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Amid call for religious freedom, Values Voter speakers slam Islam

Despite repeatedly calling for more religious freedom, many of the speakers at Voter Values slammed Islam for housing or encouraging terrorism. 
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington, on Sept. 26, 2014.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington, on Sept. 26, 2014.

WASHINGTON—Despite repeatedly calling for more religious freedom and faith-based values in government, speakers at the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. on Friday routinely slammed Islam for housing and encouraging terrorism. 

Retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann argued that Islam is at the root of ISIS, also know as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the extremist group the U.S. is trying to decimate with airstrikes. 

“We have jihadists who are subscribing to this radical ideology that dying in the name of Islam gets them to heaven. This is spiritual warfare. What we need to do is defeat Islamic jihads. The president says that’s the wrong prescription. He even fails to acknowledge their motivation for bringing out about jihad,” she said. to cheers “Yes, Mr. President, it is about Islam!”

President Obama has called on Muslims to reject extremism and fight against groups like ISIS in speeches earlier this year.

"ISIL is not Islamic," he said in a Sept. 10 address to the nation, referring to ISIS by an alternate name. "No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim ... ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple."

Bachmann also criticized Obama's strategy as inadequate. She called on the U.S. to “kill their leader, you kill their counsel, kill their army until they wave the white flag of surrender!”

The Minnesota lawmaker wasn’t the first one to suggest that Islam fosters terrorism, either.

Earlier on Friday, Major. Gen. Robert Dees argued that there are American cities that are “all Islamic sanctuaries in the United States within which there are fundamentalist sleeper cells.”

Dees named Nashville, Tennessee, Lackawanna, New York, Greenville, North Carolina and Dearborn, Michigan as these strongholds. "The enemy is within," he warned.

Texas’s Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst slammed the border crisis--the stream of young, Central American residents streaming across the border fleeing violent home countries--by warning of “prayer rugs” being found in Texas near the border, as if to suggest that all Muslims pose a threat.

"Prayer rugs have recently been found on the Texas side of the border in the brush," he said, news that appears to track down a report that a prayer rug was found, though others have identified this as an Adidas shirt.

Conservative activist Gary Bauer attacked the president for not being hostile enough to Islam on Friday afternoon.

"We've got a president more interesting in defending the reputation of Islam than he does saving the lives of Christians," Bauer said.

He listed stories of alleged Christian prosecution, citing one particular story of three nuns who were killed in a Burundi convent—two by decapitation—and raped. Police have said it appeared to be a botched robbery by a mentally unbalanced attacker.  

"I know it couldn't have anything to do with Islam because the president told me," he said sarcastically, to laughs.