WASHINGTON, D.C. / CRWEPRESSRELEASE / September 18, 2015 / The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to clarify what he meant when stating that he was "going to be looking at that" to a question about the Muslim "problem in this country" and "When can we get rid of them?"
The question was asked during from an audience member at a campaign event on Thursday night in New Hampshire.
The Trump supporter's full statement was: "We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims. Our current president is one. We know he's not even an American." He added "We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That's my question: When can we get rid of them?"
Instead of correcting the supporter, as Sen. John McCain did during his 2008 presidential bid when an audience member called Obama an "Arab," or rejecting the anti-Muslim assertion, Trump responded: "A lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We're going to be looking at that and a lot of different things."
Sixty-six percent of Trump's supporters believe that President Obama is a Muslim and only 29 percent accept that the president was born in the United States according a recent September survey conducted by Public Policy Polling.
CAIR recently surveyed Trump supporters at one of his events in Washington, D.C., and discovered a disturbing level of Islamophobic views.
"In failing to challenge the questioner's anti-Muslim bigotry and his apparent call for the ethnic cleansing of American Muslims, Donald Trump sent the message that Islamophobia is acceptable," said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. "Mr. Trump needs to follow the example of Senator McCain by rejecting bigotry and by speaking out against the growing Islamophobia in American society."
McCaw said Trump has in the past falsely asserted that America has a "Muslim problem."
In April of 2011, Trump gave an interview with The Brody File during which he described his feelings about the Quran, Islam's revealed text, and its impact on Muslims. Trump said, "Bill O'Reilly asked me is there a Muslim problem? And I said absolutely, yes."
SEE: Trump, Yes American Has a Muslim Problem (2011)
Other GOP presidential candidates have made Islamophobic comments or have been associated with Islamophobes.
SEE: CAIR Urges Scott Walker to Drop Adviser Who Recommended Nuking Muslim Capitals
CAIR: Ted Cruz's Tenn. Campaign Chair Smears Muslim Appointee, Senator's Rep Calls It 'Defending American Law'
CAIR Asks GOP to Disinvite Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders from DC Events
Islamophobia in the 2016 Presidential Election
In January, CAIR issued an open letter to potential Republican presidential candidates urging them to reject Islamophobia and to reach out to American Muslim voters.
CAIR's appeal came in the wake of a controversy over remarks by presidential hopeful Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana who was criticized for promoting the false claim that there are Muslim "no-go zones" in European cities.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)