Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Local Muslim Business Owners Fear Trump Presidency

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Local Muslim Business Owners Fear Trump Presidency

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Muslim business owners in Oklahoma are worried about a Donald Trump presidency.

Political polls project that the state is one of the most likely to throw all its electoral votes to the Republican candidate in November, and Trump has said several times that Muslims need to be kept out of the country. It logically follows that if Trump is elected, a shift in the political power could follow his will, said Adam Soltani, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Oklahoma chapter.

Over the weekend, graffiti was painted on the wall of the OK Halal Meat & Grocery, 3620 NW 39th St., identifying a nearby mosque's youth director by name. And an imam and a second Muslim in the Queens area of New York were fatally shot Saturday, an action that some Muslim leaders have said was driven by anti-Islamic sentiments fueled by Trump's rhetoric.

"If that sort of situation can happen in New York, where they have more diversity, it's even scarier in Oklahoma," said Satima Naeem, manager at Sheesh Mahal restaurant, 4621 N. May Ave. "We're constantly thinking about this all the time. It's not just a matter of me talking to you for a story. It's always."

Saad Muhammad at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City said he's heard much the same from other Muslims. The general sense is that if Trump is elected, Muhammad said, running a business in the U.S. will become much harder.

"When Muslims are painted as the bad guy, people will shy away from transactions," Muhammad said. "It feels like, with the way Donald Trump is speaking, he is definitely going to try to make it unlawful to deal with Muslim businesses."

Several Muslim business operators were reluctant to speak on the record. For example, a metro homebuilder and a construction general contractor, both Muslims, declined to comment on the topic. The latter agreed to an interview but said she changed her mind after discussing it with her business partner and leadership team.

Soltani said the Muslim community wants to express appreciation for the support shown by allies in Oklahoma, but many business owners shy away from media attention for fear of being misunderstood and making matters worse. …

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