David Wright, the leader of anti-Muslim hate group Bureau of American-Islamic Relations, is no stranger to the labels of bigot and racist.
He became a controversial figure last year after publishing a list with addresses of “Muslims and Muslim sympathizers” living in the Dallas area on Facebook, whereas his organization gained notoriety earlier in 2015 for holding protests outside local mosques while carrying shotguns and other heavy-duty weapons.
BAIR is staunchly against accepting refugees from the Middle East into the United States. In fact, Wright repeatedly threatened to use any means necessary to fight against “Islamic extremists” and has even called out President Barack Obama for failing to curb the “problem.”
“For me and for my group, and for most of the people that we associate with, we’re not Trump fans. The majority of us aren’t,” Wright told PRI. “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. I don’t want someone like that running my country.”
Unsurprisingly, most of the group members appear to support Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. They assert their main concern is with the resettlement of Syrian refugees, and believe that instead of helping people from the war-zone, the government should do more to help veterans.
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Moreover, BAIR claims to have no problem with Muslims travelers or immigrants from Muslim countries (as long as they open up businesses and offer jobs to locals). Wright admits America has always been “a nation of immigrants.” However, he does have a problem with Trump’s initial reluctance in disavowing Klu Klux Klan and its former Grand Wizard David Duke.
“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,” Wright added. “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.”
When small-scale racists refuse to follow in the footsteps of the loudest bigot in the nation, it is safe to assume the latter has gone too far.
“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," explained Ibrahim Hooper, representative for the Council for American Islamic Relations. “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.”