Muslims have taken to Twitter to helpfully “report stuff”, following Donald Trump’s response to a question in the second presidential debate about combating rising Islamophobia.
Gorbah Hamed, an undecided Muslim voter from Missouri, had asked Trump and Hillary Clinton what they would do to “help people like me deal with the consequences of being labelled a threat to the country”.
Trump agreed that Islamophobia existed: “And that’s a shame.”
But, he added, “whether we like it or not, there is a problem” with Islamic extremism.
His proposed solution was that Muslims should “come in and report when they see something going on”.
Moustafa Bayoumi, a writer and associate professor of English at Brooklyn College at the City University of New York, joked on Twitter that he was Muslim – “and I would like to report a crazy man threatening a woman on a stage in Missouri”.
Bayoumi published a book, How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America, in 2008 that traced the experiences of young Arab-Americans navigating life in the US after 9/11.
Bayoumi’s tweet went viral, sparking the hashtag #MuslimsReportStuff as Muslim Twitter users acted on Trump’s suggestion – several referencing the Republican candidate himself.
Trump had backed up the importance of Muslims reporting “hatred” and suspected terrorist activity with a reference to a mass shooting in California last December.
Trump has repeatedly and baselessly said people saw bombs and “suspicious behaviour” before the San Bernardino shooting.
During the debate, he said “many people saw the bombs all over the apartment” of Syed Rizwan Farook, a US citizen, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, a permanent resident, before they massacred 14 people at a holiday party.
“Muslims have to report the problems when they see them, and there’s always a reason for everything – if they don’t do that, it’s a very difficult situation for our country,” he said.
Of the temporary ban on Muslims entering the US he has previously proposed, Trump said it was now called “extreme vetting”.
Twitter didn’t let that pass without comment, either.
Emily Nussbaum, the New Yorker’s television critic, defined it as “like heavy petting, but heavier”.
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