Interviewed by the Toronto Star, Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri, a Muslim native of Canada born to Lebanese parents, called Donald Trump “delusional” after Trump’s controversial statements about Muslims following the San Bernardino massacre.
On Monday, Trump’s campaign called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Kadri responded, “I think he’s hurting his own campaign, to be honest. I mean, I think he’s pretty delusional. But his opinion’s his opinion.… It’s unfortunate that this is what it’s come to. But I mean, that being said, I’m lucky to live in a country like Canada, where people of political stature don’t say those kinds of things to make people feel out of place.”
Kadri added that his family discussed the comments, adding, “We obviously don’t agree with what he’s saying. But, I mean, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.”
Other Leafs tried to remain uninvolved, although Garret Sparks, protesting that he avoids politics, still opined, “Not a good idea. Not a good look. It’s 2015.… I think, just morally, you can’t say stuff like that.”
Matt Hunwick echoed Sparks’ aversion to discussing politics, staying more circumspect than Sparks, “You wish you had some real strong options that you felt strongly about. But at this point, it’s so early, unfortunately nothing’s jumping out in terms of a great candidate.… I’ve seen the headline, I haven’t had the chance to watch the video or hear the audio on it. don’t want to comment on it too much.”
A “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country, according to a Trump spokesman, would apply to tourists, but the question of traveling athletes has not been addressed. The issue of sports in connection with Trump’s remarks was highlighted by Barack Obama, who said, “Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors; our co-workers, our sports heroes.” Trump reacted: “What sport is he talking about, and who? Is Obama profiling?”
Kadri has strong ties to the Muslim community in London, Ontario. He has raised funds for the London Muslim Mosque in Ontario from his charity golf tournament. Two Muslim young men from London were linked to a terrorist attack in Algeria in 2013 that killed 70 people.