A man known for intimidating Muslim people by, among other things, stalking mosques while armed, is now saying GOP candidate Donald Trump is too extreme for him.
David Wright heads the Bureau of American Islamic Relations and as of late last year started making a name for himself by standing outside religious centers with his group while carrying loaded weapons. But according to WCAI, Wright, who posts on social media with messages like, "We will use ALL LEGAL means necessary to fight against Islamic extremists that threaten our communities," thinks Trump is a racist.
“For me and for my group, and for most of the people that we associate with, we’re not Trump fans,” Wright told the public radio station. “The majority of us aren’t.”
Wright and his group say they are against refugees from Muslim countries resettling in the U.S., but says Trump has gone too far by promising to ban all Muslims from entering the country. He told WCAI he voted for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“It’s inefficient, ineffective, and it opens the door for him to be labeled a racist and a bigot and it takes the spotlight off the actual concern, which is our safety and security," he told WCAI. "I don’t want someone like that running my country."
Wright and his group have been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. But Wright says he believes Trump is racist.
“I don’t know him, so I can’t really say that. I can say that some of the things he says lead you to believe that, some of his actions have lead me to believe that," he told WCAI. “If I were Trump, I would have denounced David Duke and the KKK within 30 seconds, and he didn’t. To me, that’s a problem. I know why he did it. He has been getting the racist vote in every state so far, and he knows he’s got the racist vote. He doesn’t care that they’re racist. He just wants their votes.”
He says he is not against Muslims coming to the U.S.
A local Muslim leader questions Wright's words and motives, saying Trump's presidential bid has become so extreme that even extremists are backing off.
“The fact that you have an anti-Muslim hate group saying a candidate has gone too far really tells you where we are in this presidential election,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, told WCAI.
“Any time you force worshippers to walk through a cordon of armed men, that’s an act of intimidation in and of itself. That sends a message that as a religious minority they are not welcome and that they don’t have the same freedom to practice their faith that every other American does," Hooper added. Wright's group name plays on CAIR, which is the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country.
Wright went a step further in November when he published the names of addresses of Muslim families on his Facebook page in what some called yet another act of intimation.
"While it’s very nice that the Bureau of American Islamic Relations believes that Donald Trump has gone too far in his attacks on Muslims, the reality is that the group is really no better,” Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC, told WCAI. “When you parade around in front of mosques while carrying heavy weapons, it’s perfectly clear that your aim is to intimidate and demonize anyone whose faith is Islam, just as Trump has done.”