ABC News' Huma Khan reports: Sharron Angle's campaign today attempted to downplay her comments last week suggesting that sharia law is taking hold in Dearborn, Michigan and Frankford, Texas.
"She was referencing some incidents reported in the press, but made it clear there was nothing widespread and that we have freedom of religion in this nation," Angle's communications director Jarrod Agen said in an e-mail to ABC News.
Speaking to a Tea Party rally Thursday, the Nevada Senate Republican candidate said the Islamic "militant terrorist situation" isn’t “a widespread thing, but it is enough that we need to address, and we have been addressing it."
Angle was responding to a question by an attendee expressing concern that Muslims want to take over the United States.
"My thoughts are these, first of all, Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas are on American soil, and under constitutional law. Not Sharia law,” Angle said. “And I don't know how that happened in the United States. It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States."
Agen said Angle wasn’t specifically attacking the Obama administration, but referring to press reports, although he did not specify which ones.
There’s no sharia law in Dearborn, and the city’s mayor Jack O’Reilly blasted Angle for suggesting that was the case.
"This is the most absurd, inane answer I've ever heard. And she was led by the questioner, but should have been mature enough to say I don't think that's happening," O’Reilly, who sent a letter to Angle inviting her to Dearborn, told ABC affiliate WXYZ. "Muslims have been in Dearborn, there has been a mosque in Dearborn for 90 years. So the notion that there's this new phenomenon and Muslims are taking over America is certainly not substantiated in this community. "
Frankford was annexed into Dallas in 1975.
Advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations called Angle’s comments “an example of incoherent bigotry.”
"It is pretty clear that she has something against Islam and Muslims but she is so incoherent you don't know what she stands for," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
Angle’s comments surfaced the day her campaign announced she raised a whopping $14.3 million in the third quarter, with donations from more than 194,000 individuals. The fundraising numbers far outweigh any other candidates' in this election cycle, even other Tea Party stars. Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, another Tea Party favorite who has attracted a lot of campaign cash, raised $5 million in the third quarter.
Even though Angle defeated the Republican establishment’s favorite in the primary, and often takes heat for her gaffes, the GOP is throwing its full weight behind her in what is a key race to overthrow the Senate majority leader. Angle campaign’s online fundraising goal for October is $2 million, and they have raised about $875,000 thus far.
Sen. Harry Reid’s campaign hasn’t yet released fundraising figures for the third quarter.
Polls show the two in a tight race, with some polls -- including one by CNN/Time, showing Angle at a slight advantage.