"This is outrageous from someone who wants to assume the highest office,” Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said at a Capitol Hill news conference, adding that Trump’s newly stated position is “un-American."
Awad opened the news conference praising President Obama’s call in his televised address Sunday not to target the U.S. Muslim community.
Against that backdrop, Awad said, "We were extremely shocked to see Donald Trump calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
He added: "Donald Trump sounds more like the leader of a lynch mob than a great nation like ours," calling his behavior "a great service to ISIS."
As for ISIS itself, Awad said the radical jihadist terrorist group "will not succeed in dividing Americans."
Aside from denouncing Trump’s remarks today, Awad also touched on Trump's accusation that "thousands of Muslims" celebrated the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey, saying the many contributions of American Muslims as U.S. citizens included their role as first responders in the attacks.
Awad invited Trump and other presidential candidates to come meet American Muslims at mosques and elsewhere. “They are job creators, not just job takers,” he said.
"Why do you want to stigmatize them, Donald Trump?" he asked.
“This is an historic moment. We should not be led by fear and we should not let fear mongers win because they play into the hands of ISIS.”