Muslim leaders push back against Trump for incendiary speech in wake of massacre

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Source: Washington Post

The Council on American-Islamic Relations had planned to hold a news conference Tuesday unveiling a report on Islamophobia, including the rise of “Muslim-free” businesses, anti-Muslim rallies by armed protesters, direct attacks on Muslims and the vandalism of mosques.

Then Orlando happened — an American Muslim slaughtered 49 people in a gay nightclub. CAIR officials realized they needed to hold off on their report and postpone the news conference, in part because the country should be focusing on homophobia and not Islamophobia.

But then came Donald Trump. In an incendiary speech Monday in New Hampshire, Trump described American Muslims in sweeping, harsh terms, depicting them as a kind of enemy within, prone to radical ideology and guilty of harboring terrorists.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said the terrorist attack in Orlando would never have happened if the gunman’s parents had not been allowed to emigrate from Afghanistan: “The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here.”

Trump’s speech had a recurring theme: The enemy is already inside the gates, and current U.S. leaders are too fixated on political correctness to do anything about it, or don’t really want to stop it, and can’t even say the words “radical Islam.” Syrian refugees, allegedly fleeing war, may be terrorists in disguise — “a better, bigger, more horrible version than the legendary Trojan horse ever was,” Trump said.

Obama: What would saying ‘radical Islam’ accomplish?

Play Video5:09
After a meeting with his national security team in the wake of the Orlando shooting, President Obama addressed criticism that he has not used the term “radical Islam” when referring to the shooting. He called the criticism a “political distraction” and said, “calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away.” (Reuters)

CAIR officials and other American Muslim leaders were beside themselves Tuesday.

“It’s an effort to demonize, stigmatize a particular minority faith that’s already under siege to gain some political advantage over his opponent. It’s really despicable,” said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

Corey Saylor, another CAIR spokesman, said Trump is spreading false information when he says Muslims don’t report suspicious people in their midst. Saylor said he personally gave the FBI the identity of someone who possibly had become radicalized and that the person was later arrested.

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