Comments about Middle Eastern people were meant to refer to terrorists, Republican Congressional candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer says.
Saucedo Mercer posted several new comments on Facebook Monday defending her position.
In the original comments, made a year ago and brought to light by her opponent Rep. Raúl Grijalva last week, Saucedo Mercer said Middle Eastern immigrants' "only goal in life is to cause harm to the United States" and that Middle Eastern immigrants, legal or not, are not wanted in the U.S.
Grijalva called the comments hate speech, and the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee have asked for an apology.
The comments are sure to come up again and again this election season.
Saucedo Mercer, who is herself a legal immigrant from Mexico, said on Facebook Monday:
"My intention was not to demonize anybody. I stated to the LIBERAL MEDIA that want to keep fueling the fire on this matter that I was referring to TERRORIST from the Middle East that come to our country through Mexico to do us harm. Nobody seems to be paying attention to the Radical Islamist/Muslims who's only goal is to follow their religion to the full extent of their teachings." [sic]
In more posts, she describes the agenda and credo of the Muslim Brotherhood — a group that is not officially recognized by the U.S. as a terrorist group. She didn't mention that group or other terrorist groups in the original comments.
She also posted on Facebook:
"I want to encourage 'Westerners,' the whole melting pot that makes this great country to educate yourself on Radical Islamist. ACT For America is a great tool where you can learn a lot and then make up your mind." [sic]
ACT! For America is a group that criticizes Islam.
"Get educated that's all I have to say!" Saucedo Mercer wrote in another post. "How is educating people about things they have no clue about is divisive? Who besides the radical Islamist/Muslims are persecuting Christians around the world? ... It is not Patriots who love freedom of religion who are waging war against anybody else but terrorists of the Muslim faith."
She then posted without comment a link to an article titled "Islamic Inventions? How Islamic Inventors Did Not Change The World," which criticizes a 2006 article on that topic.
Stay tuned to the Pueblo Politics blog throughout 2012 for news, updates and information about Arizona politics. You can follow Arizona Daily Star reporters Brady McCombs, Becky Pallack and Tim Steller on Twitter.