Op-EdOpinion

Muslims Ponder Next Step After Trump Win, Hateful Rhetoric

In Columbus, Ohio, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab was threatened by a man at a traffic light while her children and parents looked on. He cursed and yelled “You don’t belong in this country. Go back home.”

In Queens, New York, Fariha Nizam was also wearing a hijab on a city bus when a man yelled at her to take off her head wrap because “that is disgusting piece of clothing.”

And Gwinnett County, Georgia, teacher Mairah Teli, 24, received a note from someone in her high school class that read, “Why don’t you hang yourself with your [hijab] … signed, America.”

Racist, white supremacist and hate groups have reportedly been emboldened by Donald Trump’s victory in last week’s presidential election, and while Trump hasn’t stated whether he plans to keep his campaign promises to block some Muslims entering the U.S. and deport Latinos in the country illegally, area Muslim leaders fear that Trump’s intent is endangering the lives of Muslims across the country.

“Regardless of who won the election, America Muslims are here to stay,” said Nihad Award, executive director of the Council of Islamic Relations. “We are not going anywhere and we will not be intimidated or marginalized. … America is your home and home for your children. This is your future and you are not going anywhere.”

The D.C.-based group recently held a news conference where area Muslim leaders voiced their concerns about increased violence in the wake of Trump’s victory.

Abdul Raheem Abdulah, a legislative aide from the District, said, “When I woke up the morning after Trump won, I called all of my children. I have children in New York, In Greensboro, North Carolina and in Baltimore and they are all Muslims. My children are me.”

While some area Muslims have focused on the incidents, others are more interested in coming up with plans to prevent another political landslide.

“I am not going to cry because someone out-mobilized me, said Iman Johari Addul-Malik of the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Falls Church. “He got many people to the polls that had not voted in 20 years.

“I am confessing our sins that have forgotten about our poor and working class neighbors,” Malik said. “We just didn’t give a damn. Now we have to reach out to the poor and working-class white people to bring them into the civil rights movement.

“I believe that is time to have a new kind of freedom ride, who will got to South to end the explanation of blacks and poor whites,” Malik said. “If you look at the map where Donald Trump won, it is clear that we have a new racial divided and it is clear that they are worse than blue part of the country.”

Sharif Salim, community lliason for the Dyanet Center of America in Lanham, Maryland, pointed out that Trump “said many cruel things during the campaign and I haven’t heard him take anything back. We as Muslims always move on faith as well as … intelligence, regardless of who is in the White House.”

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Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the Greater Washington Area. Hamil has chronicled the Million Man March, the Clinton White House, the September 11 attack, the sniper attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the campaign of President Barack Obama and many other people and events. Hamil is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of the Washington Post where he writes a range of stories, shoots photos and produces videos for the print and online editions of the Post. In addition, he is often called upon to report on crime, natural disasters and other breaking issues. In 2006 Harris was part of a team of reporters that published the series “Being a Black Man.” He was also the reporter on the video project that accompanied the series that won two Emmy Awards, the Casey Medal and the Peabody Award. Hamil has lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, the American University, the University of Maryland and the University of the District of Columbia. He also lectures several times a year to interns during their semester in the District as part of their matriculation at the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities.

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