At Muslim Community Center of Richmond Hill, a subway ride away from the ongoing anti-Donald Trump protests in Manhattan, worshipers split on their reaction to the presidential election results.
Some said they had no problem with Trump’s tough talk on terror, while others privately said they feared an anti-Muslim backlash.
Trump spent much of the campaign criticizing the Muslim-American community for not properly policing their own. He promised he would pursue heightened surveillance on mosques across the country.
He also initially pledged to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. But in May, he began to walk the policy back, and eventually said he would ban people from countries with a “history of exporting terror” and impose “extreme vetting.”
Prominent Muslim advocacy groups, such as the Council On American-Islamic Relations, have expressed fear and disappointment about Trump’s elevation to the highest office in the land.
But some local Bangladeshi Muslims had nary a word of criticism for the president-elect. After an afternoon prayer service at the Muslim Community Center of Richmond Hill, some characterized Trump as a “strong leader” and “good man.”
“Whatever he say, that’s only for election. You know, winning,” said M.D. Elias, the founder of the mosque. “That’s why he talk about Muslim ban, this ban, that ban. I don’t think it’s going to be happening.”
Others supported Trump’s pledge to watch mosques.
Helal Khan, a retiree, said it was important for mosques to “keep quiet and peace.”
But one man, who was fearful of speaking on camera, said, “Every Muslim is scared right now.”