Activists and religious leaders take their message to the GOP front-runner’s doorstep.
Image via (cc) Flickr user Perspective
With chants of “Refugees welcome” and “Dump Trump,” hundreds of activists rallied outside Donald Trump’s Manhattan hotel this week, according to a report from Reuters. The protest came amidst the ongoing fallout from Trump’s declaration that the U.S. government should temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the country.
“Islam is the religion of peace. Islam is not terrorism” speaker Hussam Al Roustom, a Syrian refugee who has been living in New Jersey for the last several months, reportedly told the crowd.
Despite the near-certain unconstitutionality of refusing entry to the country based on religion, Trump’s proposal is polling surprisingly strong among self-identified Republican adults, with 42 percent in favor, compared to 36 percent against, reports CNN. Elsewhere, however, condemnation has been swift and furious, with politicians, activists, and other notables likening the proposed ban to fascism and calling it un-American.
Trump’s New York City hotel isn’t the only building bearing the candidate’s name to be drawn into this controversy, either. Earlier this year, protesters rallied against Trump’s remarks regarding Mexican immigrants on the site of Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel project (pictured above). And in Turkey, the franchise owners of Trump Towers Istanbul—who pay licensing fees to use the Trump brand on their property—have reportedly begun reevaluating their ties to the mogul-cum-candidate. “We regret and condemn Trump’s discriminatory remarks,” Trump Towers Istanbul manager Bulent Kural told Reuters. “Such statements bear no value and are products of a mind that does not understand Islam, a peace religion, at all.”
The Trump Hotel protest in Manhattan comes days after an earlier rally at New York’s City Hall, organized by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. There, city politicians and religious leaders spoke to a crowd of nearly a hundred people and denounced Trump’s proposal. According to Gothamist, one speaker reportedly called the candidate “a showman, a demagogue, a good theater performer,” with another adding “and a clown.”
“What I know about America is, they always make some propaganda before the election,” rally attendee Bahaa Ellaithy told Gothamist, “and you have to bring some clown like him to be like that, the clown of the scene. The values of Americans hopefully is going to be way stronger than his racist statements...people have different beliefs, different faiths, and we shouldn’t be against each other.”