Muslims, faith leaders say Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ proposal will only further divide Americans

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sending shock waves across the country, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump isn't backing down on his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. This, as he's getting plenty of backlash from fellow presidential contenders and leaders in the Republican Party.

Donald Trump

Here in southeastern Wisconsin, Muslims and other faith leaders say suggestions like that made by Trump only serve to divide Americans.

That includes one group that knows all too well what hate can cause people to do.

The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin was the scene of a mass shooting in 2012. A gunman killed six people and severely wounded an Oak Creek policeman before turning the gun on himself.

Authorities labeled it a hate crime.

Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting victims

Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting victims

Members of the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek say they're worried some of Trump's rhetoric could inspire a similar attack.

Amar Singh Kaleka

Amar Singh Kaleka

"We know first-hand the damages of hate speech and here's a person who uses hate speech in his business, to drive his numbers, and now he's running as a politician and he's using hate speech constantly," Amar Singh Kaleka said.

Kaleka lost his father on August 5th, 2012.

Investigators believe hate drove a man to kill six worshippers that day.

Kaleka says Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States makes him uneasy.

"I thought to myself 'this man must be totally unhinged.' As Jeb Bush would say, 'he's totally gone off the deep end,'" Kaleka said.

Othman Atta

Othman Atta

"I fear the things Trump says will empower some of the more xenophobic and hateful members of his community and people who are following him to act on some of their hate," Othman Atta, director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee said.

Atta says he thinks the biggest misconception about Muslims in America is that they don't try to fit in.

"You go to many of the physicians in town -- they're actually Muslims. Engineers, business owners, many things. Muslims are actually very well integrated into the fabric of the United States," Atta said.

Islamic Society of Milwaukee

Islamic Society of Milwaukee

The fabric of Milwaukee's Interfaith Conference includes 17 different faiths and denmonations.

Director Tom Heinen says Trump's comments show the group there is still more work to do.

"People tend to live in silo existences with people who think the same politically or religiously or racially or ethnically -- and we really have to break through those to live up to our best potential," Heinen said.

Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee

Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee

The Interfaith Conference tries to bring people together -- mainly through faith dinners.

The next one will come after the New Year, but hasn't yet been scheduled.

Both the Sikh Temple and Islamic Society of Milwaukee are members of the Interfaith Conference.

4 comments

  • Problemsolver

    Sorry for the loss of your father, but I think your taking Trumps comments out of context meaning you feel its aimed towards your “group or ethnicity” Your worried about future attacks upon your group or religion…. Well us as a current nation are most worried about NEW Muslims with the motive that we just seen last week in California.

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