Trump Security Removed Veterans’ Group From South Carolina Event
Ten veterans from Veterans Challenge Islamophobia unfurled a 10-foot banner during Trump’s speech in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina today. The banner read:
“Mr. Trump: Veterans are not props for hate. We stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers.”
The U.S. veterans who launched the effort have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam. Many were also decorated for their valor. The veterans, some of whom hail from the organization Iraq Veterans Against the War, were forcibly escorted outside after Trump supporters waved signs while chanting Trump’s name. But the group’s actions will not be deterred.
Veterans Challenge Islamophobia plans to take its campaign to other primary states and will fly a similar banner in Las Vegas on Monday evening at Trump’s event there. They say they will continue until Trump and other Republican candidates cease their discriminatory attacks on Muslims.
“Mr. Trump’s hateful rhetoric insults both my Islamic faith and my military service. As a U.S. Marine who served in Iraq, I find it shameful that a major presidential candidate would impugn my patriotism, or that of other Muslims, because of our faith,” said Ramon Mejia, who served with the U.S. Marines in Iraq (2001-04).
“As an Army veteran, I deeply resent being used as a prop for intolerance by Mr. Trump. I enlisted in order to serve everyone in my country, including my Muslim sisters and brothers, and to protect constitutional freedoms like religious liberty,” said Maggie Martin, who served three tours in Iraq and Kuwait with the U.S. Army (2001-06).
“As a medic in Afghanistan, I worked closely with Muslim interpreters who risked their lives to support our mission. I’m disgusted when I see candidates like Mr. Trump — who never served in the military — try to demonize Muslims for his own political gain. We need to make it very clear: Islam is not a national security threat,” said Perry O’Brien, who served with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan (2001-04).
During his speech, Donald Trump did not respond directly to the protesters, but did make note of people who challenge him as security folded up the group’s banner.
“We’re going to make the wall 10 feet taller,” Trump said. “And every time they protest, it’s going to go up a little bit higher.”
Donald Trump has made many comments discriminating Muslims. Let’s let Veterans For Peace explain why that is bad:
Bigotry and racism violate all of the values we believed we were defending during our military service. The ideals contained in the Constitution, to the degree they have been manifested in America, have been a beacon to much of the world because of the diversity, openness, and respect for people of all faiths that most Americans live by. It will be a great calamity if we let fear give rise to hatred.
Fear-mongering endangers our national security and gives rise to hatred and racism that play into the hands of an enemy that wants to convince Muslims around the world that the West, led by the U.S., hates them, and that joining ISIL or similar organizations is the only way to truly observe and defend their religion. We can never defend ourselves effectively by playing into our adversary’s strategy, giving credibility to their recruitment propaganda. We endanger ourselves whenever we make that mistake.