The morning after the 2016 presidential election Executive Director Ahmed Rehab was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) on the reaction of the Muslim community and plans moving forward.
Ahmed Rehab (AR): “The whole thing was absolutely surreal. It felt like a really bad dream…just watching the screen and I couldn’t just believe myself that this was actually happening not just as a Muslim, but as an American.”
Renee Montagne (RM): In his victory speech last night Donald Trump came out and said he’d be president for all Americans. His tone was conciliatory…did that reassure you?
AR: “It was also unbelievable. It was conciliatory but it was also, in my opinion, superficial and fake. It didn’t sound like Donald Trump speaking through his heart. It sounded like Donald Trump with somebody’s hand over his mouth telling him that you need to say this at this moment in time and there is no guarantee for me that someone like him–who, when they speak their mind, when they speak their heart, are an absolute disaster, won’t resurface again in the exact same way he had during the campaign. This unhinged maniac.”
RM: What are your next steps as a leader in the Muslim American community?
AR: “Well, I’m going to allow myself some space and time to mourn–this is a mournful event…but I don’t want to spend too much time doing that because at the end of the day I have a constituency that looks to my leadership. And as soon as that is done...I’m going to get right back up and fight back and stand up for my beliefs, for America, for the very foundations and promise of civil rights, and to realize that we are not alone. And we are not isolated. This is not [just] about Trump vs. Muslims.”