First, I hope you know that I don’t hate you. I don’t blame you for the recent rise of hate crimes, and I don’t believe you voted for Trump because you are xenophobic, Islamophobic, or racist. I know this because I went to school with you, we’ve shared meals together, and I’ve shared pivotal moments within my formative years with you. But since Trump has become President-elect of our country, I want you to know I’m scared.
I’m not scared for my safety because I’m a privileged, non-hijab wearing Muslim, but for my Muslim sisters who choose to cover themselves with a hijab, for the new Americans who’ve fled terror and war to create honest lives for themselves and their children (like my family) and for my hijab-wearing mother who, with her broken English, is unable to defend herself if faced with an attack.
Our country has become more divided – we’ve had politicians want to monitor us and police us when we’ve done no wrong. We’ve had a popular commentator compare us to snakes. We have watched, in shock, as people attacked an American Gold Star mother for her choosing to not speak at a national convention.
I don’t know why this rhetoric is becoming more and more popular. I’m convinced we need more conversations, less judgment. Since Muslims make up about one percent of the American population, in case you didn’t know, I want you to know of a Muslim’s thoughts.
I, too, support our troops. I also hate extremism and violence. I’m proud to be an American. I love to serve my community and my alma mater. I want the same things you do: a healthy economy, a secure job and a bright future for my someday-future children.
So here is what I propose: Let us stop allowing people to make a profit over our differences.
I hope that you know I wish the same for your family as I do for mine. I don’t know if my statements above make an impact, but I hope it’s a start to a much-needed conversation. I hope that you will come to me, or any Muslim-American, if you have any questions. I ask that you demean any rhetoric which claims that my family and I, because of our faith, are evil or bad or undeserving to be here.
And I hope you know that I will do the same for you.