The former speaker of the US House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, has called for the screening and deportation of Muslims who practice Sharia (Islamic law), following the terrorist attack in Nice, France.
"Let me be as blunt and direct as I can be. Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported," Gingrich said in an interview with the Fox News network on Thursday.
The former speaker of the House made the remarks after at least 84 people lost their lives and over 200 others sustained injuries when a truck loaded with guns and grenades rammed into a crowd of people celebrating the French National Day, commonly known as Bastille Day, in the southern French city of Nice on Thursday night.
"Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization,” Gingrich said.
“Let me be very clear, you have to monitor the mosques. I mean, if you're not prepared to monitor the mosques, this whole thing is a joke,” he added.
“Where do you think the primary source of recruitment is? Where do you think the primary place of indoctrination is? You've got to look at the madrasas (religious schools), if you're a school which is teaching Sharia, you want to expel it from the country," Gingrich continued.
He also said the deadly attack in Nice was the “fault of Western elites who lack the guts to do what is right, to do what is necessary,” adding that, "We better rethink the rules, or we’re going to lose the war.”
Gingrich’s comments on Muslims bears a striking resemblance to those made by presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who proposed last December a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the United States.
Trump urged the racial profiling of Muslims inside America to combat terrorism, following a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, which was inspired by the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.
The New York mogul has also called for a database to track Muslims across the United States and said that the US would have "absolutely no choice" but to close down mosques.
Trump’s proposals have been harshly condemned by Muslim and human rights groups as well as his Democratic presidential rivals. Many of his opponents describe his incendiary rhetoric as divisive, counterproductive and contrary to American values.
In comments made last month, US President Barack Obama denounced the real estate mogul's rhetoric as "xenophobic” and “cynical”.