Jeb Bush, a likely Republican US presidential candidate, said Thursday that Islam has been hijacked by “barbarians” who seek to “destroy Western civilization.”
At an event at the National Review Institute in Washington, Bush was asked whether he thought Islam was a religion of peace.
“I’m sure for some of the practitioners, but it’s been hijacked by people who have a [sic] ideology that wants to destroy Western civilization, and they’re barbarians. And so that part, which is the part that we need to confront head-on, is clearly not a religion of peace,” he was quoted by The Guardian as saying.
“And I think it’s – you’re not offending the sensibilities of people that are peaceful in the adherence to their faith when you say what I just said,” he went on.
Bush, whose brother — former US president George W. Bush — launched the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has criticized US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, calling it “catastrophic,” and has slammed the president’s reluctance to explicitly say that the fight against terrorism was a fight with radical Islam.
“It’s not some isolated thing. It is a threat on Western civilization, and take them at their word — they want to destroy Western civilization,” Bush told the Tribune-Review in an interview in April.
Bush said that under Obama, America’s strategy was “to isolate and not be fully engaged, because of the fatigue Americans legitimately feel about long-term engagements, in the Middle East particularly.”
“One of the first things we have to do is to get back into the game and develop coalitions to take these terrorist groups out,” he said.
“Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity,” Bush said at a GOP conference in April. He said restoring alliances “that will create less likelihood of America’s boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president.”
AP contributed to this report.