By Tom Foreman Jr., AP
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina–An advocacy group is seeking an apology from U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump after a Muslim woman standing in silent protest at one of his rallies was heckled and escorted out. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued the call for an apology after Rose Hamid was thrown out of the Trump rally at Winthrop University in South Carolina on Friday.
Hamid said she was standing up in protest to a Trump statement when members of the audience pointed her out by chanting “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad also called on Trump to meet with American Muslim leaders to help stem the anti-Muslim sentiment resulting from his rhetoric and that of other Republican presidential candidates.
Hamid said Saturday afternoon she hadn’t received any response.
“I would like to hear what Trump has to say about it,” she told The Associated Press by phone. “I’d like to hear because if they say that it was because we were disrupting things, then I would like him to show evidence of where the disruption came, because the disruption didn’t come from me.”
Trump didn’t address the incident on Saturday while campaigning in Iowa. But he defended his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country. He said his call had drawn attention to radical Islamic extremism, which he described as “a very deep-seated problem that we have in this country and throughout the world.”
Hamid, a flight attendant, said there were no problems as she waited in line to enter and hear Trump speak.
“I didn’t get a bad vibe from anyone,” she said. “The people I made personal contact with were very pleasant.”
Hamid said the mood changed once the rally began, and the spotlight began to shift to her.
“My intention was to stand up when he said something that was offensive, not just for Muslims but for anyone,” she said.
When she stood up, she said, people around her began to chant. Trump soon acknowledged it. At that point, Hamid said she and a fellow protester were asked to leave.
Then, she said, verbal taunts came from some in the audience.
“There was a guy who was saying, ‘Do you have a bomb? Do you have a bomb?’ This is an older man,” Hamid said. “And I said ‘No, do you have a bomb?’” She said another man yelled at her to get out.
Hamid said security officials didn’t touch her as they led her out, adding that “I was glad that nobody got physical and did anything scary.”