, it lends support to al Qaeda's argument.
"The most charitable thing I can say about Tom's remarks is that they have stirred a potentially useful discussion about what it means to deter terrorism. Unfortunately, his remarks have not been interpreted this way and have been picked up around the world and in the Muslim press and used by enemies of our cause to suggest that America is waging war against the Islamic faith and Muslim people. It is incumbent on the Bush administration and Congress now to make clear that we do not condone these remarks.
"Tom Tancredo and I came into Congress the same year and we have worked together on a number of issues, including humanitarian efforts in Africa. Tom is no stranger to controversy and I sincerely doubt that he intended his remarks to be anything but a theoretical discussion. Nevertheless, his careless remarks were callous to many Muslims and have hurt our reputation abroad, and I cannot explain, defend or ally myself with them. I feel strongly that his remarks must be repudiated."