Saba Ahmed, A Muslim Republican, Is Giving Donald Trump A Second Chance
Though his stinging rhetoric aimed toward minorities has made him an unlikely choice among Muslim voters, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump hasn't totally burned that bridge just yet, as one woman explained to Bustle at the convention. Saba Ahmed is a 31-year-old woman who is Muslim, proudly identifies with the Republican Party, and supports Trump. Though she's highly unsatisfied with Trump's attitude towards Islam as a religion, she tells Bustle that she's confident there's room for improvement.
Refusing to cut Trump any breaks, but also unwilling to abandon the Republican Party, Ahmed is taking action to instigate the change she and so many other conservative Muslims desire. She adds that she will be meeting with Trump during an afternoon event on Thursday.
In November, Ahmed helped create the Republican Muslim Coalition, which encourages Muslims to become active in GOP politics. The site likens the Republican Party's pro-life stance and social conservatism to what it defines as traditional Islamic values. According to Ahmed, engaging the Muslim community in political discourse — both Democratic and Republican — is one of the most effective ways of convincing politicians like Trump to change the way they perceive the community.
In other words, theres is strength in numbers. Ahmed says that, along with at least 10 other Muslims, she attended the Republican National Convention with the intention of showing Trump that Islam, as a religion, is different than what he seems to think it is.
"I think Donald Trump is open to being influenced if we can lobby him and kind of let him learn about our community and what our concerns are," she says, adding that the Muslim community has the potential to play a tremendous role in helping the government root out radicalism. Ahmed has been attempting to contact the businessman since December, urging him to visit a mosque at least once. Since then, then she's been featured on Fox News several times.
Finally, she says, the campaign is giving her a chance to meet the nominee and let him know that not all Muslims are radicals. This harmful generalization is currently being perpetuated by Republicans' insistence upon using the term "radical Islam" to define a type of militant extremism that actually warps the true nature of Islam. "He doesn’t need to alienate most Muslims to talk about just the terrorists," Ahmed adds.
In an effort to alter Trump's overall attitude toward Muslims, Ahmed is choosing her battles carefully, and somewhat unexpectedly. Though she calls Trump's proposed ban on Muslims "very illegal and unconstitutional," for example, she dismisses it as campaign talk that will never come to fruition. "I’m more interested in his economic policies, in his business background, and how he will help America," she explains.
Spirits high, she tells Bustle that her experience at the RNC has been overwhelmingly positive. Hopefully, that means the Trump campaign has reconsidered its strategy after kicking a silent Muslim protester out of a South Carolina campaign event in January. "I wish there were more Muslims involved within the Republican party so that we could change their views," she says. "But at least we’re starting somewhere, and I do feel very welcomed here."
"He doesn’t need to alienate most Muslims to talk about just the terrorists," Ahmed adds.
Willing to give Trump a second chance to warmly welcome the Muslim community into Republican politics, Ahmed is offering the candidate a connection that may prove beneficial to his campaign in November. And with over 3.3 million American Muslims living in the U.S., he can't afford to maintain the verging-on-xenophobic attitude he's displayed in the past.
Image: Emily Shire (1)