U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” immigrants and visitors alike, because of what he describes as hatred among “large segments of the Muslim population” toward Americans. The Associated Press is asking Muslims around the world for their thoughts on his proposal:
AYA, a 22-year-old college graduate in Cairo who declined to give her full name for fear of alienating her family:
“I was born to Muslim parents and wore the veil at a young age. Now I am an atheist, but I can’t tell anyone or take it off because they will probably kill me. My question to Donald Trump is: How do you know the Muslim you are banning is actually Muslim? Don’t you think an extremist can fake denounce Islam and enter as a Christian or an atheist and still blow up your country? This is not how you fight terrorism; this is how you fan it.”
BASSEM YOUSSEF, former talk show host known as the Jon Stewart of the Middle East:
(On Twitter) “I didn’t know Donald Trump was fluent in Nazi.”
TAREQ, 22-year-old college student in Cairo
“I don’t pray. I drink. I try to sleep around. All my friends do. I am about as Muslim as (Trump) is. Ban Muslims? Does he have any idea how many Muslims are just Muslims on paper?”
YARA FARIS, 23-year-old journalist in the West Bank. She hopes to study international journalism at Columbia University:
“The U.S. will always be the best place to study, and I don’t think the U.S. would deny Muslims entry just because they are Muslims.”
“I see Trump as a crazy man. He always gives crazy statements and recently I read a report that shows that 60 percent of Trump’s statements were based on wrong information.”
USAMA SALLAH, prominent Palestinian businessman in Jerusalem who lived in the U.S. for 14 years
“I think that these statements are a shame. This is not the United States that I knew, and I’m sure that the majority of the Americans don’t agree with it because it doesn’t represent American values.”
“I will continue to visit the United States whenever possible because I know that America is a great country in which there is no place for such racist opinions. And for those who agree with him, I ask: How would you feel if Arab and Muslim countries decided to ban Americans from entering them?”
AHMED JALAJEL, Palestinian journalist in east Jerusalem who visited the U.S. last year as part of a State Department-sponsored program:
“I’m sure that what I heard from Trump doesn’t represent the United States. In America, I have seen a democratic country, nice people who love life, a great country that is ready to receive people from all over the world and a country of great values that Trump certainly doesn’t represent.”
“As a Muslim, I don’t think that Trump represents the United States; he only represents himself.”
SAM BAHOUR, a Palestinian-American business consultant who moved from Youngstown, Ohio, to Ramallah, West Bank, in the 1990s, called the comments “disgraceful” and “absurd.”
“The backlash is going to be against Muslims. The Muslim community understands the inherent racism in some pockets of U.S. political life.”
“This makes the melting pot not melt at the end of the day.”
Bahour said relatives in the U.S. have been telling him “how they are hearing comments in the street, supermarkets, really racist comments. It’s not going to be the same being a Muslim in America, even once this passes.”
AZIZA YOUSEF, a computer science professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:
“He’s racist… I think Trump is representing himself. I don’t think he represents Americans.”
“Why is it that when there are crazy people who happen to be Muslim, they blame all Muslims? I will not be responsible for someone who commits a crime who happens to be a Muslim. I will not defend myself or defend Islam because a guy or person who happens to be Muslim did something stupid.”
Yousef is traveling to her vacation home in Virginia this weekend with her children and grandchildren as she does every year.
“I spend a lot of money there three to four months out of the year. Muslim tourists and those that live there as students help the economy of the United States.”
SOMCHAI JEWANGMA, an officer with Thailand’s Sheikhul Islam Office, which governs the country’s Muslims:
“I don’t think that can ever be done. The United States has economic ties with Islamic countries and there are millions of Muslim people in America. This is just a policy to please those who don’t like Muslims and to gain more support.”
“It’s true that there are Muslim extremists, those who don’t have good intentions for Islam. But there are 1.7 billion Muslim people in the world. If we were all bad, then the world would be uninhabitable.”
Somchai also said entry rules already have become stricter: “When I applied for a U.S. visa, I was inspected for months.”
AZRA KHAN, president of the Canberra Islamic Center in Australia, said Trump’s proposal is the wrong way to address last week’s attack in San Bernardino, California, in which a Muslim couple killed 14 people:
“Clearly Donald Trump is trying to inflame the situation. Clearly this tragedy is not about Muslims.”
“He could better improve the situation if he were to say, ‘Let the U.S. take guns more seriously and ban them.’ That one simple solution would be much more suitable and make the streets of America far safer.”
NUR JAZLAN MOHAMAD, Malaysian deputy home minister, said the proposal is not aligned with America’s image as tolerant and democratic, and could play into the Islamic State group’s hands by alienating Muslims who are already in the U.S.”
“His proposal reflects the thinking of many people in America, and this is worrying.”
KEYSAR TRAD, the chairman of the Sydney-based Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, said Trump’s statement reflected political desperation.
“Donald Trump’s statement is a desperate statement by a desperate man who knows that he’s clutching at straws and has no chance of winning the election. So he’s trying to win it off the back of the Islamophobia industry.”
AMIDAN SHABERAH, the chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, an influential clerics’ organization, said Trump’s comments were a “big, big mistake.”
“He should not turn a blind eye to the fact that most of Muslims in the world strongly condemned any kind of extremism and radicalism in the name of Islam and our hearts and prayers go out to all victims of terrorism regardless of their faith.”
“Trump’s statement clearly shows us that Western society has a phobia against Islam, that people cannot distinguish between Islam and terrorist acts that rejected by mainstream Muslims.”
IKEBAL PATEL, former president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils:
“He’s trying to alienate not only the Muslim population of the United States but all the Muslims around the world.
“Nobody in their right mind would in any way condone what has just happened with those two individuals in that town, but to condemn in one fell swoop all the Muslims and to try to suggest that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in America is quite ridiculous.”
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