A Muslim man says he and a Hispanic friend were randomly attacked by a man who chanted “Trump, Trump, Trump” and “make America great again”, GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s popular tagline.
At a press conference in Wichita, Kansas Monday, Khondoker Usama, 23, gave his account of what happened early Saturday morning as he and his friend stopped at a convenience store to get fuel and some drinks.
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Usama, who is student body vice president at Wichita State University (WSU), said they were going about their business when a man approached and confronted them.
“He was yelling at my friend, calling him ‘brown trash’ and telling him, ‘you wanna live in this country? You gotta leave this country!’,” Usama said.
“Things escalated really quick.”
In a security camera video of the incident released by police, Usama and his friend can be seen standing outside the car at the gas pump when a man pulls up on a motorcycle.
While there is no audio on the video, the man is seen exchanging words with Usama’s friend. The man then starts swinging.
Usama appears to try to calm the situation, and the man then pushes Usama. The altercation continues for a few more minutes.
“The person kept kicking my friend, it was a gut-wrenching scene,” Usama said.
“That person was shouting and screaming, chanting like ‘Trump, Trump, Trump, we’ll make America great again, we’ll throw you out of the wall.’”
Despite having no political experience, Trump has charged to the front of the GOP pack in his bid for the Republican nomination and a shot at the White House. He has said he supports building a wall spanning the United States-Mexico border, deporting undocumented immigrants, and banning all Muslims from entering the U.S.
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Recently Trump’s rallies have become increasing heated as protesters and his supporters clash; last week a Chicago rally was cancelled due to the violence.
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In the video Usama is seen on the phone with 9-1-1 as the man gets back on his motorcycle.
Before the man drives away, he circles the men on his motorcycle while yelling out that Trump is winning, chanting Trump’s name and calling them losers, according to Usama.
“There is nothing else to say other than it was a hate crime,” Usama says.
The Kansas chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) says it wants Trump to denounce the alleged attacker’s actions and statements.
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Wichita police say they are investigating the incident and are looking at it as a hate crime.
Usama says he is grateful for the support he has received after deciding to go public. He’s asking others to denounce the “bigotry and hatred” he faced that night.
“If we allow this kind of hatred towards each other, then we can’t make America great again.”
In a statement WSU president John Bardo condemned “all acts of anger and violence motivated by racism and intolerance.”
“At WSU, we constantly strive to build an environment where a diversity of culture, thought, experience and opinion can coexist in harmony. This core value is vital to the success of the university and to the nation as a whole,” Bardo said.
“We would ask that the community keep this in mind as debate and discussion continue during a heated presidential election season.”
Trump maintains a commanding lead in the race for the Republican nomination. On Wednesday, he stated that if the party tries to block the nomination there would be “riots.”