Special to Foreign Policy

As the Republican candidates for president take the debate stage in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, the race has oddly enough turned into a referendum on the roughly 3 million Muslims in the United States — and on the 1.6 billion outside its borders.

Evidence that the couple behind the San Bernardino terrorist killings were Islamic extremists, with or without ties to organized groups, has turned the views of America held by Muslims outside the United States into a contentious topic of public debate. Donald Trump has proposed barring Muslims from entering the United States, in part because of their alleged anti-American sentiments. A majority of Americans oppose such a move, according to both the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey and the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. But in the Washington Post/ABC survey, a majority of GOP voters supports the idea. So, as the campaign season intensifies, more is likely to be heard about Muslim views of America in the weeks ahead.

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