The aftermath of the NYC and New Jersey explosions is not the first time that Arkansas Senator Jason Rapert has been at the center of controversy. Last year, he issued a tweet after a discussion with a constituent in a parking lot that led many to conclude he was threatening to shoot citizens who questioned him, though he denied the tweet was about that interaction.
Now Rapert has spoken out about the explosions in NYC and New Jersey, along with the mass stabbing at a mall in Minnesota, asserting that these prove all “Muslim extremist sympathizers” should be “rounded up,” and no more Muslims should be allowed to enter the U.S. Further, he indicated that if Hillary Clinton is elected, these explosions are only a preview of what can be expected in the future.
However, Senator Rapert didn’t wait to confirm that the explosions were intentional terrorist acts before suggesting they prove the dangers of Islamic ideology. In fact, he said Saturday night that the rounding-up he proposes should be done:
Regardless of who is responsible for these events today.
According to USA Today, the NYC explosion took place in the neighborhood of Chelsea and involved a homemade device. ABC News places the New Jersey explosion in Seaside Park, along the course of a charity race.
Officials are refraining from labeling explosions an act of terrorism until they determine more about the motivation and perpetrator. They say no group or individual has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Investigation is ongoing. Though we believe this was an intentional act, there is no credible terror threat against NYC at this moment.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) September 18, 2016
Senator Rapert, however, was not as anxious to wait for confirmation.
Regardless of who is responsible for these events today – we need to round up every single Muslim extremist sympathizer and other anti-American crazies and detain them or deport them. And for goodness sake – stop bringing more Muslims into this nation.
Later, Rapert added a comment that gave the appearance of a confirmation about Islamic extremism behind the NYC and New Jersey explosions, as well as a stabbing in Minnesota.
However, the article to which Senator Rapert links does not address the motivations for the explosions at all — instead, it is a Fox News report that asserts a motivation only for the attack in Minnesota.
Like NYC officials, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton released a statement asserting that the motivation behind the attack is not yet confirmed. He went a step farther, taking the exact opposite view from that of Rapert, as he called for religious tolerance.
I ask everyone in the St. Cloud area and throughout Minnesota to rise above this atrocity and act to make religious and racial tolerance one of the ways in which Minnesotans again lead our country.
On his Twitter account too, Rapert appeared to assert a certainty that the NYC, New Jersey, and Minnesota attacks were all linked incidents of terrorism. He hashtagged the post “#Muslimdanger.”
New Jersey governor Chris Christie has also declared on Sunday that it’s not wise to jump to conclusions, and that there is not at this time sufficient evidence to connect the explosions and mall attack.
Though Rapert indicated that the explosions and attack in Minnesota are evidence that Muslims should be prevented from entering the U.S., it wasn’t a new matter for him — he has spoken about Islam numerous times in the past weeks, particularly immediately prior to the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack, asserting that President Obama has “embraced” Islam, and suggesting borders should be closed to Muslim immigrants.
Investigations into the New Jersey and New York explosions are ongoing.
[Featured Image by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]