Tuesday, October 25, 2016

American Muslims say Trump has made it harder for them; hate being preached in rural areas

Former FBI agent John Guandolo giving an
anti-Muslim speech Oct. 17 in rural Warroad, Minn.
(MPR News photo by Monika Lawrence)
Is Donald Trump spreading an anti-Muslim message that is fostering hate and racism in rural America? Some American Muslims say the presidential race has been worse for them than after 9/11, because unlike in 2001, there is now a "ring leader" championing mainstream hate, as a Somali refugee in Minnesota told M.J. Lee of CNN.

"Trump has run a hard-line, anti-immigration campaign built on promises to erect a wall and deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Last December, he announced a proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country," Lee reports after interviewing 40 Muslims around the nation. "Perhaps most disturbing about this election, many said, is the perception that Trump has helped to normalize animosity toward and suspicion of Muslims in the U.S. . . . He has suggested that profiling would be an effective strategy to prevent terrorism." Lee's story has no response from the Trump campaign.

Anti-Muslim campaigns have become common place in rural Minnesota, John Enger reports for Minnesota Public Radio. "North and central Minnesota have become fertile ground for traveling speakers who have built national careers spreading alarm about the danger they say Islam poses inside U.S. borders. At dozens of rural churches and schools, speakers have warned crowds about refugees and called on them to be prepared to oppose Muslims in Minnesota. This comes at a time of mounting political tension over immigration ahead of the contentious presidential election."

Former FBI agent John Guandolo, who travels the country giving anti-Muslim speeches, told a crowd in Warroad, Minn., "Are you prepared? Are you prepared for the two or three dozen jihadis in, pick a city in Minnesota, with mortars or shoulder-fired rockets? You don't think they can get those in the United States?" Another featured speaker in rural Minnesota, Usama Dakdok, also travels the country preaching against Islam, including claims that it's a cult, not a religion, Enger writes.

Mike Buffington, who owns several rural newspapers in Georgia, shared an exchange he had on Facebook with a local community member and Trump supporter who compared Muslims to rats that need to be exterminated. The poster wrote: “I have first hand dealings with muslins [sic] and can tell you what they think and how they will act when they reach a critical mass. You were raised in a rural county, but not in the country. If you ever heard of having a rat killing??? Well when rats are in numbers to be a problem you have to go out and get rid of all of them, that includes males females and all little rats, because we all know a little rats grows up to be a big rat and then the problem starts again.” Buffington wrote, "Vile. Disgusting. Deplorable.I will only identify this man as 'LP' here. He’s known in the community, a former military man and a self-proclaimed Christian. And yet he openly calls for murdering men, women and children who have done nothing wrong simply because they have different religious beliefs than he does. . . . It’s time for civilized Americans to speak out against people like LP whose soul has gotten lost in the flood of hatred that is washing over our political landscape. Silence is acquiescence. "

Anti-Muslim groups have called for stricter border security and have protested Muslim burial grounds and a proposed mosque, calling Muslims terrorists and rapists. A recent study also found that Americans, on average, think Muslims make up 15 percent of population. The actual figure is 1 percent.

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