Obama Slams Suggested Religious Test for Syrian Refugees as 'Shameful'

Paris attacks prompt calls for denying U.S. entry to Muslim Syrians.

ByABC News
November 16, 2015, 11:31 AM

— -- President Obama today condemned those who have called for denying Syrian refugees entry to the United States because of the deadly attacks in Paris Friday.

"That's shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are," Obama said to reporters at the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey.

Obama, in particular, also targeted remarks from some Republicans in the wake of the attacks who have suggested screening refugees seeking entry into the United States to make sure they are Christians and not Muslims.

GOP presidential candidates like former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz have suggested halting the admission of Muslim Syrians during the screening process for asylum in the United States.

The governors of Michigan, Alabama and Texas have also become the first governors in the country to refuse to take in any Syrian refugees after last week's attacks.

Obama stands opposed.

"We don’t have religious tests to our compassion," Obama said. "We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism."

ABC News reported Sunday that at least one of the attackers in Paris hid himself among refugees on a Greece-bound boat from Syria in early-October.

French President Francois Hollande said today the Paris attacks were planned in Syria and organized in Belgium.

But Obama argued that by dismissing all those who seek refuge as terrorists, it would feed into the goals of jihadists who want to frame the war against terrorism as a war against Islam.

"I have a lot of disagreements with George W. Bush on policy, but I was very proud after 9/11 when he was adamant and clear that this was not a war on Islam," Obama said. "The notion that some of those who have taken on leadership of his party would ignore all of that; that’s not who we are."