Hearing Omar use the Islamic phrases in the acceptance speech felt affirming, authentic and relatable, Margaret Hill, managing director of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, told HuffPost.
“For any Muslim who draws on their faith for strength, these are natural phrases,” Hill said. “They are everyday phrases. I see a Muslim, I give them that greeting. I often say it when I address a crowd.”
The weight of authority in Islam — Muhammad’s own words — is that the greeting “salaam aleikum” should not be used to initiate a greeting with a non-Muslim. Note that Margaret Hill said that “I see a Muslim, I give them that greeting.” She carefully does not say that “I see someone, and I give them that greeting.” It is a greeting whose selective use separates humanity into two groups: the Muslims, to whom the greeting may be given, and the non-Muslims, to whom it should not.
An Islamic website explains when the greeting of salaam is impermissible: