On Monday night, CNN hosted a town hall event in Iowa, offering voters a chance to ask the Democratic presidential candidates questions on a wide array of issues.
At one point, a Muslim-American woman and Air Force veteran named Erum Tariq-Munir asked Hillary Clinton about the rise of Islamophobia in America and what she plans to do to keep Muslim families safe.
“How can I make sure that this country is the best place on Earth to raise my family?” a Muslim military vet asks Clinton. #DemTownHall — Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) January 26, 2016
Clinton thanked the woman for her service and responded with an impassioned critique of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his rhetoric. She said,
One of the most distressing aspects of this campaign has been the language of Republican candidates, particularly their front-runner, that insults, demeans, denigrates different people. He has cast a wide net. He started on Mexicans. He's currently on Muslims. But I found it particularly harmful the way that he has talked about Muslims, American Muslims and Muslims around the world. It's not only shameful and contrary to our values to say that people of a certain religion should never come to this country or to claim that there are no real people of the Muslim faith who share our values. And to have the kind of dismissive and insulting approach, it's not only shameful and offensive – which it is – I think it's dangerous. It's dangerous because American Muslims deserve better, and now their children and they are the target of Islamophobia, of threats. I've met a number of parents who have said their children are afraid to go to school because they're worried about how they will be treated. And we cannot tolerate this. And we must stand up and say every person in this country deserves to be treated with respect and we must stand up against the bullying.
Trump generated widespread criticism after he proposed banning all Muslim immigration to the US. Not long before that, Trump claimed he'd kick all Syrian refugees out of the US if he's elected president.
Clinton's response was a powerful rebuke of Trump's stances, and perhaps her strongest answer of the night.
Hate crimes against Muslims have tripled since the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and the xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric of politicians like Trump has certainly not helped in this regard.
Clinton is right, American Muslims deserve far better and we cannot stand idly by in the face of rampant discrimination.