Muslim groups have condemned President Trump’s promotion of a notorious anti-Muslim bigot’s tweet questioning whether U.S. mosques will be treated differently during the upcoming month of Ramadan than churches were treated during Easter amid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
At the White House coronavirus briefing yesterday, Trump claimed that there “could be a difference” in how authorities enforce lockdown measures during Ramadan compared to how Christians were treated on Easter. He added: “And we’ll have to see what will happen. Because I’ve seen a great disparity in this country.”
“I would say that there could be a difference. And we’ll have to see what will happen. Because I’ve seen a great disparity in this country,” Trump said in the press briefing.
The president made the comments after he was asked about a tweet by conservative writer Paul Sperry, which Trump had retweeted, that suggested Muslims could get preferential treatment.
“Let’s see if authorities enforce the social-distancing orders for mosques during Ramadan (April 23-May 23) like they did for churches during Easter,” Sperry tweeted.
“President Trump’s bigoted attempt to use American Muslims as a political football just before the holy month of Ramadan was as divisive as it was insulting,” Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), denounced Trump’s remarks
“Mosques across our nation have already announced plans to remain closed indefinitely because the American Muslim community, unlike President Trump, recognizes the ongoing threat of the coronavirus,” the statement reads.
Awad also cited a statement by the Fiqh Council of North America that called on mosques and Islamic centers to “strictly follow the health and state official guidelines for social gatherings and distancing,” and to hold special nightly Ramadan prayers “at home within a family setting.”
Awad noted that CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
The Washington-based civil rights organization has also repeatedly expressed concern about his anti-Muslim rhetoric and the Trump administration’s Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist policies and appointments.