(CNSNews.com) – Leaders of several American Muslim organizations warned Donald Trump and other presidential candidates Monday that if they engage in bigotry and “Islamophobia” they will pay a political price because Muslim voters – in the words of one – will mobilize and “make sure you are out of there.”
“Let it be heard, and clear, to all political candidates, be it Donald Trump or whoever else, that indeed, if you engage in Islamophobia, if you engage in demagoguery and bigotry, you will pay a political price,” American Muslim Alliance director Mahdi Bray said at the National Press Club.
“Because we’re going to register our people and we’re going to use our ballot and we’re going to ‘take our souls to the polls’ and make sure you are out of there,” he continued.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) national executive director, Nihad Awad, standing alongside Bray, quickly clarified that the organizations on the platform – members of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) – were not endorsing any candidate.
“There will be another organization that might be formed from the community that will make that decision, but we are – most of us are 501(c)(3) organizations,” Awad said.
“So – but yes, we’re going to be engaged, and as we say, ‘in November we will remember,’” Awad added.
“We’re non-profit,” quipped Bray, “but not non-principled.”
Bray and Awad were participating in a USCMO press conference announcing initiatives “to address growing Islamophobia in America.”
Another participant, Islamic Society of North America vice-president Altaf Husain, urged political candidates at all levels to take time to engage with American Muslims.
“If you as a political candidate choose to spew hatred, bigotry, and to vilify Muslim Americans, you do so at your own political risk,” he warned.
“We will use every democratic – small d – democratic means and political strategies to ensure that you – your candidacy never succeeds.”
Awad of CAIR said the media should not give undeserved attention to “politicians who are trying to scapegoat the American Muslim community.”
In response to a question, he said he agreed with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s charge that Trump has become a recruiting tool for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“I happen to agree with her, because I said similar stuff – that Donald Trump’s statements are helping ISIS, because he’s playing into their hands, he’s not fighting ISIS, he’s helping ISIS,” Awad said.
“ISIS leaders know that they cannot destroy the United States, they cannot defeat the United States. But what they hope to do is to divide Americans and to scare us,” he said. “So my message to all candidates, not only Donald Trump and his likes but all candidates: Stop being afraid. America is strong.”