WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- Congressman Jason Chaffetz met with members of the local Muslim community Monday to address some of the anti-Islamic beliefs that have surfaced on a national scale over the past few weeks.
The meeting took place at the Khadeeja Islamic Center in West Valley City.
“It’s sad that innocent people have to suffer,” said Imam Mohammad Mehtar.
Mehtar said he has seen firsthand, people in his community ostracized, and they don’t know how to respond.
“We have heard of individuals being harassed in schools, especially women who sometimes where the head scarf -- they have been picked upon,” Mehtar said.
Mehtar said it is heartbreaking that some Americans look at his friends and family as if they had something to do with the attacks in Paris and San Bernadino.
He said Donald Trump calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. hasn’t helped.
“If you ask me about Mr. Trump’s statement, number one, it was, what I would call, sad humor, that’s all it was. The America that I know will not do that, it will not ban individuals,” Mehtar said.
Chaffetz said Trump’s comments are intolerable, and is more than willing to stand up for his Muslim constituents.
“To start suggesting that an entire class of people an entire religion be banned at anything is totally irresponsible,” Chaffetz said.
Chaffetz answered questions for more than an hour. He said he really wants to understand the issues that plague Utah Muslims on a daily basis.
“I think the congressman coming here is very important and it is to reduce these seeming tensions that we are seeing out there,” Mehtar said.
Chaffetz said he doesn’t want Muslims to cower in fear; he wants them to be proud of their religion.
“Stand true and tall for who you are and know that we love and care for you,” Chaffetz said.