Donald Trump once again stirred up the pot of religious and racial animosity on Wednesday, saying in a television interview that "I think Islam hates us."
The Republican presidential front-runner drew little distinction between the religion of an estimated 1.6 billion in the world and radical Islamic terrorism when he spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Trump deplored the "tremendous hatred" that he said partly defined Islam. Although taking note that the war the West is facing is against radical Islam, the problem is that "it's very hard to define. It's very hard to separate. Because you don't know who's who."
Cooper asked if the hate was "in Islam itself." Trump declined to answer directly, telling the interviewer, "You're gonna have to figure that out, OK?"
"We have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful. And we can't allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States," he said.
In December, Trump drew worldwide criticism when he called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S., "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." Trump has stood by the proposal despite its denunciation by a number of world leaders.
Trump's latest anti-Muslim statement quickly drew vehement rebuttals. Writing for The Daily Beast, Dean Obeidallah bluntly told Trump that he is wrong.
Obeidallah, an American comedian of Palestinian-Italian descent, said that "if Trump truly thinks 'Islam hates us,' then he should tell that to the families of Muslim Americans who have died for our country."
He said he doubts that Trump "has the balls" to tell that to "the family of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who received the Purple Heart and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery after being killed in Iraq in 2004. And let's see Trump tell that to the family of Corporal Kareem Khan, who also received the Purple Heart and is buried in Arlington after giving his life in 2007 in defense of our nation."
Obeidallah pointed out that almost 6,000 Muslims are currently serving in the U.S. military, all ready to fight for freedom for all Americans, regardless of their faith.
"What Trump despicably did during his interview on CNN was to paint all Muslims as potential threats to our country," he said. "The GOP front-runner is telling Americans to fear every single Muslim because any one of them might be plotting to kill you and your family."
Obeidallah said he recently read an article saying that Trump, according to his ex-wife, kept by his bedside a book of Adolf Hitler's speeches that the Fuhrer gave during his ascent to power.
"Perhaps we need to pause as a nation when Anne Frank's stepsister, Eva Schloss, an Auschwitz survivor, warned us in January that Trump 'is acting like another Hitler' by inciting racism," he said.
"No, Islam doesn't hate America. But Trump clearly hates American values," Obeidallah said.