Miss Puerto Rico 2015 has been suspended by the Miss Puerto Rico organization following an anti-Muslim rant last week.
Destiny Velez, 20, posted the hateful messages to her Twitter account, which has since been deleted. According to the Washington Times, one of Velez’s tweets read, “If we are all the same then Muslims need to take off their napkins off of their heads cuz (sic) I feel offended by it.”
The Latin Times reported that some of Velez’s other tweets included, “all what Muslims have done is provided oil & terrorize this country & many others!!!!!!”; “all they do is build their mosques, feel offended by American values and terrorize innocent Americans and plant gas stations”; and “there’s NO comparison between Jews, Christians & Muslims. Jews nor Christians have terrorizing agendas in their sacred books.”
Velez also expressed her support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, tweeting directly at him, “I’m leaning to definitely vote for u (sic)!”
Incidentally, Trump launched his political campaign on an anti-Latino note, calling Mexicans criminals and rapists in his speech announcing his bid for the presidency.
The Miss Puerto Rico Organization posted a statement to its Facebook page over the weekend regarding the incident and emphasizing that it does not support or agree with Velez’s words.
“Miss Velez’s actions were in contradiction to the organization, and therefore as a consequence of her actions, she has been suspended indefinitely,” the statement read. “The Miss Puerto Rico Organization will not tolerate any actions or behavior contrary to the Miss Puerto Rico Organization.”
Velez directed most of her tweets at filmmaker Michael Moore, who published an open letter to Trump online last week. Moore slammed Trump for his racist rhetoric against Muslims and his call to ban all Muslims — including those who are already American citizens — from entering the country. The letter, accompanied by a photo of Moore holding a sign outside one of Trump’s towers that says, “We are all Muslim,” read in part:
“So, in desperation and insanity, you call for a ban on all Muslims entering this country. I was raised to believe that we are all each other’s brother and sister, regardless of race, creed or color. That means if you want to ban Muslims, you are first going to have to ban me. And everyone else.
“We are all Muslim.
“Just as we are all Mexican, we are all Catholic and Jewish and white and black and every shade in between. We are all children of God (or nature or whatever you believe in), part of the human family, and nothing you say or do can change that fact one iota. If you don’t like living by these American rules, then you need to go to the time-out room in any one of your Towers, sit there, and think about what you’ve said.”
Moore’s letter also created the hashtag #WeAreAllMuslim, which garnered widespread support over social media.
In her “apology,” Velez said, “The last thing I wanted to do was to bully anyone,” despite her rhetoric mirroring that of her presidential candidate of choice, who has been called a bully on more than one occasion.
Trump once again made headlines earlier this month when he proposed a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims.”
“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses,” he said on Dec. 7, “our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
Velez’s rant confirms a fear among Muslim Americans that Trump’s hateful rhetoric has gone too far and is providing inaccurate information to the masses. Irfan Butt, a Muslim American and CEO of QualIT One, told DiversityInc in a previous interview, “It is a fact that in the past 14 years, the vast majority of ‘non-state’ terrorism has originated from people claiming to be Muslims. Hence the hate of the ill-informed people is towards Muslim faith and its followers. At the same time, one would hope that our fellow Americans ought to know the difference between terrorists and mainstream Muslims.
“We have to do a better job of informing those who don’t know,” he said.