Muslim leaders

Imam Muhammad Musri (center), president of American Islam and the Islamic Society of Central Florida, spoke at the Central Mosque of Charleston about combating Islamophobia in the U.S. He condemned Donald Trump’s remarks about killing Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood. File

File

A prominent Muslim leader sharply rebuked Donald Trump at the Central Mosque of Charleston on Friday in response to the Republican presidential front-runner’s recent remarks about killing Islamic terrorists with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.

“We are alarmed by the trend of the politics sweeping our nation this year in this election cycle, politics of division pitting Americans against each other, talking about building walls and dividing communities and shutting out immigrants,” said Imam Muhammad Musri, president of American Islam, a national Muslim organization, and the Islamic Society of Central Florida. “We ask our current politicians, we ask the people who are seeking office to stand up for the great ideals of this country and not to try to use the fear factor to divide us.”

At a rally in North Charleston on Feb. 19, one day before handily winning South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary, Trump told an audience of 2,500 a debunked story about U.S. Gen. John Pershing using pigs’ blood-drenched bullets to execute 49 Muslim insurgents sometime in the early 1900s.

“It borders on inciting people to carry out violence against Muslims using bullets dipped in pigs’ blood,” Musri said. “It’s irresponsible for a major candidate to speak like this.”

The real estate tycoon made headlines back in December after calling for an indefinite ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S. during a campaign event aboard the aircraft carrier Yorktown in Mount Pleasant. According to a CBS exit poll, three-fourths of GOP primary voters support Trump’s proposal.

Despite an uptick in anti-Muslim rhetoric in this election, Shahid Husain, president of the Central Mosque of Charleston, said the mosque hasn’t been targeted with any threats or harassment.

“We have been vigilant. We are putting all the security in place,” Husain said. “So far we have been fortunate and that’s one reason to open our mosque to people and say come over here, talk to us.”

The Central Mosque of Charleston will host an open house for the public at its location on the corner of King and Romney streets on April 30. For more information, go to www.charlestonmuslims.com.

Reach Deanna Pan at 843-937-5764.