PHILADELPHIA – American Muslims have received mysterious robocalls asking them about their religious affiliation, spreading fear and concern among the religious minority in the first days after the election of Donald Trump.
“Do you identify yourself as a MUSLIM, yes press one no press two,” the robocall asked, according to Shamsiya Shervani’s post on the Facebook, NY Daily News reported.
“I am guessing this is the start of the tracking database,” he added, referring to a Muslim registry once mentioned by Trump on the campaign trail.
Reports since Trump’s election, saying high-level appointees would include retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has called Islam a cancer, and Stephen Bannon, a man who ran anti-Muslim media outlet, added to Muslim fears.
Moreover, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Trump adviser, said he was drafting a proposal for a Muslim registry program that Trump talked about in his campaign.
Shervani is not the only Muslim to receive those mysterious calls.
The robocall appear to have gone out in the past two days asking Muslim-Americans their religious affiliation and assuring them the call would “be kept strictly anonymous and confidential.”
A 27-year-old man from outside of Philadelphia said he and his wife received the calls at the same time around 6 pm Monday.
“I’m not sure how we were singled out, but the fact that we were is disturbing,” the man, who wished to remain anonymous told the Daily News.
He added that he witnessed roughly 5 or 6 of his Muslim-American friends from the Philadelphia area who also received the calls.
At least two other Muslim-Americans wrote on social media about receiving the robocalls in the past day.
Marisa Stroud wrote on Facebook that she received an email on Monday night from a friend who received the call, reporting that no matter whether the call recipient pressed ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in response to whether they identified as Muslim, the call hung up.
The Council on Islamic-American relations, the country’s largest civil rights and advocacy group for Muslim-Americans, started flagging social media posts from users who reported receiving the calls this week.
Ibrahim Hooper, the organization’s national communications director, said he initially thought the robocalls could be CAIR’s own polling outreach to Muslim-Americans — but is suspicious that the calls would not identify them as the caller.
“We just don’t know at this point. Usually when we do a robocall, we identify ourselves, we say who’s calling and what we’re asking for. It’s strange that none of that information seemed to be offered,” Hooper told the News.
“Everybody’s really on edge and really anxious and something that could be innocuous is viewed as ominous,” Hooper said. “Hopefully it’s just some misunderstanding.”