NEWS

Muslims Who Support Donald Trump Explain Why They Back The Man Many Call Islamaphoic

'He's got the good heart, he cares about America.'

24/04/2016 20:22 | Updated 24 April 2016

Despite Donald Trump saying Muslims should be banned from entering the United States, some American Muslims actually support him.

Nedal Tamer, a Muslim based in Detroit, feels he's in the minority because he backs the Republican billionaire - who has also said that "Islam hates the West".

Small numbers of Muslims find comfort in Trump's stance on immigrants, The Associated Press reports, feeling that he's been misunderstood and he could be better at tackling extremists than other candidates.

"People have the wrong idea, even Arabs and Muslims," says Tamer, 40. He is from a suburb of Detroit which is known for its large Arab and Muslim population. "I like the fact that he's a little nuts. He's got the good heart, he cares about America."

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Nedal Tamer, who is Muslim, supports Trump.

Tamer was one of a number of Muslims who support Trump and were interviewed by The Associated Press.

He claims Trump's idea about banning Muslims was focused on about extremists, such as IS and those it inspires, not ordinary people.

"Many times, Trump has said, 'Not all Muslims' - he's not talking about all Muslims," said Tamer. "He says there are certain people. ... We've seen what's happening. I don't think anybody would agree with what ISIS is doing. We have to stop ISIS now, immediately."

Trump, who looks likely to win the Republican nomination to run for president, has also said the country shouldn't take more refugees from countries where the so-called Islamic State operates.

Saba Ahmed, a Muslim lawyer, founded the Republican Muslim Coalition in Washington.

"We will be supporting whoever the Republican nominee ends up being. And we are hopeful of Trump's business background, and that he would be able to use that to turn the economy around," she said.

Ahmed said she has a lot of Muslim friends who are Democrats. But in her view, "Islamic values align with Republican values," and her list includes opposing abortion and backing traditional marriage.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Donald Trump.

She acknowledges that members of her coalition are "very much concerned" by some of Trump's "very absurd comments," but counters that some of what he says is "overblown."

"Trump knows he can't win the general election with that type of hatred and those types of comments," she said. "So going forward, things will look different."

Some Muslims who don't support Trump have nevertheless expressed tentative support for his comments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has said he would attempt to be "neutral," though he recently told a gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that he is "a lifelong supporter and true friend of Israel."

Osama Siblani, publisher of the influential Arab American News, said Trump's supporters - Muslim or otherwise - believe he is an "independent thinker" who "will do the right thing at the end of the day."

Siblani added that Trump has business enterprises all over the world, including in Arab Gulf nations, which supporters believe should mute concerns over Islamophobia.

But Trump is neither Siblani's personal preference nor his paper's. The publication has endorsed Sanders.

"I believe Trump is playing on ignorance and cashing in on fear," Siblani said.

Both Ahmed and Tamer said their pro-Trump positions have led to disagreements with other Muslims, but Ahmed said that merely reflects the diversity among followers of Islam.

"We can have differences of opinion in the upcoming election, but it's important for all Muslims to get involved," she said. "We are the 1% that can shift the outcome of the presidential election. We need more engagement."

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