PRI interviews New Jersey couple Omar Awad and Marwah Maasarani on their perspectives watching the Republican convention as Muslims. Ms. Maasarani, who wears the hijab, says she’s an observant Muslim, “I’m also an American, a devout American, I guess you could say.” Her husband, Mr. Owad, is president of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, the largest mosque in the area.
Here are a few snippets of their thoughts on the convention:
“After a lot of the different terror attacks that took place throughout the globe, Donald Trump was saying we need to ban Muslims and figure out what the hell is going on,” says Mr. Awad. “I don’t think Muslims are an epidemic.”
“I think what’s concerning is that the fear mongering is working and people are behind the hate speech,” says Ms. Maasarani. “It’s a little concerning that there are so many people that are OK with that.”
In his speech, Donald Trump said “America must “suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism.” Ms. Maasarani comments on that, “So he’s kind of put some parameters to the blanket statement that he made a ban on Muslims. The ones that have been compromised.’ What does that mean? Only some countries? Either way it’s troublesome.”
In what may be a surprising revelation to some, the couple told PRI that back in 2011, Governor Chris Christie appointed a Muslim lawyer to be a judge in New Jersey Superior Court in Passaic County and seemed a supporter. “Chris Christie came to our center before he was governor,” says Mr. Awad. “He knows the Muslim community firsthand. He turned his back on the Muslim community. It was very disappointing.”