A boy who has said he wants to be the first Muslim president is taking on Donald Trump, ahead of Republican presidential nominee's appearance in Minneapolis scheduled for Friday.
Yusuf Dayur, 12, said Trump says things that fuel ill-will toward his fellow Muslims. Trump's campaign is instilling fear in people, Dayur said, "who do not really know what Islam stands for and do not really know what the Muslim community believes."
At a speech in Maine earlier this month, Trump said the U.S. does not do a good job of vetting refugees, which he says raises safety issues in Minnesota.
"Creating an enclave of immigrants with high unemployment that is both stressing the state's — I mean the state is having tremendous problems — its safety net, and creating a rich pool of potential recruiting targets for Islamic terror groups," Trump said.
In Minnesota, 10 young men of Somali or Oromo descent have been charged with conspiring to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS. Six pleaded guilty, three were convicted and a 10th is believed dead. In addition, more than 20 young men traveled to Somalia to join the ranks of the terror group al-Shabab starting in 2007.
But those figures represent a small fraction of the tens of thousands of Somali-Americans who call Minnesota home.
Dayur said he feels like Trump was painting all Muslims with a broad brush. A student at Central Middle School in Eden Prairie, Dayur said he's experienced discrimination based on his religion.
One day, Dayur said, a kid came up to him while he walked down the hall. "And he said, 'Why do your people attack us for no reason," said Dayur, who began to get choked up. "I just walked away. I didn't know what to do."
Dayur said he told the school's principal and he's had no problems since then. And he said the school is very accepting and allows him to pray during the day.
Dayur spoke at a press conference on Friday hosted by CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations. At the press conference, several other young Muslims called on Trump to apologize for comments he's made, which they say denigrate Islam and Muslims.
A spokesman for Trump's Minnesota campaign said the candidate would not respond to comments made by CAIR. However, NPR reported that during a campaign rally Thursday night, Trump admitted he sometimes chooses the "wrong words," although he didn't specify which comments he regretted.
This is not the first time Dayur has criticized a Republican candidate. Last year, Dayur made a video to respond to Ben Carson after the Republican presidential hopeful said he couldn't vote for a Muslim as president.
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.