DENVER – A Colorado congressman told a radio show host that the U.S. could "take out" Islamic holy sites if Muslim fundamentalist terrorists attacked the country with nuclear weapons.
Rep. Tom Tancredo (search) made his remarks Friday on WFLA-AM in Orlando, Fla. His spokesman stressed he was only speaking hypothetically.
Talk show host Pat Campbell (search) asked the Littleton Republican how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.
"Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.
"You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said.
"Yeah," Tancredo responded.
The congressman later said he was "just throwing out some ideas" and that an "ultimate threat" might have to be met with an "ultimate response."
Spokesman Will Adams said Sunday the four-term congressman doesn't support threatening holy Islamic sites but that Tancredo was grappling with the hypothetical situation of a terrorist strike deadlier than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"We have an enemy with no uniform, no state, who looks like you and me and only emerges right before an attack. How do we go after someone like that?" Adams said.
"What is near and dear to them? They're willing to sacrifice everything in this world for the next one. What is the pressure point that would deter them from their murderous impulses?" he said.
Tancredo is known in the House for his tough stand on immigration and had a 100 percent rating last year from the American Conservative Union (search) his votes and positions on issues.
Mohammad Noorzai, coordinator of the Colorado Muslim Council (search) and a native of Afghanistan, said Tancredo's remarks were radical and unrepresentative but that people in Tancredo's position need to watch their words when it comes to sacred religious sites and texts.