Leaders of Muslim-American communities and organizations congratulated Donald Trump, and implored the president-elect to change his tone and protect the rights of all Americans, at a Wednesday afternoon news conference held by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and live-streamed on the organization’s Facebook page. The Republican nominee, whose decisive victory Tuesday night startled many in both political parties, had spewed anti-Muslim rhetoric throughout his campaign.
“Today, we offer our reaction to what happened last night,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “As citizens of this great nation, we accept the result of the democratic process,” he noted, before reminding listeners that regardless of who is elected president, “American Muslims are here to stay” and “will not be intimidated or marginalized.” He added, “We will hold the new president to the highest standard of protecting rights of all those residing in this great nation.”
Several leaders who spoke after Awad on Wednesday touched on similar points, congratulating Trump on his win and emphasizing that accepting the results of the election and the peaceful transfer of power are vital characteristics of American democracy. But then they addressed the divisive, hateful nature of the campaign, acknowledged the fears that have been stoked as a result, called on the new president and his administration to unite the nation, and promised to continue working indefatigably to ensure that all Americans feel safe and can enjoy their constitutional rights.