Republican Muslim Leader Asks Donald Trump To Attend Worship Service With Her

by JACK JENKINS –

saba ahmed

The head of the Republican Muslim Coalition (RMC) is challenging GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to attend a prayer service with her at mosque, saying his recent comments about Islam and his call to end Muslim immigration “reflect[s] a lack of familiarity with the Islamic faith.”

On Friday, RMC President Saba Ahmed sent a letter to Trump’s campaign in which she praised Trump’s “support of entrepreneurship and your long record of job creation,” but questioned his skeptical policy positions regarding Islam, such as “banning Muslim immigration, scrutinizing refugees to the United States as well as your comments suggesting that some mosques in our country might need to be closed.”

Ahmed explained that she would like to “correct” Trump’s misunderstanding of Islam by inviting him to attend a worship service with her and other Muslim leaders at a local mosque.

“Mr. Trump, we would like to invite you to join us at an Islamic prayer service at a location of your choosing in the upcoming few months,” the letter reads. “Our services are held every Friday of every month at more than 2,200 mosques across the United States. I could also arrange for you to speak at one, if this is of interest in a key electoral state.”

“Your recent comments have been a topic of serious discussion among Muslim voters, and I know Muslim-American leaders would be thrilled to have you change your views on Islam and vote for you,” Ahmed added.

The offer reflects an awkward irony surrounding the Republicans party’s increasingly antagonistic stance towards Islam — namely, that many Muslim Americans lean conservative on most issues, and used to vote Republican. In the 2000 presidential election, 78 percent of Muslims voted for the GOP, largely because they resonated with the kind of conservative family values voiced by then-GOP candidate George W. Bush.

Bush also was quick to voice appreciation for the American Muslim community just days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, when he visited a Washington mosque and declared, “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.”

Ahmed referenced these points of agreement between the GOP and Muslim Americans in her letter to Trump. “As I’m sure you’ve found in your business dealings with Muslims, here in America and around the world, they are hard-working capitalists whose faith is perfectly compatible with democratic values,” she wrote.

Despite this history of overlap, recent elections have seen a marked shift in how many Republican candidates talk about Islam.

Just this year, the broad slate of GOP presidential hopefuls have regularly used Islamophobic rhetoric as a political talking point: Ben Carson said he could not support a Muslim president, Rick Santorum claimed that Muslims are uniquely violent, Scott Walker said that only a “handful” of Muslims are “moderate,” Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz advocated for only allowing Christian refugees into the country, and Donald Trump — in addition to barring Muslims from the country — entertained proposals to force Muslims to enter their names into a national database.

Meanwhile, everyday Muslim Americans continue to endure an unprecedented wave of Islamophobia that includes shootings, personal assaults, harassment, protests, and attacks on their houses of worship. When armed protestors gathered outside a mosque in Irving, Texas in November, one of them held aloft signs supporting Ted Cruz’s campaign.

 

Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress