Reuters describes 62-year-old Elhamy Ibrahim as “a Muslim who does not like very many other Muslims these days, but loves Donald Trump.”
That’s not hyperbole — those were Ibrahim’s exact words to the Republican frontrunner when they met after a rally in South Carolina. “I’m a Muslim and I’m with you all the way,” he said. “I love you, and you’re the next President.” Trump made sure the crowd heard him, loud and clear:
Ibrahim, who was completely unfazed by Trump’s proposal for a Muslim immigration moratorium, even if it applied to him, said, “If he stopped me coming into the U.S., I’d say ‘fine.’ If he said he wanted a loyalty test, I’d be the first to sign it,” he told Reuters.
In fact, he’s more of an ex-Muslim than an actual observant Muslim. Reuters says, cautiously, that “he does not attend a mosque regularly.”
He even said he was comfortable with Trump’s talk of bringing back waterboarding “and much worse” for terrorists, saying that torture is “being used all over the world — today, tomorrow, and yesterday.”
As the Reuters profile reveals, this is because Ibrahim is deeply troubled by what has been happening to Egypt and the rest of the Muslim world over the past few decades. He was born in Egypt but has been a resident of the United States since 1981, and a citizen for the past fifteen years. His personal experiences include having his toenails ripped out with pliers by Egyptian security.
Reuters originally reported this happened because Ibrahim refused to fight in Egypt’s war against Israel in 1973, but later amended their report to say he did fight in the war, where he was “wounded by an explosion that left him blind in one eye.” His toenails were ripped out after he was arrested for protesting Anwar Sadat’s refusal to go to war with Israel.
One can appreciate how such an episode might turn a young man’s thoughts to emigration. He also said he was disturbed by the growing Islamization of Egypt. “His mother and sister, who grew up wearing high heels and mid-length skirts, began to wear head scarves in the early 1990s to avoid harassment on the streets of Cairo,” as Reuters puts it.
The Reuters article is headlined, “How Egypt’s changing culture led one emigre to Trump.”
“The media there, they make America seem evil,” said Ibrahim. “They destroy the spirit of the younger generation, they make them stuck in religion like a bunch of sheep in a flock.”
Ibrahim gave Yemen a shot first — it was a bit more inviting back then — but was convinced to move to America by the U.S. Consul General, eventually becoming a real estate speculator and settling in Myrtle Beach.
“He’ll bring America back — I want to see America that I used to know, not the one that Obama and George W. Bush destroyed,” Ibrahim said of his fellow real estate mogul, neatly capturing the current spirit of the Trump campaign.