New York: A Muslim advocacy group has called on Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump to apologise after a Muslim woman engaged in a silent protest was removed by security personnel and booed by the crowd at his rally in South Carolina on Friday night.
"The image of a Muslim woman being abused and ejected from a political rally sends a chilling message to American Muslims and to all those who value our nation's traditions of religious diversity and civic participation," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Muslim woman ejected from Trump rally
Rose Hamid describes how the crowd developed a "hateful mentality" as she was escorted out of a Donald Trump rally.
"Donald Trump should issue a public apology to the Muslim woman kicked out of his rally and make a clear statement that American Muslims are welcome as fellow citizens and as participants in the nation's political process," Mr Awad said.
Rose Hamid, a 56-year-old flight attendant, stood up in the stands directly behind Trump when he suggested that Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their homeland were affiliated with Islamic State militants.
Ms Hamid was wearing a white head scarf and a blue T-shirt emblazoned with the words, "Salam, I come in peace."
Ms Hamid said on Saturday she wanted to make the Republican presidential candidate's backers recognise they are supporting "hateful rhetoric."
"I get why he's popular: he's an entertainer, he's engaging, there are certainly aspects that appeal to certain parts of society. He even has valid points in some cases," Hamid said in a telephone interview with Reuters from her home in Charlotte.
"But they have to recognise what they're supporting," Hamid said, referring to Trump's supporters. "His ramping up of his hateful rhetoric is just not what America is, and it's not who we are as a country."
At the rally, Hamid was wearing a white head scarf and a blue T-shirt made by her son emblazoned with the words, "Salam, I come in peace."
Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican presidential hopeful, said the crowd's response at Mr Trump's rally in Rock Hill was inappropriate.
"We don't need to be shouting and booing and scaring somebody who decided to stand up and have some sort of silent protest," Mr Kasich told reporters on the sidelines of a poverty summit in South Carolina on Saturday.
"What the heck is that about? We're not in high school. I mean, this is not some god-darn high school basketball game where we're booing the other team."
The incident was the latest controversy involving Mr Trump regarding Muslims.
Last month, he advocated banning all foreign Muslims from entering the United States "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on".
In November, he said he saw thousands of Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey, cheering the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York's World Trade Centre.
Fact-checkers have debunked this assertion.
At a rally on Saturday in Ottumwa, Iowa, Trump cited last month's San Bernardino, California, massacre and the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer on Friday by a man who police said pledged allegiance to Islamic State as examples of Muslim anger towards Americans.