WATCH: Bernie Sanders Pledges to Muslim Student That He'll Fight Islamophobia
On Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders held a national town hall with students at George Mason University where he, among other things, pledged to remove the federal prohibition against the use of marijuana.
At one point, a Muslim student asked Sanders about the bigotry being expressed all over the country against Muslim Americans. Sanders embraced the student and brought her up on the stage. He commented about his own religious background and compared anti-Semitism to Islamophobia:
SANDERS: Let me be very personal here if I may. I'm Jewish. My father's family died in the concentration camps. I will do everything that I can to rid this country of the ugly stain of racism which has existed for far too many years. And let me tell you something. What racism is about is many many things. It is pent-up hatred, it is lashing out at people in uncontrollable ways, but it is something very different than that. For many years in this country you have had politicians, and I'm old enough to know this, who played black off against white. So they told white workers who are earning pennies an hour, you think you're in trouble but you're better off than the blacks who can't drink at a water fountain or go to your school. And they told straight people, well you think you've got problems, but you're off than those gay people right? And they held men against women. They played one group off against another. Rich got richer and everybody else is fighting with each other.
Our job is to build a nation in which we all stand together as one people. And you are right, there is a lot of anger being generated, a lot of hatred being generated against Muslims in this country, that's absolutely correct. There is hatred being generated against immigrants in this country. And if you stand for anything we have got to stand together and end all forms of racism, and I will lead that effort as president of the United States.