Long-shot Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley visited a northern Virginia mosque Friday to express solidarity with Muslims following Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban them from entering the country.
"In these times, I suppose, where fear and division is in the air, it is easy for unscrupulous politicians or hate preachers ... to turn us upon ourselves,” the former Maryland governor said during an appearance at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center in Sterling, Va. “But that sort of language that you hear from Donald Trump is not the language of America's future.”
“I know the language of America's future,” O’Malley said. “I speak to our young people under 30 every single day, and I rarely find among them any who feel like Donald Trump."
O’Malley, who is lagging in the Democratic race far behind former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said “we particularly need our Muslim neighbors.”
“They are our doctors. They are our engineers. They are our lawyers,” O’Malley said in comments that were streamed online.
Clinton and Sanders have also strongly condemned Trump’s call this week for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States in the wake of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. In a moment of powerful symbolism, O’Malley became the first to voice that sentiment at a mosque.
The suspects in San Bernardino were reportedly radicalized Muslims.
“I know, and I know that our young people understand, that the tragic murders that took place in San Bernardino does not define Islam any more than that horrible murder that took place in Charleston defines Christianity,” O’Malley said, referring to the June shooting of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina.