Saba Ahmed — famous for her TV appearances in an American flag — founded the Republican Muslim Coalition in 2012, finding that a lot of her own values matched those of traditional Republicanism.
“My stance on pro-life, pro-traditional family and marriage, support for low taxes, business, trade, defence, are all a lot of the major issues that are important to the Republican party,” Ahmed told INSIDER.
Yet, Ahmed admits that there is a lot of Islamophobia in her party, particularly following crimes done by people who purport to justify their violence with Islam.
“The wave of anti-Muslim backlash starts any time there’s any Muslim involved in any type of criminal activity,” she said. “I just hope that we can move beyond that, and hopefully not let that define Islam and Muslims in America.”
She’s found that many Republican presidential candidates aren’t Islamophobic — they just surround themselves with the wrong advisors. For instance, when she met Ben Carson, she said that he named Frank Gaffney as an advisor, who is known to promote numerous conspiracy theories about shadowy Muslim forces exerting power in America.
Her biggest challenge, though, is Donald Trump, who raised the possibility of shutting down mosques if he were to be elected president. Ahmed has gone on Fox News to argue with a Trump representative about the subject, but thinks Trump will eventually come around.
“We have the whole next year to educate [Trump] on Islam and Muslims,” she said. “We’re hoping that by the time he gets out of the presidential race, he will have learned quite a few things about Islam and Muslims. We’re hoping we can host him at a mosque or something. I don’t think he’s ever been to one.”
Story by Jacob Shamsian and editing by Ben Nigh
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