Time for beat reporters to dig out their lists of good U.S. Muslim sources again.
Quite suddenly, the United States has tumbled into a major interfaith moment. The current episode began with a New Hampshire town hall question tossed at GOP candidate Donald Trump on September 17. In case you missed it, a man wearing a TRUMP T-shirt stated:
“We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American -- birth certificate, man. But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question. When can we get rid of them?”
Note: Get rid of alleged training camps? Or get rid of American Muslims, who are the country’s “problem”?
Either way it was an unusually perfervid attack, compounded by raising of the oft-refuted but persistent claims that President Barack Obama is Muslim and also wasn’t born in America so is an illegal president. Trump’s fuzzy response didn’t address any of that and he was uncharacteristically silent the following day.
Meanwhile Washington’s Council on American-Islamic Relations was quick on the uptake, as usual. Its chief lobbyist Robert McCaw said that “in failing to challenge the questioner’s anti-Muslim bigotry and his apparent call for the ethnic cleansing of American Muslims, Donald Trump sent the message that Islamophobia is acceptable.”