Bobby Jindal responds to criticism from Muslim activists

Louisiana governor: Immigrants 'assimilate or integrate'


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," March 18, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, ANCHOR: Also developing tonight, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is taking fire from some major Muslim groups after he suggested a ban on those who might promote radical Islam.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, R - LA: We do insist that folks should not come into our country and use the freedoms we give them to undermine the freedoms we grant to everybody. So in other words we shouldn't tolerate those who want to come and try to impose some variant or some version of Sharia law.


KELLY: Then came the backlash. First, the Muslim Public Affairs Council said what he is doing is fear mongering. This is another one of those issues where he is using fear to garner votes. Then a statement from CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who wrote "Governor Jindal's anti-Muslim diatribes are a desperate attempt to pander to society's margins as he hopes to regain the GOP spotlight and crawl away from being nearly dead last in the U.S. presidential polls." Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is here. Governor, thank you for being here. Your response to those reactions.

JINDAL: Well, Megyn, thank you for having me. Look, America's built on religious liberty. We don't discriminate against anybody of any religion and certainly there are many Muslims who are proud patriotic Americans. That's great. But, Megyn, it's also true there are radical Muslims, there are Muslims that want to treat women as second class citizens. There are those who want to use our freedoms to undermine the freedoms of others. It makes no sense to let those types of folks come into our country. It is just common sense. The question I was specifically asked, for example, was would I be for allowing members of ISIS to come to America? Why would I want to allow people who want to kill Americans to come to America.


KELLY: Members of ISIS may be a different story. Those are identified terrorists, you know who are killing us and our allies. But just to say that if you are a radical Islamist or more specifically if you are -- if you believe in Sharia law, then you won't be allowed into the United States is controversial. Who decides how far into Sharia law you have to be? Who decides who's a radical Islamist and who's just an Islamist?

JINDAL: Well, Megyn, here's the line. In America, we say you have the right to believe what you want as long as you're not harming others. So as long as you're not trying to limit the freedoms of other people, we believe in the right of freedom of self-expression, religious liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of association. You don't have the right to come here and say for example that you think women should be treated as second class citizens. You don't have the right to say others don't have the same freedoms we give to you.


KELLY: Why don't you have that right? Why not? This is a country with lots of crazy beliefs. And actually some religions continue to treat women as second class citizens. And it's not just some forms of Islam. Are we going to start banning everybody who doesn't treat women, or children, or criminals for that matter the way we like?

JINDAL: Well, Megyn, we're talking about who do we let into our society, into our country. If you want to see where this is happening, look to Europe. We shouldn't be blindly following Europe where you have second and third generation immigrants that don't assimilate, don't integrate, don't consider themselves parts of that society. In America, we want people who want to be Americans. We want people to come here. We don't say you have to adopt our creed or any particular creed. But we do say if you come here, you need to believe in American exceptionalism. I believe you need to learn English.


KELLY: How are we going to enforce that? This is a country where we believe in free speech, freedom of ideas. And people are allowed to believe anything they want even if it's nuts.

JINDAL: Well, no but Megyn, in immigration, we have historically said immigration can make our country stronger. We've historically said you can't come here in years past during the Cold war, if you were coming here to promote communism, if you were coming here to undermine America's foreign policy, if you were supporting a group that's an enemy of the United States. There's nothing with saying we want our immigrants stronger not weaker, we don't want people that are going to come here dedicated Islamic, radical Islamic terrorism, or radical Islam. We don't want people who are going to undermine freedoms of other people. If we don't insist on that, we're going to go the way of Europe. I think that's a dangerous thing. Again, we believe in religious liberty, but that doesn't mean you can use your freedoms to undermine the freedoms of other people. Now, the specific question I was asked, what I responded to was do I think it's OK to allow members of ISIS and certain members of Muslim Brotherhood to come into America. I think a smart immigration policy leads to a stronger country.

KELLY: As a matter of fact, the audience should know that has been controversial. Believe it or not, we are allowing people who have fought with ISIS to come back into the country, to the point where there's a bill in Congress trying to stop that. Governor, good to see you.

JINDAL: Megyn, thank you for having me.

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