Rep. Chaffetz states opposition to Muslim immigration ban

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) — In his first visit to a Utah mosque, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Monday voiced his strong opposition to measures that would bar Muslims from immigrating to the United States.

The Utah Republican spoke to about 50 people at the Khadeeja Islamic Center in West Valley City. After the 5 p.m. prayers, Chaffetz condemned Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call for a ban on Muslims entering the country after the attack in San Bernardino.

The congressman called such views un-American, immoral and irresponsible.

"It is intolerance that should not stand," he said. "That is not who we are as a people. It is just not acceptable."

Chaffetz said he wanted to express his support for the state's 30,000 Muslims and hear their thoughts.

Before the prayers, he met with a small group that included Imam Muhammed Mehtar. Mehtar said his congregation feels supported in Utah, which he credited in part to Mormons who travel for religious missions.

"Those inclined to the (Mormon) faith have been very sympathetic because they have been in the thick of things around the world," the imam said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement supporting religious plurality shortly after Trump's comments.

Mehtar also said that he and his congregation members are frustrated that some people associate them with violent terrorist groups.

"It is a painful realization for all of us that distant conflicts affect us now," he said, adding that with more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, "there are going to be some bad apples."

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