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Mayor Bowman invites Trump to Winnipeg, in a bid to teach him tolerance

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens as he is introduced at Politics and Eggs in Manchester, N.H., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. The event was hosted by New England Council and NH Institute of Politics.

AP PHOTO/CHERYL SENTER

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens as he is introduced at Politics and Eggs in Manchester, N.H., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. The event was hosted by New England Council and NH Institute of Politics.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/12/2015 (1294 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Brian Bowman thinks American presidential hopeful Donald Trump can get a lesson in compassion and tolerance from a visit to Winnipeg and its Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

But a spokesman from the local Muslim community said Trump isn’t welcome here.

Bowman sent an invitation Thursday to the billionaire and leading Republican candidate for president to visit Winnipeg in hopes of converting an individual whose most recent comments about banning Muslims from entering the United States paint him as a frightening fascist.

Bowman said Trump’s recent comments that Muslims should be banned from entering the U.S. were “deeply troubling, deeply offensive.”

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/12/2015 (1294 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Brian Bowman thinks American presidential hopeful Donald Trump can get a lesson in compassion and tolerance from a visit to Winnipeg and its Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

But a spokesman from the local Muslim community said Trump isn’t welcome here.

Bowman sent an invitation Thursday to the billionaire and leading Republican candidate for president to visit Winnipeg in hopes of converting an individual whose most recent comments about banning Muslims from entering the United States paint him as a frightening fascist.

Bowman said Trump’s recent comments that Muslims should be banned from entering the U.S. were "deeply troubling, deeply offensive."

"I think (Trump) could learn something from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights," Bowman said. "I don’t ever remember a leading contender for one of the parties in the United States, for one of the most powerful offices in the world, espousing positions that he’s espousing.

"It’s times like this, in the era that we’re living in, when I absolutely feel it’s incumbent on all of us to speak out against the positions he’s espousing."

A spokeswoman for the CMHR said Trump would be welcome but a leader in the city’s Muslim community said Trump isn’t welcome.

Idris Elbakri, president of the Manitoba Islamic Association, said the museum is a place where the public can learn how the views of people like Trump can be so dangerous but he didn’t think Trump would gain anything from the visit.

"The museum is a great place to learn why the likes of Trump are dangerous. However this problem will not be fixed by a simple visit to the museum, and Trump himself is probably beyond educating," Elbakri said. "I personally would not welcome someone like him to my city."

Elbakri said he is concerned that so many people already endorse Trump’s extreme views and he fears awakening more sympathy from inside Winnipeg.

"We should think about whether in our midst we have dark forces waiting to be awakened by someone like Trump," Elbakri said. "That’s where the value of the education that the Museum for Human Rights offers comes in, and we must make sure that every citizen has the opportunity to get that education."

Angela Cassie, CMHR’s director of communications and external relations, applauded Bowman for trying to place Winnipeg in the spotlight on this issue.

"Certainly, Mr. Trump and anyone else who wants to come to the museum to learn about human rights is more than welcome."

Bowman said he was prompted to send the invitation Thursday, as Dec. 10 is International Human Rights Day.

"If ever there were a day when we need to be better educating people with views and opinions that are being espoused by a leading contender for the Republican nomination for president, today would be the day," Bowman said. "The approach we are taking is in stark contrast to the positions he’s espousing which is to create barriers and walls and to keep people out. We’re actually doing the opposite — which is to invite people in, such as himself, so they can be better educated on human rights."

Bowman said he’s not worried that Winnipeggers, including those in the local Muslim community, would not want Trump to visit the city, adding the man stands to benefit from experiencing the museum’s exhibits.

Bowman said he’s also not concerned that Trump and his racist views would appeal to the intolerant segment of the local community and further inflame those who share Trump’s views.

"The best way to deal with views (Trump) is espousing is through education and through an institution like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights," Bowman said. "This is International Human Rights Day and that’s why I timed my invitation to him and we’ll see if he (accepts)."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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Here's the full letter

History

Updated on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 4:58 PM CST: Letter added

5:28 PM: writethrough

6:07 PM: Adds comments from Islamic Assoc.

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