In the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, Donald Trump has repeatedly said the shooter’s family should never have been allowed into America because they are Muslim.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee emphasized that Omar Mateen, the American man who shot 49 people dead in a gay club in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday before being killed by police, was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan, in a speech following the shooting. He reiterated his threat to ban the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims from entering America, as well everyone from “areas of the world where there’s a proven history of terrorism” against the U.S. and its allies, implicitly referring to the 49 countries with a Muslim-majority population.
“The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place, was because we allowed his family to come here,” Trump said.
Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State militant group during the attack but whose motives are still being investigated, was born in New York in 1986, before his family moved to Florida five years later. His parents were among millions who fled Afghanistan after the Soviet Union invaded in 1979. His father Seddique Mateen, an amateur YouTube star with eccentric political views who made a homophobic statement in an interview about his son's actions, said whatever motivated his son had “nothing to do with religion.”
“The United States is the house that is always taking care of me, my family, all the people from my homeland,” he told reporters on Monday.
Had Trump been American president rather than an emerging celebrity and real-estate developer in the 1980s, and able to ban Seddique Mateen and millions of other Muslims from the U.S., America wouldn’t be America. Had Trump’s proposed Muslim ban been in place then, here are just some of the Muslims who would have never come to the U.S. and made America great.
Mohammad Salman Hamdani
On Sept. 11, 2001, Hamdani, a 23-year-old police cadet and volunteer emergency medical technician who was applying to medical school, was heading out on a date when he noticed the Twin Towers burning, and rushed to the scene to provide medical assistance, according to what his family and friends later pieced together.
Hamdani’s body was later found among the wreckage of the north tower. At his funeral, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the Muslim cadet “an example of how one can make the world better.”
Hamdani’s Pakistani parents brought him to New York as a baby in 1979. “Anybody who is born in this earth in America, it is like [being] born in heaven," his father Saleem told reporters.
Zewail won the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 1999 for helping to develop a new scientific field -- femtochemistry. His work made it possible to observe the movement of atoms in a femtosecond -- a millionth of a billionth of a second.
"By inventing these methods Zewail was the Christopher Columbus of the femtoworld, becoming the first to witness chemical events that occurred in quadrillionths of a second,” science historian Robert Paradowski wrote.
The son of an Egyptian motorbike mechanic, Zewail came to the U.S. to pursue his scientific ambitions and became a U.S. citizen in the early 1980s. His native Egypt was so proud of his work it issued two postage stamps in his honor.
In 2009, Zewail was appointed to a group of America’s leading scientists who act as presidential advisors. Zewail is “widely respected not only for his science but also for his efforts in the Middle East as a voice of reason,” the announcement from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology reads.
"I don't know all the reasons for these achievements, but I know that I love what I do and I have never wanted to rest on my laurels," Zewail wrote in his 2003 autobiography.
In 2010, Fakih, then 24 years old, was crowned Miss USA. The national beauty pageant was owned at the time by Trump.
Fakih’s Shia Muslim family moved to the U.S. from Lebanon in the early 1990s in the wake of the nation’s civil war. She was raised in New York before moving to Michigan.
"I'd like to say I'm American first, and I am an Arab-American," Fakih said in 2010. "I am Lebanese-American, and I am Muslim-American."
Khannouchi is the fastest American marathon runner alive. He set the world record for marathon in 1999 in Chicago, and held the record until 2003.
He was born in Morocco, but dissatisfied with his country’s athletic training resources, moved to New York in the early 1990s and made ends meet with a job washing dishes. At night, after work, he trained by running through the pot-holed streets of Brooklyn.
“It's my dream to run for America. I want to give something back,” Khannouchi said after he won his title in 1999. "The words 'thank you' are nothing. I really want to do something for America."
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct that the global Muslim population is 1.6 billion, not 1.6 million.