Second in a series of profiles of Long Islanders in the Trump era that will feature a mix of political viewpoints.
When President Donald Trump came to speak in Fuad Faruque’s hometown of Brentwood, the Stony Brook University student scored a prime spot standing next to the stage.
“He glanced over at my friend who was waving his hat and did a little head nod, and we were like, ‘Yeah, he saw us!” said Faruque, who volunteered at the event.
It was a first-of-its-kind experience for the 21-year-old biology major, who is vice president of the Stony Brook College Republicans. He gave high marks to Trump’s Brentwood speech, saying that police departments need support, and “we need more police presence in the community.”
Faruque is a Muslim-American who supports Trump.
“The biggest outrage I’ve received was from liberals and Democrats on my campus. They were like, ‘oh, how could you be Muslim and support Donald Trump?’ ” Faruque said. “And then I tell them, I have these immigration views that align with his” – including the travel ban.
One of the biggest reasons he backs Trump, he said, was the president’s pledge to build a border wall. It’s not just symbolic but “does help with the immigration issue,” Faruque said.
“I think a wall would help limit the amount of illegal immigration we get, specifically from Central America,” he said.
Faruque’s parents immigrated from Bangladesh and they settled in Brentwood when he was 5. He said illegal immigration has affected the community long before his family moved there in 2001. “When there’s talk of illegal immigrants coming from Mexico or even El Salvador and whatnot, that come to especially Brentwood and join gangs like MS-13, it really hits home.”
Faruque said it took several of his relatives between eight and 10 years to go through the rigorous immigration process. “So how is it fair to them who had gone through the legal procedure to see so many people here illegally?” he asked.
Trump was actually Faruque’s third choice among Republicans during the campaign, after Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whom he supported in the New York primary.
That year, Faruque attended the Conservative Political Action Conference – and Trump didn’t show up.
“I considered myself a bit more of a conservative, so that’s why I took offense to that, like why would he not come and try to garner our votes? But I was able to shake Ted Cruz’s hand,” said Faruque, who goes to CPAC every year.
His vote for the billionaire businessman last November was a mix of anti-Hillary Clinton and pro-Trump sentiments.
He has gotten more involved in the Republican Party in 2016 and this year. In April he was elected Long Island regional chairman of the College Republicans.
Jeff Ehrhardt, a former president of the Stony Brook College Republicans, said Faruque was a big help in growing their club since 2015. Faruque said they only had a handful of several active members then, but have more than 50 this semester.
Ehrhardt highlighted the perspective Faruque brings coming from an immigrant family – and how he debated someone on campus on immigration.
“It was him versus a College Democrat, and he really evoked a lot of emotion, and those personal anecdotes really hit home,” said Ehrhardt, 21, a Stony Brook senior from Smithtown.
Faruque’s father is also a Republican who voted for Trump a year ago. But Faruque Hossain, 55, said he doesn’t agree with Trump on most points since he became president.
But, he said, “What Fuad is doing as a Republican, as a youngster, I like it, I like how he’s doing it.”
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