As Rose Hamid, an American Muslim, waited in line to enter a campaign rally for GOP frontrunner Donald Trump in Rock Hills, South Carolina, she was pleased to find that people were very kind to her. She had wondered if they would even let her in with her hijab, but Trump supporters at the event did more than that.
“The people who were around me were kind. They were very welcoming. They were taking pictures. People offered popcorn,” Hamid told INSIDER.
But that sense of welcoming did not last long for Hamid, 56, a flight attendant who said she went to the Jan. 8 rally to protest the candidate.
Before Trump took the stage, the announcer introduced a song for President Obama. He played “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” a song that Hamid interpreted as a jab against the Democratic president who shed tears while remembering the young lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary as he announced his executive action to make changes to gun laws.
“Whoever had the mic said, ‘Mr. Trump supports the first amendment almost as much as he supports the second amendment,'” Hamid said.
She also recalled that Trump supporters were told to shout the candidate’s last name over and over as a way to point out disruptors.
Hamid attended the rally as part of Go Yellow Against Hate, a group whose stated goal is “to counter the recent increase in Islamophobia and attacks on Muslim institutions.” According to Hamid, some of the members of the group have been forcefully ejected from Trump rallies in the past, but they continue to show up to protest what they perceive to be Trump’s divisive language.
Hamid, who was sitting several rows behind the candidate, said she was removed from the stadium after standing and putting on a yellow star — the group’s adopted symbol — when Trump started talking about the problem of radical Islam in the U.S. and the world. People around her started yelling “Trump, Trump, Trump!” after other members of her group, who were protesting more vocally, were kicked out, she said.
“When you start demonizing other people, when you start planting these seeds of fear in other people, that fear is what leads to hate,” Hamid said. “And when you start saying things like see how they hate us, then they say, ‘well if they hate us, I’m going to hate them right back.'”
In fact, in his speech that day, Trump spoke of hatred right after Hamid was ejected.
“There is not hatred on our behalf. There is hatred against us that is unbelievable and it’s their hatred. It’s not our hatred. It’s their hatred,” Trump told the crowd. In a video captured by a Trump supporter and posted on YouTube, Hamid is seen being escorted out by guards. She stops to respond to each person who is yelling at her. One man asked her if she brought a bomb to a rally, Hamid said..
“How do you get decent people, to behave in a way that is unacceptable, and is murderous at times? It’s that whole mob mentality that takes over,” Hamid said. “The language is very dangerous.”
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