Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros warned in a Monday op-ed that Republican presidential candidates were following a belief that endangers “open society” with how they frame the fight against the Islamic State terror group.
Writing in The Guardian, Soros singled out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and real-estate mogul Donald Trump, a fellow billionaire. Trump and Cruz are the leading two candidates in nationwide polls of the GOP primary.
“Abandoning the values and principles underlying open societies and giving in to an anti-Muslim impulse dictated by fear certainly is not the answer, though it may be difficult to resist the temptation,” Soros wrote. “I experienced this personally when I watched the last Republican presidential debate; I could stop myself only by remembering that it must be irrational to follow the wishes of your enemies.”
Soros, a Democratic mega-donor, accused Republicans of discussing the terrorism issue as a broader war against Islam. Much of the GOP field, including Trump and Cruz, has chided President Barack Obama for not using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Additionally, all of the Republican contenders have called on the US to temporarily halt its acceptance of Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war there. The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has seized swathes of territory in Syria, and Republicans argue that the terrorists may be able to slip in among the refugees. Trump even warned that the refugees could be a “Trojan horse” capable of instigating “one of the greatest coups of all time.”
Soros suggested such statements stir anti-Western resentment among Muslims, which he said helps radicalize those living in the US and elsewhere.
“The hysterical anti-Muslim reaction to terrorism is generating fear and resentment among Muslims living in Europe and America,” he wrote. “The older generation reacts with fear, the younger one with resentment; the result is a breeding ground for potential terrorists. This is a mutually reinforcing, reflexive process.”
The high-profile investor concluded:
Of course, the outlook for Syria remains highly uncertain, and the conflict there cannot be understood or tackled in isolation. But one idea shines through crystal clear: it is an egregious mistake to do what the terrorists want us to do. That is why, as 2016 gets underway, we must reaffirm our commitment to the principles of open society and resist the siren song of the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, however hard that may be.
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