Donald Trump employed his usual sensitivity in Sunday’s US presidential debate, by using a question about Islamophobia to tell Muslims they should report terrorists “when they see them”.
The Republican nominee, who previously called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, decided the best way to tackle prejudice against America’s Muslim population was to deride them.
Gorbah Hamed, a Muslim woman in the audience at last night’s debate, asked Trump and Hillary Clinton what they would do to stem the rise of Islamophobia.
“There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, and I’m one of them,” Hamed said.
“You’ve mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled as a threat to the country after the election is over?”
Clinton responded by highlighting how her opponent’s “demagogic rhetoric” towards Muslims was fuelling the recruitment efforts of so-called Islamic State.
But Trump had other ideas, replying: “When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.
“As an example, in San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. They’ll never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them.”
The FBI has previously slammed Trump for such suggestions, saying of the security agency’s relation with Muslims: “They do not want people committing violence, either in their community or in the name of their faith, and so some of our most productive relationships are with people who see things and tell us things who happen to be Muslim.”
But Trump’s call for Muslims to report potential threats backfired, as many turned the attack back on him. Author Moustafa Bayoumi suggested reporting Trump seemed a good place to start.
Some suggested his recent comments on sexually assaulting women would make him an eligible candidate for reporting.
While another social media user referenced the predatory-like way Trump kept following Clinton around the stage and standing ominously behind her.
But one woman took the “report” request a little more literally.