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Muslim community leader says Trump’s retweets “disappointing, disheartening”

Gage Skidmore
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
President Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos on Wednesday.

Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke says this is why he loves President Trump.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, meantime, is leading a chorus of criticism aimed at the president, who pushed right back on Twitter, telling the Prime Minister to take care of her own house.

All of this over the president's re-tweeting of anti-Muslim videos from a group called Britain First, which May calls "a hate group."

The videos are titled: "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”

But the assailant in one of the videos was not a “Muslim migrant,” and the other two showed four-year-old events with no explanation.

To respond to the president’s retweets, Dr. Mansoor Qureshi joined Stateside today. He’s president of the Michigan chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and a cardiologist who lives in Ann Arbor.

Listen to his full conversation with host Cynthia Canty above, or read highlights below.

Qureshi’s reaction to President Trump’s retweeted links

“Our community, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, has been trying our best to educate people and teach them about the true Islam teachings and values. And it’s an uphill battle. It’s quite a struggle. And then when you wake up and you see that your president is tweeting something to basically destroy all that you have done, it is disappointing.”

“It is disappointing, disheartening to see, because the president is the president of the entire country, not just one community or one religion, and you would expect him to bring people together – go out of his way to do that. So I think it was very disappointing.”

“…this was sort of kind of the lowest that he has gone, because first of all, as you mentioned that some of the videos aren’t even true – what they’re trying to depict.”

“The other thing is, you know, I would, as a Muslim, first off would say that I would reject if there is anything negative done by a Muslim, first off. So if someone is trying to kill someone, that is not true Islamic teaching. That is, every life has its sanctity regardless of whether it’s a Muslim or a non-Muslim. So, if that was true, indeed that is wrong and shouldn’t have been done. So I’ll condemn it first off....”

“… We’re trying to educate. We have this trueislam.com campaign, which all of this is mentioned there and people can look into it.”

“So, as a president, I think I would expect that degree of, I would use the word, ‘common sense’ to try and bring people together rather than projecting and presenting something that can incite hate amongst the people.”

On conversations he’s having with other Muslim Americans in Michigan

“Even in our community, the first thing that we gain based on the true Islamic teaching is that we have to be loyal to our country. That’s part of our faith. And so, that’s the first thing that we teach our young people – that despite all the rhetoric, despite what they see, they have to remain loyal. America is much better than what we see sometimes on the news and some of these tweets. So that’s the first thing.”

“And also to stay the course and educate people from your actions, from your words – the way you walk, the way you talk. That is the true education.”

On the “biggest problem:” a lack of education

“I think the biggest problem is lack of education. We have lived in our silos for way too long and we just don’t know each other.”

“And this does not apply to Muslims only. Muslims need to learn about Christianity, or Judaism, or Atheism, or Hinduism … and we would expect the same from people of other faith, because, as I said, the world is now getting smaller with this social media and the tweeting and everything else. So we need to learn from each other, but from the source – not from the hate websites or a tweet here and there, you know.”

“Or I remember someone showing a picture saying that ‘I learned about Islam on September 11. I don’t want to learn anymore.’ So, you know, that’s the worst a Muslim may have done and if someone is learning Islam from that, that’s not the right way. So, that’s why … the coffee cake and True Islam campaign is that in all our chapters, in all our mosques, we invite people to just have a cup of coffee, sit down, have snacks and chat, you know, face to face. And that is how you learn.

So … you know, Pew Research has shown that 60% of Americans have never met a Muslim. And so that is where we need to do – as Muslims and others – if we come together, we can defeat all hatred. We can defeat all kind of extremism. If we, as one of the best nations in the world, if we come together and be unified, we can teach others.”

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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