Dem Senate hopeful: Up to 20 percent of Muslims want caliphate

Rep. Loretta SanchezLoretta L. SanchezIn her three elections, Kamala Harris has learned to adapt — and win Kamala Harris is Donald Trump's worst nightmare Disputed North Carolina race raises prospect of congressional probe MORE, a Democratic candidate running for the open Senate seat in California, suggested this week that up to 20 percent of Muslims want a caliphate in the Middle East and are willing to "use terrorism."

"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 [say] Islam is their religion and who have a desire for a caliphate and to institute that in anyway possible and in particular go after what they consider Western norms, our way of life,” Sanchez said Wednesday on “PoliticKING with Larry King.”

“They are not content enough to have their way of looking at the world, they want to put their way on everybody in the world,” Sanchez continued. “And again, I don’t know how big that is, and depending on who you talk to, but ... they are willing to go to extremes. They are willing to use and they do use terrorism.”

"It is in the name of a very wrong way of looking at Islam," she added in the interview, which was highlighted Thursday by BuzzFeed

She was discussing President Obama's Oval Office speech Sunday night about the U.S. strategy to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has pushed for a caliphate in the Middle East.
A spokeswoman said that there are a range of estimates for the number of Muslims who allegedly support the idea of a caliphate, and noted that Sanchez repeatedly indicated in the interview that the exact figure is unknown.
“I strongly support the Muslim community in America and believe that the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not support terrorism or ISIS," Sanchez said in a statement shared with The Hill. 
"We must enlist the voices of the Muslim community in our fight against ISIS instead of alienating them through fear-mongering and discrimination," she added.
Sanchez is running against California Attorney General Kamala Harris for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Harris has been the longtime front-runner in the race.
Sanchez, who sits on the House Homeland Security and Armed Services committees, has seen attention for some of her previous comments. She apologized earlier this year for using a Native American remark and gesture.
Her latest comments come amid a heightened focus on terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks last month and the mass shooting last week in San Bernardino, Calif.