A Muslim member of the US Congress says he has received a death threat amid the increasing Islamophobic rhetoric in the United States.
“I just received a death threat yesterday in my own office, and it’s largely in part to this toxic environment,” Rep. Andre Carson, one of two Muslim members of Congress, said Tuesday on CNN.
“What concerns me is you have the demagoguery taking place from people who are seeking to become president of the United States. You have other politicians who are joining the bandwagon and who are fanning the flames of bigotry,” he added.
Carson, a Democrat from Indiana, made the comments a day after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump provoked a firestorm by calling for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States.
The proposal, the most provocative in a string of “racist” and “bigoted” remarks by the billionaire businessman, drew strong criticism from other presidential candidates and the White House.
Carson’s chief of staff, Kim Rudolph, said the threat has been reported to law enforcement authorities. Rudolph said she couldn’t provide details about the threat because the investigation was ongoing.
“It’s always a concern when someone goes through the effort of announcing that they want to do you bodily harm,” she said. “But at no time has it stopped him from doing the people’s work.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Trump’s plan to bar Muslims, including US citizens, from entering the US “disqualifies” him from presidency.
“What Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president,” Earnest said on Tuesday. “What Mr. Trump said is deeply offensive… It’s morally reprehensible. It runs counter to the US Constitution.”
Trump, whose campaign has been marked by controversy from the beginning, stood by his proposal on Tuesday, saying it was a temporary move in response to terrorism threats in the country.
He also threatened to depart the GOP and run as an independent candidate.
The latest wave of Islamophobia in the US has been fueled by last week’s terror attack in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 people were killed and 21 others were wounded.
Only hours after news broke that suspects had Muslim names, American Muslims strongly condemned the incident.
Muslims across the United States say they are experiencing a wave of death threats, assaults and vandalism unlike anything they have experienced since the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to The New York Times.