A major Muslim civil rights group condemned Donald Trump’s telling of a hoax story Friday evening that alleged that U.S. General John Pershing shot Muslim prisoners in the Philippines with bullets soaked in pigs’ blood.
Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement Saturday that Trump’s comments “crossed the line from spreading hatred to inciting violence.”
“By directly stating that the only way to stop terrorism is to murder Muslims in graphic and religiously-offensive ways, he places the millions of innocent, law-abiding citizens in the American Muslim community at risk from rogue vigilantes,” Nihad Awad said in a statement. “He further implies that our nation should adopt a strategy of systematized violence in its engagement with the global Muslim community, a chilling message from a potential leader. We pray that no one who hears this message follows his gospel of hate.”
Trump told his supporters the story at a rally in South Carolina.
“He took 50 bullets and he dipped them in pig’s blood,” he said. “And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the fifty people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said, ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years there wasn’t a problem.”
Snopes.com previously rated the story, which has circulated on the Internet for years, as a “legend.” It traced the tale’s origins to a scene in a 1939 film, but found no mention of the alleged incident in various Pershing biographies or historical records.