(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump’s upset over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election has caused a “tremendous level of fear” in the Muslim-American community due to the anti-Muslim rhetoric that surfaced during his campaign, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“In times of crisis or in times of upheaval, often American Muslims and their institutions are targeted,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We’re not saying it will happen in his case, but she should be aware of that possibility.”
In the aftermath of Election Day, Hooper advised Muslim-Americans to “be cautious” of their surroundings and to “pay extra attention to safety and security at mosques.”
“American Muslims are here to stay,” Hooper told ABC News. “We’re part of this nation. We’re not going anywhere. We are not going to be intimidated or marginalized.”
As some Muslim-American women took to social media to express a fear of wearing their hijabs, CAIR called on Trump and his administration to commit to “rebuild the social fabric and cohesion of America” by ensuring the “civil rights and civil liberties for everyone” in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“Last night is representative of a shift in the American political landscape and exposed the deep divisions in our country,” said Ilhan Cagri of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “…We American-Muslims will be among those who represent the conscience of American people.”
CAIR has not heard from Trump, nor has it received a response to multiple invitations to meet, CAIR National Director Nihad Awad told ABC News.
CAIR representatives said they would work with “those who are disenfranchised and those who feel left out” to ensure that they receive “freedom, liberty and justice for all,” Cagri said.
In Wayne County, Michigan, which contains the largest concentration of Arab-Americans in the U.S., Muslim leaders echoed CAIR’s hopeful sentiments to unite the country.
“I hope really people understand how hurt Muslims were in this election and how scared our families have been and they reach out to us and make us feel welcome and we affirm that yes we are part of America and America is a country for all people,” said resident Chris Blauvelt.
“As a country we are not without blemish. We are not without imperfections. The road is long and will be bumpy but our history has shown us that we get it right. Even if we get it right a little later…together with the skill and the will we will overcome,” Fatina Abdrabboh said.
Shereef Akeel said the country needs to give Trump the “benefit of the doubt.”
“We haven’t seen him lead the whole country,” Akeel said. “A lot of things were said both ways during the election. Time to move forward. Let’s unite. Let’s heal the wounds.”
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