By Simbi Oyedele
Donald J. Trump is calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” a recent campaign press release said.
“Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine,” Trump said, according to the release. “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
Meanwhile, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes responded to Trump’s statement by saying, “It’s totally contrary to our values as Americans.”
As a Muslim, this issue hits close to my heart.
In 1999, my mother came to the United States from Nigeria, a year after my birth. Two years later, my three sisters and I came, along with my dad. We came to the United States for a better life. It saddens me to witness discrimination against those who are Muslim.
My religion is not one of hatred and violence. In my faith, I believe “asalam alaykum” which means “peace to you.” We practice love. My mosque has so many programs to help others. For example, we collect food for the homeless in the community.
Still, one of the top groups that are discriminated against over the years in America is Muslims. The indication of these phenomena appears to have been on the rise in recent years after 9/11. Many Muslims experience discrimination outside their homes — being called a terrorist, getting threats from non-Muslims and being harassed at work.
Senior Sam Sawadogo is Muslim and said his religion, Islam, is “not a violent religion.”
“It’s about peace and the belief of God,” Sawadogo said. “Muslims are not terrorists; many people in this country discriminate against them while the majority of Muslims only seek peace.”
There is a strong understanding among many Muslims that, when it comes to racial minorities, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Kosovar Muslim, a Chechen Muslim, a Black Muslim, a white Muslim, a Kashmiri Muslim or a Somali Muslim, you will still be treated like you’re a bad person.
One of the most important and overlooked facts about American Muslims is that they are not all uniformly religious and dedicated. Some are religiously dedicated, some are religiously moderate and some are non-practicing and non-religious, fundamentally Muslim in name only; similar to a good portion of U.S. Christians and Jews.
Some attend mosque on a weekly basis and pray every day, while others don’t engage in either practice. There is a huge difference between a high-minded Muslim and an Islamic extremist.
Even though the U.S is supposed to be a safe place to practice your religion, many Americans view Islam as a religion of violence. Part of this perception is because Muslims dress differently and have different religious views from the majority of American Christians.
The Muslim’s everyday living styles are actually very comparable to the Christian’s. If people took the time to know more about their Muslim neighbors and their personal lives, instead of the bad things they watch on the news, they would see that although we are different, we have a lot of common ground. In addition, it doesn’t help that the movies even portray Muslims as the bad guys, which further enhances the American people’s negative view.
It seems the Muslim community remains mute while radical Muslims kill and torture Christians and Jews in the name of the religion. Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace, but because of disasters caused by Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, all of the Muslim population are victimized as terrorists and murderers.
As a Muslim, let me make it loud and clear. I want peace for all people.