WASHINGTON – Some Muslim-Americans cheering on President Donald Trump at his Inauguration Friday said he will follow through on his promises to boost the economy but they dismissed his promise to stop all Muslims who want to emigrate to the United States.
Saba Ahmed, a Republican activist and founder of the Republican Muslim Coalition, and her family were enthusiastic about watching Trump get sworn in as the 45th president.
“We support President Trump because he will turn the economy around for all Americans,” Ahmed said. “Muslims should embrace and welcome the new administration.”
Trump’s opponents have criticized his call for a registry of foreign Muslims in the United States, which he first proposed in December 2015.
Ahmed dismissed concerns about how the Trump administration might treat Muslims. “He has no such plan to ban or register Muslims. We need to stop reacting and proactively lobby him on our interests,” Ahmed said.
Talat Rashid, founder of the Association of Pakistani Americans of Bolingbrook, a community group in suburban Chicago, also was on hand in Washington to watch Trump take the oath of office.
“Trump is go on bring back the American pride again, he wants bring back the jobs, he wants bring back all …. companies, so that why I support him.” said Rashid, who is on Trump’s Muslim Advisory Board.
“I do not like immigration because I think a lot of people are coming here, for example from Syria, and we do not know who they are and they must completely checked out so we do not want some refugees coming here and disturb the peace in the country.”
Trump and his supporters have warned about the growing dangers of extremist Islam and terrorism in the United States. In his speech Friday, Trump said he would end “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Asra Q. Nomani, a Muslim American journalist who was co-director of a Georgetown University project to investigate the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, said she supports Trump because he’s right to want to ban extremists.
“I do not believe that his views are aggressive against Muslims,” said Nomani “As a Muslim I believe we must have a very strong position against extremist interpretations of Islam. This dance that we’re doing, thinking that these ultraconservative ideals are in sync with values in the West, is just an imagination.”
The Pew Research Center estimates a population of 3.3 million Muslim Americans.
Many Muslim leaders have notedthat Trump invited evangelical Christian leaders, a Jewish rabbi and the Catholic archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, to the inauguration but did not invite a Muslim religious leader. Among the clergy was evangelical preacher Franklin Graham, a harsh critic of Islam who once called for a halt to “all immigration of Muslims to the U.S.”
Robert McCaw, government affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Trump’s views have a direct impact on Muslim Americans. He cited the nominations of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Ben Carson for secretary of housing and urban development and retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser. “All these individuals have ardent anti-Muslim views,” McCaw said. “They are going to be in positions that will shape American policy and have an impact on the lives of Muslims.”