Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the UN migration agency said Monday that he has convinced member states that he holds no anti-Muslim views, after a series of reports accused him of prejudice against Islam.
Ken Isaacs, who has a long record of humanitarian work with the Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse and within George W. Bush’s presidential administration, has been nominated by the US State Department to head the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Isaacs is in Geneva trying to rally support for his candidacy ahead of a June vote in which IOM’s 169-member states will choose their next director-general, a post traditionally held by an American.
But his candidacy has been complicated by reports detailing incidents where Isaacs apparently tweeted or re-tweeted material offensive to Muslims.
Speaking to journalists on Monday, Isaacs said he has met with envoys from dozens of IOM member-states, including majority Muslim nations, and convinced them he was not a bigot.
“Yes, they feel satisfied,” he said, adding that “after talking to me for a minute or two and hearing who I am, what I talk about, what my heart is,” questions about prejudice vanish, he said. “I have never shown discrimination against anybody for anything, period,” he said. “If (people) need help, I have always helped them.”
Questions about Isaacs’ views on Islam emerged shortly after his February 1 nomination in a Washington Post article that reported tweets between 2015 and 2017 in which Isaacs claimed the Koran “instructs” Muslims to commit acts of violence.
He also reportedly suggested Syrian Christian refugees should be given priority over Muslim ones and challenged claims that Islam was a peaceful religion, leading the paper to call his candidacy an “embarrassment” in an editorial. —AFP