Every four years, American democracy plays out on a grand scale when people from all walks of life come together to elect our next president. Many candidates – recognizing that we are stronger together – inspire Americans to join together to move our nation forward.
Sadly, on occasion, there are those who seek to divide us. That’s the type of ugly rhetoric that we heard yesterday from Donald Trump who suggested that he was willing to look at getting rid of Muslims.
We have been here before. In 2008, when a rumor campaign suggested that then-Senator Barack Obama was Muslim, people of good conscience stood up – including candidate John McCain and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
In fact, Secretary Powell poignantly asked, “Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” Answering his own question, he said, “The answer is ‘No. That’s not America.”
He went on to talk about Karim Rashad Sultan Khan, an American born in New Jersey who served his country in Iraq and gave his life. There are countless stories of American Muslims who are working to make America great – and whose contributions Donald Trump denigrates.
Anti-Muslim rhetoric isn’t just ugly, it’s dangerous. It is almost always followed by an uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes and violence.
We urge all candidates for public office – including those running for president in both parties – to reject anti-Muslim bigotry – or any rhetoric that seeks to divide Americans based on how we look or how we pray.
We ask Donald Trump to clarify his position regarding American Muslims and whether he believes the country needs to “get rid of” Muslims.