Speaking at her first press event since being roundly criticized by activists last week, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Orange, on Monday defended earlier comments that between "5 and 20 percent" of Muslims support terrorism. She added that the problem of terrorism has to be accurately acknowledged before it can be addressed.
Muslim and immigrant-rights groups attacked the initial statement as inaccurate and promoting a false stereotype. Sanchez, a candidate for U.S. Senate and a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, responded Monday she is a friend of the mainstream Muslim community and understood the negative reaction.
"I think they ranted because, honestly, they're under attack," Sanchez said. "They've seen the burning of a mosque or they're afraid right now because of people who are in politics who have gone after them as the scapegoat for all of the wrong things that are going on.