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27 Feb 2017

Ex-White House staffer blames Trump's anti-Islamic rhetoric for quitting

Hijab-wearing ex-White House staffer explains why she quit

Rumana Ahmed, a Hijab-clad Muslim former White House staffer, has opened up about why she quit her job, eight days after President Donald Trump took office.

Ahmed, whose parents are Bangladeshi immigrants, joined the White House in 2011 after being inspired by the then President Barack Obama.

She cited Trump's vilification of Islam as the primary reason she decided to quit.

In context

Hijab-wearing ex-White House staffer explains why she quit

Ahmed's work at the White House and National Security Council

Ahmed said "My job there was to promote and protect the best of what my country stands for. I am a hijab-wearing Muslim woman I was the only hijabi in the West Wing and the Obama administration always made me feel welcome and included."

"Vilified" Muslims

Ahmed couldn't work for administration that viewed Muslims as threat

Ahmed said she spent 2016 watching with "consternation" as Trump "vilified" the Muslim community.

She hoped to stay back to provide Trump "his aides a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America's Muslim citizens."

However, when Trump issued the immigration ban, Ahmed said she couldn't work for "for an administration that saw me… me not as fellow citizens, but as a threat."

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What happened when she resigned

Ahmed said Trump's senior NSC communications adviser Michael Anton was initially surprised when she informed him of her decision to quit.

"I told him I had to leave because it was an insult walking into this country's most historic building every day under an administration that is working against and vilifying everything I stand for as an American and as a Muslim," Ahmed said.

Ahmed says time spent in Trump administration was "disturbing"

"The days I spent in the Trump White House were strange, appalling and disturbing," Ahmed wrote in The Atlantic. Her article comes amid a spike in assaults and incidents of intimidation against hijab-wearing women in the US since Trump took office.

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