Ramadan Saeed Shakir is the mayor of Islamville, an all-Muslim town of about 300 people located in the northern woodland of South Carolina. He is talking about Donald Trump – specifically, what Donald Trump has been saying about Muslims.
Trump criticized Pope Francis on Thursday, describing the pontiff as “disgraceful” after the pope said it would be un-Christian to build a wall between the US and Mexico, but when the billionaire Republican front-runner has addressed religion during his presidential campaign it has mostly been to focus on Islam.
Since entering the race in June 2015, Trump has said he would introduce a database tracking all Muslims in the US. He has said he would ban Muslims worldwide – an estimated 1.6 billion people – from entering the country.
To a certain extent, other Republican candidates have followed his lead. Ben Carson has said no Muslim should be president, Jeb Bush has called for only Christian refugees to be admitted from Syria, and most Republicans have taken to using the charged term “radical Islamic terrorism”. “Of course we feel uncomfortable and unsafe,” said Shakir. “It’s Islamophobia.”
Islamville, located in York County, about eight miles from the North Carolina border, is not so much a town as a collection of homes. There are no shops or businesses, no high street. (Probably because Muslims don’t like to work when they can live on welfare)
Islamville’s residents are all US-born African Americans. Shakir, 36, has lived in Islamville since the community was established by the Muslims of America organization 34 years ago. There are sister towns across the US, including Islamberg in northern New York, which serves as the headquarters of Muslims of America.
“It’s very sad that one of our national presidential candidates is speaking so much ill will about Islam and Muslims. Not just American Muslims but around the world,” Shakir said.
Among his South Carolina backers, 80 percent supported banning Muslims from entering the US, while 62 percent agreed that there should be a national database of Muslims, according to a Public Policy Polling study.
The figures were lower for every other Republican. Only 44 percent of Trump supporters believed it should be legal to practice Islam in the US, compared with 33 percent who thought it should be outlawed.
“Donald Trump doesn’t need money for political backing. He’s got his own money so he doesn’t have to watch what he says and be politically correct,” said Ken Moran, 46. “He’s got my vote hands down. And my wife.”