We expected to be asked to leave. But I was surprised at how quickly the crowd became so hateful. People who I’d connected with also seemed surprised by the crowd’s reaction. One woman even took my hand and said “I’m so sorry.” However, the rest of the crowd, stirred by the fear and hate-speech Trump was spewing, took on a mob mentality and shouted hateful things to my face.
One man asked me if I had a bomb, to which I smiled and replied, “No, do you?” Another got in my face and said “Boo, get out of here, we don’t want your kind here,” to which I smiled again and said “You don’t know me, why would you say something like that?” I tried to speak to and connect with the people yelling at me in an effort to break their “trance” and have them see me as a person, but their eyes seemed glazed over.
I was astonished by the international media attention I’ve received since the rally. I felt a great responsibility to represent my faith and my country with clarity and dignity. The clip of me being escorted out, while people yelled and jeered at me, was seen around the world. It made America look like a country of intolerant bigoted racists.