Donald Trump invited to Winnipeg to learn 'compassion'
Mayor Brian Bowman invites Trump to human rights museum, but local Muslims say he's not welcome
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been invited to Winnipeg by the city's mayor, Brian Bowman, to help him "develop a more profound sense of compassion and tolerance."
But a leader of the local Muslim community says he doubts that a trip to the Manitoba capital would do much to open Trump's mind.
On Thursday, Bowman sent a letter to Trump and posted a copy of it on Twitter.
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In it, he invites Trump to visit the city, specifically the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
"As you fight to close doors on foreign Muslims in the United States, Canada is preparing to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees," Bowman writes, adding Manitoba will take up to 2,000 of those.
On Monday, Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," a move many, including White House officials and Trump's Republican competitors, publicly condemned.
Bowman timed his letter to coincide with International Human Rights Day on Thursday and underscored the "overwhelmingly positive" response of Manitobans to the arrival of refugees.
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But Idris Elbakri, president of the Manitoba Islamic Association, said he doesn't think Trump would gain much from a visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
"I think we need to give this person as little air time as possible. I think he's thriving on attention," he told CBC News on Thursday night.
"I think he's someone who's, at this point, he's closed his heart and closed his mind, only opens his mouth. The comments, his consistent escalating rhetoric about Mexicans and Muslims, and who knows who's next?"
Elbakri added that Trump's call to close the U.S. border to Muslims has worried his American friends.
"I have a lot of friends there, Muslims and non-Muslim, and they are all extremely hurt and they're all extremely worried that this is the rise of a very, potentially, very, very dark and damaging force," Elbakri said.
Bowman said Winnipeggers' tolerance comes from a deep understanding of other cultures, and he hoped that a visit to the city might help Trump develop more compassion and tolerance.
"At the very least, it is my hope that you might learn the Winnipeg way of cultural inclusion," he finishes.
Elbakri said while he would not welcome Trump to Winnipeg, he praised Bowman for the idea of sending an invitation.
"I think it was brilliant in the sense that he basically was alluding to the need of Trump needing education," he said.
City has had its own struggles
Winnipeg, as a city, has struggled with appearing compassionate and tolerant itself.
In September, Bowman held a national summit on racism in response to Winnipeg being dubbed "the most racist city in Canada" by Maclean's magazine.
Earlier this year, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was in Winnipeg to talk about immigration and extremism.
"Canada and the United States, unlike most places in the world, are places built by immigrants and energized by our diversity," Clinton said at the time.
"It hasn't always been smooth or easy, but at our best we kept expanding our idea of family, of community and the circle of opportunity wider and wider to keep making more room at the table."
Inviting <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump">@realDonaldTrump</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HumanRightsDay?src=hash">#HumanRightsDay</a> to visit <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Winnipeg?src=hash">#Winnipeg</a> and our CMHR. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheWpgWay?src=hash">#TheWpgWay</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/diversity?src=hash">#diversity</a> <a href="https://t.co/3Tn8pzUAFp">pic.twitter.com/3Tn8pzUAFp</a>—@Mayor_Bowman
With files from the CBC's Teghan Beaudette