When asked about what he’d do to combat Islamophobia, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump responded in the most Islamophobic way possible.
Gorbah Hamed, an undecided Muslim voter, posed this question during the second presidential debate on Sunday night: “Islamophobia is on the rise. How will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled as a threat to the country after the election is over?”
The 31-year-old mother’s question was an important one. Anti-Muslim hate crimes have become much more common in the years after September 11. In 2016 alone, The Huffington Post has documented 261 instances of violence, harassment, intimidation or bigotry against American Muslims.
Instead of addressing Hamed’s question about the rise in Islamophobia, Trump turned the question around with an accusation against American Muslims, suggesting that they need to do more to report potential signs of extremism in their communities.
“We have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it,” Trump said during the town hall-style debate.
This is despite the fact that American Muslims already do report suspicious activity to the government. Shortly after the Orlando nightclub attack, the FBI’s director James Comey said that American Muslims have “repeatedly informed authorities of fellow Muslims they fear might be turning to extremism,” according to Reuters.
But facts have never seemed to deter Trump from saying what his supporters want to hear him say. He reaffirmed on Sunday that he’s determined to use religion as a tool for discrimination ― saying that his controversial proposed ban against Muslims entering the country has “morphed into [an] extreme vetting from certain areas of the world,” i.e., from Muslim-majority countries.
American Muslims retaliated quickly on social media to Trump’s request that, “If you see something, say something.” In fact, they saw quite a lot that they disagreed with and had plenty to say.
Soon after, American Muslims began tweeting with the hashtag #MuslimsReportStuff, alerting the public to all sorts of problems they spotted during the debate.
Some used the opportunity to call out suspicious activity within their own households.
It got personal, real quick.
Others pointed out strange behavior and occurrences within society at large.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.