An American Muslim public policy group has challenged Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to a public debate about his views concerning Muslim Americans and his vision of religious pluralism.
The organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, threw down the debate gauntlet on Saturday, one day after Trump blustered his latest anti-Muslim statements.
“Ever since you announced your run for presidency of the United States, you have scapegoated the American Muslim community and other minority groups for all your perceived ills of America,” the Muslim group declares in a letter sent, in part, to The Daily Caller.
“You have no understanding of the world in which you live,” the letter also asserts. “That’s why you insist on backward policies, such as building walls and segregating communities based on religion.”
“We challenge you to a debate with a representative from the American Muslim community on the issues you have raised about Islam and Muslims,” the missive continues.
“We are confident that you, a person of great rhetorical ability, will appreciate this opportunity to showcase to America your strength and knowledge in such matters.”
On Friday night, during a rally in South Carolina, Trump repeated a cock-and-bull legend about how General John Pershing ostensibly stopped terrorism against U.S. forces in the Philippines by executing Muslim terrorists with bullets soaked in pigs’ blood. (VIDEO: Donald Trump Tells Tall Tale Of General Pershing Killing Muslim Terrorists)
“They had a terrorism problem and there’s a whole thing with swine and animals and pigs, and you know the story, okay, they don’t like that,” Trump began his self-described “terrible story.”
“And General Pershing was a rough guy, and he sits on his horse very astute like a ramrod,” Trump continued.
“And he took the 50 terrorists and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs’ blood,” Trump informed the audience. “And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the 50 people and they shot 49 of those people and the fiftieth person, he said ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.'”
In December, Trump called for a moratorium on allowing Muslims to enter the United States “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” and because “there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.” (RELATED: Trump Calls For Moratorium On Muslims Entering United States)
In its letter challenging Trump to a debate, the Muslim Public Affairs Council told Trump that Muslims in the United States “will no longer be bullied” and “will no longer be your punching bag.” (RELATED: From Immigration To Abortion, Longtime Democrat Donald Trump Must Reckon With His Rich Progressive History)
The nonprofit Muslim Public Affairs Council, founded in 1988, is an advocacy group that defends the civil rights of American Muslims.
Salam Al-Marayati, the president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council and a self-described “expert on Islam in the West,” has refused to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and has suggested that the life of American revolutionary Patrick Henry is a good example of jihad, according to Discover the Networks, a website run by conservative activist David Horowitz.
As of 2015, the Pew Research Center estimated that about 3.3 million Muslims currently reside in the United States.