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Why one Michigan Muslim is urging a more nuanced view of Trump’s base

Jan 3, 2017

Since Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th President of the United States, the reactions, both for and against, have been forceful. 

Many Americans are afraid of life under President Trump, based on campaign messages that regularly targeted people based on religion, gender, ethnicity, and race.

And they wonder: why would someone vote for a candidate whose rhetoric was so often hateful?

One possible conclusion is that those who did vote for Trump must share those hateful views.

Saeed Khan, a lecturer at Wayne State University who also teaches a course on Muslim-Christian diversity at Rochester College, is encouraging a more measured view.

In a recent article on ReligionNews.com, he compared such blanket assessments of Trump supporters to the false equivalency sometimes made between Muslims and terrorists:

...to infer that all of Trump’s supporters are rabid racists, or even motivated by such base impulses, would be as ironically absurd as those who contend that all Muslims are terrorists. An accurate assessment of the election and the reality of this nation requires nuance, not the replacement of one binary narrative with another.

Khan has an unusual perspective on the divide between the red and blue America. Although he did not support Trump himself, he is a native of Lapeer, a small town in a county that Trump won with over 60% of the vote.

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Khan believes that it was Trump’s economic message, not his hateful rhetoric, that helped him carry places like Lapeer.

“This is a community where my parents still live,” Khan told us. “They were there during 9-11. There was never an ounce of racism, there was never a matter of bigotry.”

Listen to our full interview with Saeed Kahn above. 

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