At a campaign event for Donald Trump on Friday in Rock Hill, South Carolina, a Muslim woman stood in silent protest when Trump suggested that Syrian war refugees “probably are ISIS,” leading to her ejection from the rally by police officers and campaign staff. Fifty-six-year-old Rose Hamid, who works as a flight attendant, wore a white hijab and turquoise t-shirt which said “Salam, I come in peace.” Trump’s supporters noticed Hamid, who along with a couple of other protesters at the event, was wearing a yellow eight-pointed star that said “Muslim” (similar in style to the ones Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust). The crowd subsequently responded to the protest by chanting Trump’s name, something CNN reports they had been instructed to do by campaign staff should any kind of protest happen at the event. In fact, it was the crowd’s raucous reaction that ultimately ended up disrupting Trump’s speech.
The silent protest had been organized by a spokesman for a local Islamic center. Prior to the event, Hamid told CNN that she had come to to make sure Trump supporters would be exposed to an actual Muslim, rather than just the bogeyman stereotype pushed by the candidate and news reports. “I figured that most Trump supporters probably never met a Muslim so I figured that I’d give them the opportunity to meet one,” she explained. While she was being kicked out, the crowd booed and jeered, at times scaring Hamid. She said that one audience member told her, “You have a bomb,” but some near where she was sitting were apologetic as well, and earlier one woman had told her she looked “like a good one.”
The Washington Post notes that Trump was at first unaware of what was happening, before eventually resuming his speech after Hamid was escorted out:
We have a problem, and it’s going to be solved, but we have to understand the problem. We have to know the problem, and before we do anything and before we do anything stupid, we have to know what we’re doing. So we do have a real problem. We do have a real problem. There is such a level of hatred that you can’t even believe it. There’s a hatred, a deep-seated hatred. We have to find out where it’s coming from and what can we do about it?
NBC News points out that two other women in headscarves have silently protested Trump at previous rallies but were not ejected.
A police officer told CNN that Hamid and the other protesters were ejected because the campaign had instructed them to remove “anybody who made any kind of disturbance.” Attendees at the South Carolina event had been told beforehand that no protests would be tolerated, and that those wishing to protest should confine themselves to a free speech zone set up outside the arena.
Here is CNN’s report on the story and interview with Hamid: