An advocacy group is seeking an apology from GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign after a Muslim woman standing in silent protest was heckled and the escorted out of the event.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued the call for an apology late Friday, hours after Rose Hamid was thrown out of the Trump rally at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
As Donald Trump questioned the motives of Syrian refugees at a Friday night rally, saying they “probably are ISIS,” a woman sitting in the stands of the sports arena behind him silently stood. She was wearing a white hijab and a blue T-shirt that read: “Salam, I come in peace.”
Trump kept speaking, but soon the crowd erupted, holding up their campaign signs and chanting: “Trump! Trump! Trump!” That was the formal signal for security to remove her from the rally — even though she stood quietly, not saying anything. She was joined by several other protesters, all wearing yellow eight-pointed stars, reminiscent of the six-pointed stars Jews were forced by the Nazis to wear on their clothing during the Holocaust. On the eight-pointed stars, a common symbol in the Islamic world, was this message: “Stop Islamophobia.”
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad also called on Mr. Trump to meet with American Muslim leaders to help stem the anti-Muslim sentiment resulting from his rhetoric and that of other Republican presidential candidates.
“I would like to hear what Trump has to say about it,” she told. “I’d like to hear because if they say that it was because we were disrupting things, then I would like him to show evidence of where the disruption came, because the disruption didn’t come from me.”
Mr. Trump didn’t address the incident on Saturday while campaigning in Iowa. But he defended his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country. He said his call had drawn attention to radical Islamic extremism, which he described as “a very deep-seated problem that we have in this country and throughout the world.’”
“I didn’t get a bad vibe from anyone,” she said. “The people I made personal contact with were very pleasant.”
“My intention was to stand up when he said something that was offensive, not just for Muslims but for anyone,” she said.
When she stood up, she said, people around her began to chant. Mr. Trump soon acknowledged it. At that point, Ms. Hamid said she and a fellow protester were asked to leave.
Then, she said, verbal taunts came from some in the audience.
Major Steven Thompson of the Rock Hill Police Department told Hamid was kicked out of the event because the campaign told him beforehand that “anybody who made any kind of disturbance” should be escorted out.
Trump had earlier faced flak over his call for temporary ban on Muslims entering the US.