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US Presidential Debate

Although an overwhelming majority of American Muslims are supporting Hillary Clinton in Presidential election, remarks of both the candidates during second presidential debate disappointed many Muslims.

While most of the American Muslims have no confusion about Republican presidential candidate Donald J Trump’s opinion about them, some said even Hillary did not mention Islamophobia and only mentioned Muslims in reference to ISIS (Daesh), Counter-Terrorism and security. During the debate an undecided Muslim voter named Gorbah Hamed asked each of the candidates how they would help Muslims in the United States deal with rising anti-Muslim sentiments. In response, Donald Trump focused on terrorist attacks, which he described as the work of “radical Islamic terrorists.” “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 horribly. They’ll never be the same. The Muslims have to report the problems when they see them,” Trump said. On the other hand, Hillary praised Muslim role in US society saying the Muslims have been present in the US since the era of George Washington. But her response also focused on role of the Muslim community in counter-terrorism efforts and law enforcement. “We need American-Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on the front lines,” she stated, saying it was important for the Muslims to see themselves as part of America’s homeland security. Some of her supporters were not much amused with the fact that the Muslim community was only discussed in reference to terror and ISIS. Vice President of local Muslim Democratic Club in Maryland, Nadia Syahmalina said Islamophobia could have also been discussed during the debate. She however appreciated how Hillary Clinton brought up, how embedded the Muslim community was in the fabric of American history as they were here during the time of George Washington – not many people are aware that Muslim American history span over 200 years. According to a study, 80 percent Muslim were not playing very active political role in US politics because they were afraid of negativity surrounding their image in society. Hamza Khan, President of Muslim Democratic Club said the debate had proved that concerns of the Muslims aboutTrump and his thinking were not unfounded. Democratic Senator from Maryland State Jamie Rask said Trump had openly offended all the minority communities and that was the reason Muslim American, African American, Latino-American and Indian-American were all supporting Hillary Clinton. Many Muslim countries enjoy good relations with United States but it has discriminatory policies related to Palestine and making interventions in Muslim countries  on different pretexts. US president Obama had sought a new beginning between the US and the Muslim world on the basis of mutual respect but regrettably he did fulfill his promise during his tenures and he further complicated the matters by making interventions in Muslim countries. United States and other countries should take steps to end negative portrayals and images of Muslims and should give them respect and rights like other citizens. United States and western countries need to improve their image in Muslim world by introducing the fair and just policies.

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