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South Florida Religious Leaders To Trump: "Not Here."

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Tim Padgett
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WLRN.org
The Rev. Diane Shoaf, surrounded by other South Florida clerics, reads the MCCJ's interfaith declaration condemning Donald Trump's anti-Muslim campaign.

South Florida prides itself on its diversity. That's why Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s controversial call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. seems especially unpopular here.

Local religious leaders Thursday morning made it clear just how unpopular.

Dozens of Christian, Jewish and Muslim clerics came to the Quaker Friends Meeting House in Coral Gables. They were hosted by the Miami interfaith organization MCCJ. They signed a proclamation rejecting the anti-Muslim vitriol that Trump and other politicians have unleashed after recent mass killings by Muslim extremists.

"Religious and spiritual leaders of Miami-Dade County...say no to the current political discourse," said the Rev. Diane Shoaf, a  Presbyterian minister and the MCCJ's clergy dialogue coordinator. "Not here."

In the first place, said Khalid Salahuddin, an imam at the Al-Ansar mosque in Liberty City, the terrorists do not represent Islam.

"Anyone who knows [Islam] knows that these people are outside the fold of what [Islam] stands for," he insisted.

At the same time, Abdul HamidSamra, imam at the Islamic Center of Greater Miami in Miami Gardens, said South Florida’s rich cultural mix makes it a good place to launch a more tolerant counter-movement to Trump's rhetoric.

"South Florida, you know, we are all immigrants, from the Arab countries and from South America," said Samra. "And here we don't see ourselves like strangers."

Shoaf agreed: “I think South Florida is in a unique situation to be perhaps a model or a pilot of how we respond and stand up.”

A similar interfaith event was held Tuesday in Key West.