Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) moved to distance himself Tuesday from remarks he made to a local TV station in which he referred to Islam as a "savage religion."
Manzullo opposes the plan to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to the Thomson Correctional Center in his Congressional district. In an interview with WREX in Rockford that aired Monday, he said of the detainees, "These are really, really mean people whose job it is to kill people, driven by some savage religion."
In a statement, Manzullo said he was not calling all of Islam a "savage religion," but referring specifically to those who believe and practice a violent, anti-modernity version of Wahhabism in which they seek to impose a new caliphate, similar to the extent of the Ottoman Empire during the Middle Ages, and sharia law stretching from Indonesia to Europe."
Manzullo also apologized in the statement, excerpts of which were published in the Chicago Tribune:
"Nevertheless, I apologize for any misunderstanding of my comments and I will endeavor in the future to clarify my remarks to make it absolutely clear that America is not opposed to Islam, but that we are fighting terrorists who believe in a savage, perverted, and violent form of Islam."