HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – In controversial comments, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday called for a ban on Muslims entering the country.
The statement came as Midstate Muslim communities applauded President Obama’s message in his Sunday night address that there’s a clear line between Islam and terrorism.
One Muslim chaplain says now it’s time for Islamic communities to reinforce it.
Among the President’s optimism and calls for congressional action, one idea stood out for many American Muslims.
“We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam,” Obama said.
“I think that was the best message he could give,” Amjad Khan of Mechanicsburg said.
Khan spoke with us after evening prayers at the Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg in Steelton. He called the President’s comments reassuring.
“We are Americans more than we are Muslims or we are Christians,” he said.
“Now it’s on the Muslim communities’ part to try to reinforce that,” said Taha Adeseun, a Muslim chaplain in New Jersey, back in Steelton Monday to visit his hometown.
Another point President Obama made was Muslims need to do more to root out extremist ideologies.
“I think different mosques should be really forthcoming in trying to promote what they’re about and letting the communities know that we don’t stand for that,” Adeseun said.
He said it’s critical to reach out and to educate community members about the peaceful Islam the vast majority of the world’s Muslims practice, along with “letting our children know that this is not what we stand for, and this is not what we accept from our religion.”
“We teach our children to be tolerant, to accept other points of view, as well as to live as good citizens,” Khan said.
But another member of the mosque said identifying those who ignore what they’re taught can be more difficult, that sometimes you just don’t know until it’s too late.
It’s that worry that led to Trump’s remarks. The candidate said no Muslims should be allowed into the U.S. until Washington can “figure out what is going on.”