Rose Hamid, a 56-year-old flight attendant sitting in the stands directly behind Trump, stood up Friday during Trump’s speech when the Republican front-runner suggested that Syrian refugees fleeing war in Syria were affiliated with ISIS.
Trump has previously called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
Despite her silence, Trump supporters around her began chanting Trump’s name — as instructed by Trump campaign staff before the event in case of protests — and pointed at Hamid and Marty Rosenbluth, the man alongside her who stood up as well.
As they were escorted out, Trump supporters roared — booing the pair and shouting at them to “get out.” One person shouted, “You have a bomb, you have a bomb,” according to Hamid.
“The ugliness really came out fast and that’s really scary,” Hamid told CNN in a phone interview after she was ejected.
Major Steven Thompson of the Rock Hill Police Department told CNN Hamid was kicked out of the event because the campaign told him beforehand that “anybody who made any kind of disturbance” should be escorted out.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking why Hamid was escorted out of the venue.
After Hamid and three others, all wearing stars reminiscent of those worn by Jews during the Holocaust, were escorted out by police and Trump campaign officials, Trump commented on the disturbance.
“There is hatred against us that is unbelievable,” Trump said. “It’s their hatred, it’s not our hatred.”
Soon after the incident, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading Muslim civil liberties group, called on Trump to apologize.
“The image of a Muslim woman being abused and ejected from a political rally sends a chilling message to American Muslims and to all those who value our nation’s traditions of religious diversity and civic participation,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement. “Donald Trump should issue a public apology to the Muslim woman kicked out of his rally and make a clear statement that American Muslims are welcome as fellow citizens and as participants in the nation’s political process.”
Before the event, Hamid told CNN that she didn’t plan to shout or disrupt the event — she simply wanted to give Trump supporters a glimpse of what Muslims are like.
“I figured that most Trump supporters probably never met a Muslim so I figured that I’d give them the opportunity to meet one,” she said, wearing a shirt that read “Salam, I come in peace.” “I really don’t plan to say anything. I don’t want to be disrespectful but if he says something that I feel needs answering I might — we’ll just see what strikes me.”
Hamid joined a group of people — some friends, others strangers — who wanted to silently protest Trump’s proposals, which are viewed by some as anti-Muslim.
Several of those other people attended Trump’s rally in Aiken, South Carolina, last month, including Jibril Hough.
Unlike Hamid, Hough did not stay silent, shouting “Islam is not the problem” as Trump spoke about radical Islamic extemism.
Woman in turquoise w/ hijab is Rosa Hamid. Said she's here bc "most Trump supporters probably never met a Muslim." pic.twitter.com/G6jO15xQpa
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) January 9, 2016
Despite her early exit, Hamid did manage to speak with the Trump supporters sitting around her in the stands, several of whom held her hand and said “sorry” as she was forced to leave the venue.
“The people around me who I had an opportunity to talk with were very sweet,” she said. “The people I did not make contact with, the people who Trump influenced were really nasty.”
One woman Hamid spoke with in line remarked that she “didn’t look scary,” but “like a good one.”
“People don’t have a chance to see anything other than the Muslims they see on TV,” Hamid said, pointing to footage of terrorists and Islamist militants.
Hamid said before the event that she was not concerned for her safety, explaining her ardent belief that “people are mostly decent.”
After her chaotic exit, Hamid remained optimistic about the character of most people — even those who shouted at her to “get out” — instead blaming Trump’s heated rhetoric and outsized influence.
“This demonstrates how when you start dehumanizing the other it can turn people into very hateful, ugly people,” she said. “It needs to be known.”