A Muslim woman was heckled and booed after staging a silent protest that got her kicked out of a Donald Trump rally in South Carolina last night.
The woman, Rose Hamid, said she attended the event to demonstrate against Trump's inflammatory comments about Muslims, including his call for a complete ban on Muslims entering the US.
"I figured that most Trump supporters probably never met a Muslim," Hamid told CNN in an interview before the rally. "So I figured that I'd give them an opportunity to meet one."
Hamid, a 56-year-old mother of three, was born in the US to a Palestinian father and a Colombian mother. She is the president of the Muslim Women of the Carolinas (MWOC), an organization that, according to its website, "was founded in 1998 as an organization for local Muslim women to get together, share a meal, and get to know one another."
"I wasn't frightened for my physical safety," Hamid told VICE News on Saturday. "I was nervous I wouldn't be let in. But I wanted Trump supporters to see a Muslim. I knew I would stick out and I was prepared for some level of animosity."
Hamid's bio says she "truly values the importance of diversity and getting to know others who are different from oneself. She also happens to be a flight attendant who wears a hijab as well which is super cool."
"I wanted people, Muslims to know that we have an opportunity to be visible right now," she said. "A lot of Muslims are afraid, with good reason. I can understand why you'd have the gut reaction to retreat."
When Trump, the current frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, suggested in his speech on Friday that Syrian asylum seekers fleeing war and conflict were likely affiliated with the Islamic State, Hamid stood up in silent protest. Trump supporters responded by chanting the candidate's name and pointing at Hamid and Marty Rosenbluth, who accompanied Hamid to the event.
"Was there somebody up there?" Trump asked, eliciting cheers and shouts from the audience as security guards escorted Hamid and Rosenbluth out of the building.
"Hey look — it's a problem," Trump said as police led the pair up the staircase. "We have a problem and it's going to be solved, but we have to understand the problem. We have to know the problem. And we do have a real problem."
In an interview with CNN following the event, Hamid said there were some "nice people" around her, but that the atmosphere quickly escalated into a "hateful crowd mentality" as police escorted her out of the building. Hamid said she heard one person shouting, "You have a bomb, you have a bomb."
"As the police were escorting me out, this old man, this grandfather, started yelling 'She's got a bomb,'" she recalled. "I looked at him and said. 'Do you have a bomb? You don't even know me.'"
Several other protesters were later escorted out of the rally, according to a local media report, which also described tight security screenings before anybody was allowed inside the event.
As part of his bid to "make America great again," Trump has called for a complete "shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States. He has also suggested that Muslims should be required to carry special ID cards. His proposals have been widely panned, and protesters and hecklers are becoming an increasingly regular features at his events.
South Carolina rally last night was so unbelievably exciting (and fun). I am now off to Iowa for two big rallies - packed houses. Love it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)January 9, 2016
On Thursday, a Trump rally in liberal stronghold Burlington, Vermont, drew huge crowds of protesters. In an effort to weed out protesters from the crowd of Trump supporters, attendees were asked to pledge their allegiance to the candidate before passing through metal detectors. When a small cabal of demonstrators slipped under security's radar and interrupted the event, Trump grew increasingly frustrated and told security to take away their coats before throwing them out into the cold.
"I thought I heard a little voice over there," Trump reportedly said as one protester interrupted him. "Take him out. Get him out of here. Don't give him his coat! Keep his coat. Confiscate his coat. You know it's about 10 degrees below zero outside…Keep his coat. Tell him we'll send it to him in a couple of weeks."
Video footage recorded at Trump rally in Alabama in November showed his supporters punching and kicking a Black Lives Matter protester who disrupted the event.
"Maybe he should have been roughed up," Trump told the hosts of "Fox & Friends" a day after the incident. "It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing."
For her part, Hamid said she liked Trump as a TV personality — just not as a politician.
"He's an entertainer," she said. "I used to watch him on The Apprentice. He might not get voted off the island in Survivor, but I just don't think he's presidential material."
Follow Tess Owen on Twitter: @misstessowen