By Thaha K Sherwani, Opinion Writer
As someone who has lived in a post 9/11 America, I have seen Islamophobia evolve over the years. When three young Muslim Americans were shot and killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina two years ago, the Muslim community realized that Islamophobia had not vanished. When we as a community are told to go back where we came from, the generation that was born in the United States becomes confused.
President Trump first ran on a campaign of hate when he called on banning all Muslims. The American Muslim community resolved to come together and organize for the general election. Organizations and Political Actions Committee’s (PAC’s) were created to ensure Muslims were heard and registered to vote.
Even though we didn’t get the outcome we worked for, the United States will continue to be the greatest country. In July 2016, the world was re-introduced to a forgotten family of a gold star soldier. Khizr and Ghazala Khan reminded Americans of their son (Humyaun’s) ultimate sacrifice. From the Democratic National Convention (DNC) stage, Khizr Khan sent a strong message to Republicans that Muslims are, have, and will continue to form an integral part of American society. When then-Republican nominee Trump attacked the gold star family, it showed that American Muslims in a Trump America would be criticized even if they made the ultimate sacrifice.
Due to President Trump’s divisive and Islamphobic campaign rhetoric, many American Muslims like myself decided to spend months ensuring Hillary Clinton was the next president.
After the election, many Muslims across the United States questioned if they belonged and if they should find another home. Throughout the country from Boston to Los Angeles, Mosques (Muslims place of Worship) received notes of acceptance, urging the congregation that they belonged in America. Some activists created human circles outside of Mosques in an effort to show solidarity.
When the Travel Ban was signed and hundreds were held by Homeland Security, activists and lawyers from all walks of life organized protests in front of airports and ensured that all those who had legal visas and green cards be allowed into the country.
Since the majority of the country voted for someone other than President Trump, it shows that the majority of Americans are welcoming of all people and all religions.
It is time to educate all Americans about what Islam truly promotes: peace and co-existence.
Being a Muslim in Trump’s America may mean becoming active and doing the most good that we all can. Activists in the Muslim community organized enough funds to restore a Jewish cemetery that was vandalized in St. Louis. This act shows all critics that Muslims will stand up for justice and help their neighbors when they are hurt.
At this time, minority communities need to unite to ensure the values that America stands for are not taken away by the conservative “alt-right” and President Trump’s administration. This means that when one group is targeted we all stand together and organize.
Even though after 9/11 Muslims were put in the spotlight for the acts of a few, they are once again in the spotlight.
Before the Muslims were targeted in America, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Chinese and Japanese were all targeted in the past. It’s up to the American people to stand with Muslims across the country to ensure a registry is not created.
Senator’s Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) along with other Democrats have introduced a bill that would not allow a Muslim registry or a registry of any citizen that follow any religion to take place. All citizens across the country should call their Senators to encourage them to vote for this legislation.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 21st print edition.
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