Rep. Loretta Sanchez stands by statement that up to 20 percent of Muslims want an Islamic caliphate
California's Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who is also running for the United States Senate, is standing by her statement that between 5 and 20 percent of the world's Muslims want to form an Islamic caliphate, Capital Public Radio reports.
"My comments were that some people have said to me — and it's true, some people have said to me — that between 5 and 20 percent of Muslims in the world want a caliphate. Nobody has been able to refute those numbers," Sanchez told Capital Public Radio.
Sanchez made her original comments on Larry King's talk show "PoliticKing" last month when speaking about President Barack Obama's approach to terrorism in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings.
"Certainly, we know that there is a small group, and we don't know how big that is — it can be anywhere between 5 and 20 percent, from the people that I speak to — that Islam is their religion, and who have a desire for a caliphate, and to institute that in any way possible, and in particular, go after what they consider Western norms — our way of life," Sanchez said at the time.
A caliphate is a form of Islamic government headed by a political and religious leader who is a successor to the Prophet Muhammad.
Shortly after her initial comment, liberal activist group the Courage Campaign called at the time for her to resign. The California Immigrant Policy Center demanded an apology.
Sanchez didn't retract her statement, but said that she strongly supported the Muslim community and that the "overwhelming majority of Muslim" don't support terrorism or ISIS.
Watch Sanchez's original "Politicking" interview here:
This story has been updated.