Guardian reporter Sabrina Siddiqui met a lot of people during her time covering the 2016 presidential campaign — but not all of them were friendly faces.
Writing about her experience covering this year’s election, Siddiqui explained that many voters she talked with would often speak in candid — and frightening — terms to discuss their feelings about Muslims.
One Republican voter she met at a campaign event for Sen. Rand Paul, for example, told her that he believed Muslims should all be killed if they didn’t willingly leave the country.
“We should exterminate them,” said the man, who apparently didn’t realize Siddiqui was a Muslim.
While she initially chalked up the man’s unhinged rant as the ravings of just one nut, she soon came to realize that the fear being stoked against Muslims during this year’s election was part of a broader trend.
“Although his words remain with me 19 months later, I didn’t make too much of it then,” she writes. “Only now, in retrospect, does the encounter foreshadow the anger and fear that was a dominant theme of the 2016 campaign… There were many more chilling conversations with those who, like the man in South Carolina, wished aloud for violence and concentration camps.”