Republican presidential contender Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Monday that the "only lasting peace" in the Middle East will come through putting "Muslim boots on the ground."
During a phone interview on The Glenn Beck Radio Program, Paul contended that native Muslims and Arabs — not Americans — on the ground are the only ones who can effectively defeat the Islamic State.
"I would acknowledge that the only lasting peace, the only lasting victory is going to to come from Muslim boots on the ground. Arab boots on the ground are going to have to defeat ISIS," Paul said.
The senator went on to say that, if U.S. or European forces were to engage in ground combat, they will be marked as "infidels" and "crusaders."
"It has to be Islam saying, 'This does not represent us,'" Paul remarked. "It can't be Americans saying, 'This doesn't represent Islam.' It has to be Muslims saying, 'This doesn't represent Islam.'"
The GOP hopeful also said that the U.S. should stop immigration from the Middle East "until we have a better handle on who is already here and whether the people here are obeying our laws." Additionally, he said, anyone traveling from Europe should be subject to background checks prior to entering the United States.
Paul's comments come the day after President Barack Obama delivered a speech from the Oval Office on terrorism and gun control. The president did not outline any new plans to address the growing threat of the Islamic State, though he did say the threat of terror is "real, but we will overcome it."
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