Sajid Tarar, who gave the closing prayer at the Republican National Convention, is the founder of a group that calls itself “American Muslims for Trump,” according to The Washington Times newspaper.
Tarar set off a Twitter firestorm and sparked media curiosity when he strode on the convention stage and gave a benediction that was interrupted by a man shouting against Islam, The Washington Times said. The Washington Post quotes him as saying: “Let’s pray to get our country back,” before he “invoked the prophet Muhammad.” You can watch it here:
Trump, of course, has controversially proposed to ban non-citizen Muslims from traveling to the United States and has made railing against radical Islam a central plank of his campaign. This had people wondering: Who is Sajid Tarar?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Tarar Is From Pakistan, Is a U.S. Citizen & Owns Real Estate, Reports Say
According to The Washington Post, Tarar attended law school in the United States after moving to America from Pakistan, and he became a U.S. citizen in the 1990s. The newspaper says Tarar “owns real estate, works for an organization ‘that deals with senior citizens,’ and has four kids — one of whom, he said, is a top squash player.”
Tarar’s Facebook page says he lives in Maryland and is from Baltimore. His Facebook page says he is the CEO of a business called CSC. Fusion describes that as “a nonprofit that provides care for elderly and developmentally disabled people.”
2. Tarar Describes Himself as an Advisor For The ‘National Diversity Coalition for Trump’ & Owned Gas Stations in the Baltimore Area
According to his LinkedIn page, Tarar describes himself as an aggressive businessman, and says he has “won two national awards from Exxon Mobil. I also have served on BP Advisory council. I have served on Gas Dealer association Board of Directors and have helped Exxon Mobil Business improvement Council.” In addition to other entrepreneurial ventures, he managed/owned “four ExxonMobil outlets.”
He also said he served on finance committees of governors and congressmen “including the current Governor Martin O’Mally (sic).” He writes that he is president of Maximus Investment Group, an organization, “Specializing EB-5 Visas.”
His LinkedIn recommendations are effusive. One says, “Sajid (CJ) is one of the most dynamic entrepreneurs I have ever had the privilege of working with. While very willing to take business risks, his intelligence and experience allows him to analyze all aspects of a venture and make precise, calculated decisions.” Another, from an immigration attorney, said, “Sajid studied with me at University of Baltimore School of Law during 2008-2009. He is vibrant,sincere and a quick learner. He is a successful business person, politically active and gives high value in human relations.”
3. One Man Chanted ‘No Islam’ During Tarar’s Closing Prayer Although Others Defended Him
According to The Washington Times newspaper, when Tarar gave the closing prayer at the Republican National Convention, one man marred it by repeatedly chanting “no Islam” during it.
The Times said that Tarar’s prayer called for peace and “an end to terrorism,” but that didn’t stop a man from standing up and trying to “to shout him down, complaining about the prominent presence of a Muslim at the convention.” The man said, “My obligation is to God. This is an abomination to God,” according to The Times, but other people challenged the man and defended Tarar.
4. Tarar Has Said He Supports Trump Because He Wants to Keep America Safe & Also Is Fine With Trump’s Proposed Muslim Ban
In an interview with Fusion, Tarar explained why he started the organization supporting Trump. “As Muslims, we have a hope that Trump can guide America toward the right direction,” said Tarar, 56, to Fusion. “He’s rewriting history.”
Fusion said a poll conducted by the Council of American-Islamic Relations found that 11 percent of Muslim voters who responded supported Trump. According to the Fusion interview, Tarrar called President Obama a socialist, wants Trump’s border wall and doesn’t like Black Lives Matter or political correctness. As for the Muslim ban, he told Fusion, “there should be a “ban or stop for some period of time,” and said, “The Quran says you need to be loyal to the country where you live. We have to do every possible thing to make our country safe.”
5. Social Media Reaction Was Negative Towards Tarar & It’s Not Known How Many People Belong to Tarar’s Group ‘American Muslims For Trump’
On Twitter, the reaction to Tarar and his group was swift and often negative, with people making jokes about it. It’s unclear how many people belong to Tarar’s group (one account said 500 people).
He told CNN’s Don Lemon that “his fellow Muslim friends think that the Republican candidate ‘is the only one who can save America,'” according to The Daily Caller. There is a Muslims For Trump Facebook page, but it’s unclear whether it’s affiliated. The Washington Post says of American Muslims for Trump: “It’s unclear who else is a member.”