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Indiana Leaders Criticize Trump's Anti-Muslim Proposal

The Islamic Center of Bloomington.

Some politicians are facing mounting criticism after making controversial statements about Syrian refugees and Muslims in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump sent out a press release Monday calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States. And as a result, local leaders say they're worried about the effect on the local community.

Donald Trump's press release was widely condemned by the Hoosier politicians and others.

Local politicians, such as Gov. Mike Pence, Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, and Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind. District 7, have all tweeted their condemnation for the proposed ban.

This response comes after an October incident in Bloomington, when a Muslim woman was verbally and physically attacked outside of a restaurant.

Some say they're worried anti-Islamic political rhetoric could lead to an increase in hate crimes against Muslims.

"We have not received any reports or incidents of anti-Muslim [incidents] other than the Bloomington incident a couple months ago," says Edgar Hopida, Communications Director, Islamic Society of North America. "But nationally, we have seen throughout the media and social media, that there has been an increase in anti-Muslim, hate-motivated incidents and crimes."

Ellen Wu, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Asian American Study Program at Indiana University, says she sees parallels between Donald Trump's comments and World War II, when thousands of Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were sent to internment camps.

The action was a direct result of an executive order signed in 1942 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, less than three months after Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor.

"The biggest parallel for me, is the kind of racial, religious profiling," Wu says. "A logic where all are just guilty. It doesn't even seem like there is a chance to be proven innocent, but that there are all these assumptions based on one's appearance, based on one's faith, that the government, followed by ordinary folks as well as political leaders, or political wannabe leaders, would act pre-emptively and not take the time to gather evidence or really consider the larger implications for democracy and the kind of democracy and the kinds of values that Americans hold dear."

Trump's comments come just weeks after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, along with more than two dozen other governors, called for a suspension on Syrian refugees entering the United States after the Paris attacks.

Hopida says banning Syrian refugees only helps ISIS.

"They're just playing into ISIS's hands, and that just reinforces what they want, which is conflict. The best way to [help] is to embrace these Syrian immigrants with the proper security measures and let them in. Because they're the ones that are escaping ISIS and the Assad regime, so we should be protecting them, not pushing them into certain death," he says.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis announced Tuesday it was resettling a Syrian family in the state, despite the governor's order.

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