Trump’s remarks came in response to a tweet by journalist Paul Sperry who questioned whether or not authorities would enforce the social distancing for mosques during Ramadan like they did for churches during Easter.
Let’s see if authorities enforce the social-distancing orders for mosques during Ramadan (April 23-May 23) like they did churches during Easter
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) April 15, 2020
In an albeit rambling reply at a press conference, Trump pointed out that he thought there “could be a difference” — not because he believed that imams wouldn’t follow social distancing rules (he thought they would) but because the president believed Christians were being treated unfairly and hoped that the same thing would not happen to mosques.
Here’s what he said:
Trump: I would say that there could be a difference, and we’ll have to see what will happen, because I’ve seen a great disparity, in this country … they go after Christian churches, but they don’t tend to go after mosques. And I don’t want them to go after mosques …
Question: Do you know, Mr. President, that in fact you’re suggesting that imams wouldn’t follow social distancing?
Trump: No, I think that — I just had a call with imams, I just had a call with ministers, rabbis. We had a tremendous call with the faith leaders. No, I don’t think that at all. I am somebody that believes in faith.
Trump was most likely referring to the absurdity of authorities who “go after Christian churches” by shutting down drive-thru churches over the Easter holidays. Christians attended church on Easter by remaining outside in their cars and thus observing social distancing regulations.
In the middle of his answer, he referred to the double standard recently being set by “our politicians [who] seem to treat different faiths differently,” calling out Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and the rest of the “squad” (Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley) for their anti-Israel views (which Pressley does not hold) which amount to judging Israel (i.e., Jews) with standards they do not apply to other countries.
Trump: I’ve seen a great disparity. I mean I’ve seen a very strong anti-Israel bent in Congress, with Democrats. It was unthinkable seven or eight or ten years ago, and now they’re into a whole different thing, between [Rep. Ilhan] Omar, and AOC. I say AOC plus three, add them on. You have, I mean, the things that they say about Israel are so bad. And I can’t believe it.
Trump was most likely referring to Omar, Tlaib and AOC’s support of a bill introduced by Omar in the House promoting the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Movement (Pressley voted against the bill).
The BDS Movement is, at its core, an anti-Semitic movement according to the definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the U.S. State Department.
He may also have been referring to Omar’s numerous anti-Israel tweets that were filled with classic anti-Semitic tropes.
Yet, even though Trump stated he would not like to see mosques subjected to the same objectionable behavior as Christian churches were during Easter, CAIR — a Muslim Brotherhood-linked organization that was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror funding case in the U.S. — issued a statement to the press slamming Trump’s “divisive and insulting” attempt to target American Muslims.
Particularly abhorrent to CAIR was Trump’s “promotion of a notorious anti-Muslim bigot’s tweet questioning whether U.S. mosques will be treated differently during the upcoming month of Ramadan than churches were treated during Easter amid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.”
Apparently one cannot answer a tweet anymore without being accused of promoting said tweet.
Not all Muslims were buying CAIR’s disingenuous and gratuitous slamming of the president.
Clarion Project’s National Correspondent Shireen Qudosi tweeted:
As an American Muslim, I’m with @paulsperry_ on this important question: Are authorities going to cite and ticket $1000 fines to Muslims the way they have to drive-in sermons, paddle-boarders, beach joggers, families at the park, dads playing t-ball w/ their kids? #Ramadan2020 https://t.co/f1anfSborJ
— Shireen Qudosi (@ShireenQudosi) April 19, 2020
Qudosi also clarified with two important points:
— Shireen Qudosi (@ShireenQudosi) April 20, 2020
That’s not to say that anyone should be blocked from exercising their religious freedoms, as some attorneys and judges standing on the right side of history are demonstrating, but that govt reach in ensuring quarantine is outrageously out of order. https://t.co/OXHUqYdtW9 https://t.co/inKiDMwie0
— Shireen Qudosi (@ShireenQudosi) April 19, 2020
Politics has always been a dirty business. But while many Americans are standing in line at food banks after having their livelihood destroyed by COVID-19’s economic shut-down, the last thing we need is for politicians and interest groups to sow divisiveness at this time.
Is it too much to ask these players to at least make their complaints based on truth and facts?
Sadly, the answer appears to be “yes.”
Editor’s note: Clarion Project is an apolitical organization. All commentary on politics is fact-based and solely for the purpose of fulfilling our mission of educating the public about the dangers of ideological extremism.