CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Mother Mosque of America in Cedar Rapids is reaching out to Donald Trump about his views on Muslims.
The Mother Mosque building in NW Cedar Rapids. (Dave Franzman/KCRG-TV9)
"Mr. Donald Trump come and see your neighbors, come and see your fellow citizens,” said Imam and Director of the Mother Mosque of America, Taha Tawil
The Imam, or worship leader, is inviting the GOP presidential front-runner to visit and meet with members of the Muslim congregation. The group wants Trump to share some of his ideas.
One of his plans that has received much criticism is banning all Muslims from entering the country. Trump says the ban would be temporary and would have exceptions. Trump doubled down on this proposal in his first television ad that began airing Tuesday.
That ad and other comments prompted a response from Tawil.
"Tell us what you want from us. What's the problem? We don't know,” Tawil said.
Tawil wants to stop the negative comments that are creating fear of anti-Muslim backlash in the community. The Imam said Trump paints all Muslims with one brush, which is creating confusion.
The Imam said he wants to talk to Trump, and the presidential contender can pick whether that's a public event or a private event.
Tawil spends his days at the Mother Mosque of America, which was the first facility created as a mosque in America. It was built back in the 1930s.
He prays, gives tours and talks with anyone willing to listen about the Muslim culture.
“It is a loving culture. It's a culture of peace and tranquility and understanding,” Tawil said.
Now, Tawil wants Donald Trump to listen and answer their questions.
"We need to know what's going on with him. He keeps intimidating and talking sometimes hateful speeches against his own fellow citizens and that is not the American way. The American way is to come to the house and speak to us,” Tawil said.
Tawil said he is a registered Republican. What the presidential candidate might not realize is that many actually side with him on some issues.
“This ISIS or the people are killing more Muslims that non-Muslims, so certainly we want to get rid of them in any way we can, and that's why we are in line with him on this issue,” Tawil said.
If it takes a face-to-face talk and a Middle Eastern pastry to clear it all up, that's what Tawil is ready for.
"We have love to him and to our neighbors, and we want to live in peace and harmony, and we want to do it the American way. Come and visit, have coffee, baklava, the sweetest thing in the Muslim community,” Tawil said.
Tawil points out that he and other Muslims are Iowa voters too and that their votes could help with the upcoming first-in-the-nation caucus.
Now Tawil is waiting to see if Trump responds.