Strong words for presidential candidate Donald Trump from Muslim and Interfaith leaders in a press conference in the state capitol Wednesday afternoon.
Trump is set to speak Friday night at the Oklahoma State Fair and has routinely turned out thousands at rallies across the country. But it was an instance at one of those rallies that’s prompting swift backlash. A Trump supporter saying Muslims are a problem in the United States and calling President Obama, a proclaimed Christian, a Muslim.
With Trump’s visit just days away, the Oklahoma Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was joined by dozens of other religious groups including the OKC Jewish Community and the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Tuesday afternoon. They’re asking Trump, and candidate Dr. Ben Carson, to apologize for or correct statements made about American Muslims. Carson said on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Islam was not consistent with the U.S. constitution and Muslims are unfit to be President of the United States.
“Mr. Trump if you seek this office you must reflect the true America. That is, a diverse nation with individuals from all faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds,” said CAIR Executive Director Adam Soltani.
The press conference lasted for roughly a half hour. Nine different leaders spoke mostly about religious tolerance and their fears of Islamophobia becoming a new norm within American politics. One Imam played a 22-second long voicemail from an alleged anti-Islamic caller which said Muslims need to “leave the country and stop trying to take over the world.”
“We have seen several of our elected leaders in Oklahoma have spread hateful divisive rhetoric in recent years and we would hope that his visit here would reignite or spark this type of rhetoric once again,” Soltani said.
In an interview before the press conference, Soltani specifically referenced the Sharia Law amendment to the state constitution, which was later struck down by the 10th circuit court of appeals.
News 9 reached out to the Oklahoma GOP and Dr. Carson’s committee, neither responded.
News 9 also was told by local Trump coordinators they weren’t allowed to talk about the visit without approval from the national campaign.
Trump is set to speak at 5:30 Friday night at the Bandshell Stage near the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.