- “I’m a Muslim, and I know what he says about Muslims,” said Olaikhan. “I understand what he means. He’s talking about the terrorists or the extremists, of course.”
- Trump’s campaign proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. sparked distrust among the Muslim community and was partly responsible for the deep rift among Muslim-American voters.
Since President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, people have taken to social media with concerns and fears about the incoming administration. Riots, protests and the creation of safe spaces on college campuses have rose in the wake of an election that has left the country deeply divided.
But Ali Olaikhan, a Muslim-American, argues Trump’s comments were taken out of context.
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“I’m a Muslim, and I know what he says about Muslims,” said Olaikhan. “I understand what he means. He’s talking about the terrorists or the extremists, of course.”
Trump, a billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star, stunned the nation as he pulled off one of the biggest political upsets in history. Olaikhan said he was happy, but for the majority of registered Muslim voters, the election elicited a much different reaction.
“The first word I said when he won was ‘chaos,’” Abbas Abdul, a truck driver and former Department of Defense contractor, said. “I expected something to happen the next day.”
Both Abdul and Olaikhan were born in Iraq and worked as translators for the United States military forces in the early 2000s. They served in regions such as Ramadi and Mosul, some of the most violent places in the world — experiencing firsthand the devastating impact of terrorism.
Only 4 percent of registered Muslim voters planned to vote for Trump, whereas 72 percent planned to vote for Hillary Clinton, according to a survey by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Trump’s campaign proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. sparked distrust among the Muslim community and was partly responsible for the deep rift among Muslim-American voters, said Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
“I think that Muslims on both sides of the equation heard him say, ‘We are going to ban Muslims.’ Imagine if our Founding Fathers said, ‘We ban Christians who were against the Church of England,’” said Jasser. “That doesn’t make sense, because those are the Founding Fathers — it was a battle against theocracy. And I think many of the Muslims who were battling against theocracy sort of listened to that.”
However, some argued the attack Monday at Ohio State University, which left 11 people injured and was under investigation as an act of terror, supported Trump’s claims of the need for “extreme vetting” to prevent Islamic extremists from entering the country.
Olaikhan said he didn’t “blame Trump” for proposing the ban, and understood Trump’s motivation was not to harm Muslim-Americans, but rather to protect America from more terrorist attacks.