Muslim, Sikh backers of Trump speak out
Supporters at Annapolis rally praise president on economy, immigration
Dozens of protesters gathered Saturday on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis to talk about President Donald Trump. This time, they were supporting him. About 50 people of diverse backgrounds who turned out for the Making America Great Again, Already! rally wore Trump T-shirts and hats, posed for pictures with Trump signs and waved Trump flags to show their support for the president’s agenda. It is the same site at which numerous rallies have been held by speakers critical of the president.
The president “has people against him … from within the party, from the media. We are here to support and endorse what he has been doing for the military and the economy,” said Sajid Tarar, a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan and founder of Muslim Americans for Trump.
The rally was held the same day as marches with speakers expected to be critical of the president were staged across the country in support of racial justice. A similar rally is planned today at Lawyers Mall.
But Saturday, those outside the State House had a different message.
The rally, co-sponsored by Muslim Americans for Trump and Sikh Americans for Trump, was intended to bring together minority communities not typically associated with Trump’s largely white base and demonstrate support for Trump’s ideas.
Tarar, an Owings Mills resident, has been a vocal Trump supporter from early on; he prayed onstage at the Republican National Convention and spoke in favor of the then-candidate.
Trump’s statements about Muslims and Islam are not directed at the faith as a whole, Tarar said, nor at every MuslimAmerican.
He said Trump’s travel ban, which originally blocked immigrants from Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, isn’t a ban at all but a pause, to ensure thorough vetting of the people from these countries.
Sikh Americans for Trump founder Jesse Singh also immigrated to the U.S. — “legally,” Singh told the crowd. Like Tarar, he attended the president’s inauguration.
Singh said that when he first arrived in Dulles International Airport in Virginia, he was impressed by the modern terminals and buses. But the bus that he took in 1986 is the same bus he is still taking today, he said, adding that the more impressive airports are now the ones in his home country, India.
“So, when Donald Trump says our infrastructure has gone down, he’s totally right,” said Singh, a Maryland resident.
Other speakers, including Republican strategist and commentator Ivan GarciaHidalgo, praised the president’s crackdown on immigration and promise to build a border wall.
At one point, a “Build that wall!” chant briefly broke out among the rally-goers.
Garcia-Hidalgo spoke of a booming economy, a low unemployment rate and a strong stock market, and defended Trump’s response to the devastation to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
Michael Cohen, who serves as Trump’s personal lawyer, also spoke at the rally via phone and thanked those gathered for their support.
Congress has not yet approved funding for the border wall, but the Trump administration has announced companies that are building prototypes. Additionally, Congress has not passed any economic legislation, but the administration introduced its own tax reform plan Wednesday.
All minorities are not against the president, Singh said.
“Minorities have the same agenda as any other Americans,” he said. “We want America to be great again.”
Supporters of President Donald Trump attend Saturday’s rally at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. The event was held to counter rallies criticizing the president.