A former law enforcement official, who rose to fame by making controversial statements and ended up becoming a U.S. representative for Louisiana, has come under fire for inciting people to kill suspected Islam radicals.
Rep. Clay Higgins, a Republican politician notorious for his “tough guy persona,” seemingly called for Americans to identify and hunt down “radicalized Islamic suspect” a day after three attackers plowed a vehicle into the pedestrians on the London Bridge and then went on a stabbing spree in nearby Borough Market, killing seven and injuring at least 48 people.
“The free world... all of Christendom... is at war with Islamic horror,” Higgins wrote on his Facebook page. “Not one penny of American treasure should be granted to any nation who harbors these heathen animals. Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. Their intended entry to the American homeland should be summarily denied. Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identity them and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”
He also included a photo of a suspect shot by London police following the deadly attacks.
At a time when emotions are running high and Muslims across the globe, not just in the United Kingdom but also in the United States and rest of the Europe, are being demonized and harassed for the actions of a few extremists, Higgins’ comments about “all of Christendom” being “at war with Islamic horror” could be truly damaging.
In his controversial post, Higgins also failed to mention how one should go about identifying radicals and then kill them — which would be a murder and hence illegal.
A number of social media users condemned the incendiary Facebook post.
“Wow, you are no better than a terrorist. I'm more afraid of people like you than a refugee who was vetted for 2 years by 7 Intel agencies. I think we need better vetting for our representatives. You are an unhinged lunatic and playing right into what ISIS wants,” wrote an online user named Misty Johnson.
“This is a disgusting, ill-informed, violent post that goes against both American values and everything Jesus stood for. This is how events like the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and the Civil War came to be- by vilifying an entire people group and empowering others to kill them. Should we kill all Christians because of the KKK? This is irresponsible but unsurprising coming from a man who used to abuse his wife and refused to pay child support,” commented another Facebook user, Meghan Matt. “You are an embarrassment to our state in every way.”
A spokesperson for Higgins’ campaign later told the Time that Higgins was referring specifically to terrorists.
“Rep. Higgins is referring to terrorists,” read the statement. “He's advocating for hunting down and killing all of the terrorists. This is an idea all of America and Britain should be united behind.”
Speaking later to The Washington Post, Higgins maintained his post wasn’t controversial and expressed surprise that some interpreted his message as hateful or violent, asserting he was calling for the death of “Islamic terrorists” instead of “peaceful Muslims.”