CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rose Hamid attended one of Donald Trump's rallies in silent protest over some of his campaign statements, but by the time the South Carolina event was over, the Muslim woman said she had been heckled by people in the crowd and escorted out by security guards. Now she's awaiting a response from the Republican front-runner.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has issued a call to the campaign of the GOP contender to apologize over Hamid's treatment at the event Friday night. And Hamid said by Saturday afternoon she hadn't received any response.
"I would like to hear what Trump has to say about it," she told The Associated Press by phone. "I'd like to hear because if they say that it was because we were disrupting things, then I would like him to show evidence of where the disruption came, because the disruption didn't come from me. It came from his followers because they saw me."
Trump didn't address the incident on Saturday while campaigning in Ottumwa, Iowa. But he defended his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country. He said his call had changed the dialogue and drawn attention to radical Islamic terrorism, which he described as "a very deep-seated problem that we have in this country and throughout the world.'"
Besides seeking an apology, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad called on Trump to meet with American Muslim leaders to help stem the anti-Muslim sentiment they said is being produced by his rhetoric and that of other Republican presidential hopefuls.
The Charlotte-based flight attendant said she joined thousands of others at Friday's rally by the Republican presidential frontrunner at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She said there were no problems as she waited in line to enter and hear Trump speak. In fact, she said, one woman came up to her and said she was glad to see her at the rally.
"I didn't get a bad vibe from anyone," she said. "The people I made personal contact with were very pleasant."
Hamid said the mood shifted once the rally began, adding the spotlight began to shift to her.
"My intention was to stand up when he said something that was offensive, not just for Muslims but for anyone," she said.
It was when Hamid stood up that she said people around her began to chant "Trump, Trump, Trump." She said organizers had told the audience that if they saw anyone attempting to disrupt his speech, they were to begin chanting to point where the protester was located.
People behind her began chanting, she said, and Trump soon acknowledged the chant. At that point, Hamid said she and a fellow protester were asked to leave.
Then, she said, came the verbal taunts from the audience.
"There was a guy who was saying 'Do you have a bomb Do you have a bomb?' This is an older man," Hamid said. "And I said 'No, do you have a bomb?'" She said another man yelled at her to get out. Hamid said security officials didn't touch her as they led her out, adding "I was glad that nobody got physical and did anything scary."
Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Ottumwa, Iowa, contributed to this report.