Muslims decry Trump's proposal to keep them out of US

An Iranian woman celebrates her birthday with her friend at a cafe in downtown Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
An Iranian woman celebrates her birthday with her friend at a cafe in downtown Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

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:
AYOUB MUSTAFA, a 42-year-old major with the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces battling the Islamic State group, said Trump’s rhetoric reminded him of that of the IS, known also as Daesh, after its Arabic language acronym.
“This man is encouraging the same kind of hatred as Daesh.”
“It’s true that Daesh is an Islamic militant organization but that doesn’t mean that they represent Islam. It’s a very radical, extremist organization, a terrorist organization.”
FERAS ALI ABOU GHABEN, a 30-year-old Palestinian American stock broker:
“Trump has managed to gain votes through hate speech. I do not see anyone doing anything about it and that scares me. What terrified me even more was the applause that came after his speech.”
“Islamists use religion and hate to gain votes in the Middle East. Yet we’re seeing the same ideology being used (by Trump) … and no one is fighting it. It’s just getting applauded for.”
AHMED YOUSRI, a 23-year-old banker in Cairo, says Trump’s proposal may play into the hands of the Islamic State and help the extremist group find more recruits.
“We must also blame our media and religious leaders for not preventing extremist thought from expanding. That is their role and they are not taking it as seriously as they should.”
“But what Trump is doing is giving IS a more legitimate cause for its existence. It will justify their acts and help them recruit people.”
AMR ALI, a 30-year-old chemist living in Cairo:
“The idea by itself is insulting and offensive. If they are going to ban all Muslims because of the people that Muslim terrorists killed, then let’s ban all Europeans because the people who were killed during colonial times.”
IMTISAL AHMED, a student of linguistics at the NUML university in Islamabad linked Trump’s proposal to last week’s killings in California by Pakistan-born female shooter Tashfeen Malik and her husband.
“We admit that she has done a very bad thing, but the whole Muslim nation should not be punished over one bad act of some individual. If this ban is imposed, many students won’t be able to go and study in the United States.”
ADHAM HAMADA, 34-year-old Cairo businessman who works in adventure travel:
“How will they know if I’m Muslim or not. It’s not in my passport. That’s why I feel it’s just political talk.”
“I can’t see how something like this could be implemented. But it’s meant to separate, nothing more. It’s hate speech.”
TOWFEEK CASSIM, 28, a lab technician living in Johannesburg, said he is more concerned about Muslims already living in the United States, than for those who want to travel there.
“If you’re already living there, it’s just going to make life harder. It’s hard to get rid of people who already live there. If they’re forced out, they may retaliate and that will just cause havoc. I don’t think it will be very pleasant.”
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.”
SADIA HAFEEZ, a university student in Islamabad, Pakistan:
“He is pitching non-Muslims against Muslims for political reasons.”
NAWAZISH ALI, a taxi driver in Islamabad:
“Politicians before elections make controversial statements and I don’t think anyone should take the statement of this American presidential candidate seriously.”
AASIM SALMAN, 47-year-old owner of a coffee shop in Baghdad:
“I visited the United States over a year ago twice and had no problems. I really enjoyed the visit, it’s a great nation. I always say it is the summit of democracy and justice whenever I’m talking about this country.”
“I visited the coffee shops in the U.S. and saw many Americans sitting there, smiling and laughing. I don’t see any difference between us, why does Trump want to divide us?”
“I’m confident the American people will punish him and not vote for him at all.”
AMR KHALIFA, 29-year-old banker and business owner in Cairo who was planning to travel to Las Vegas and Miami next summer with friends, speaking in English:
“Actually, since the events in France happened, I’ve been thinking that 2016 or so is going to suck for a single, Muslim Arab dude getting a visa anywhere in the world basically.”
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.”
Associated Press writers Salar Salim in Irbil, Iraq; Anusonadisai Nattasuda in Bangkok; Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia; Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Nour Youssef, Nariman el-Mofty and Maram Mazen in Cairo; Muneeza Naqvi in New Delhi; Karin Laub in Amman, Jordan; Mohammad Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank; Nini Karmini in Jakarta; Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Afghanistan; Munir Ahmed in Islamabad; Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad; Lynsey Chutel in Johannesburg and Aya Batrawy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, contributed to this report.

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