Members of the Muslim community speak out about Trump
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR
Presidential elections put the whole country on notice. Feelings of ardent support for the your party’s nominee, and displays of disapproval for the opposition, are a part of the cycle, one that spans many months. This year, the outspokenness and disapproval directed toward Donald Trump was, at the very least, loud. His words sparked fear in many as he toured the country on an uncanny campaign.
During this year’s election, those feelings of fear were amplified amongst minority groups in the United States. Donald Trump securing the presidency meant the validation of his call to ban all Syrian refugees from entering the country, his call to build a 2,000-mile wall along the Mexican border and his call to introduce repressive policies on reproductive rights.
Among the many factions of people who were affected by Donald Trump’s remarks were members of the Muslim community. They heard Trump demean their people and culture when he called for a ban on all non Muslim Americans from entering the country, as well as creating the possibility of a Muslim American database.
On Saturday, members of the Islamic Society of Delaware hosted an open forum, inviting members of the greater Newark community to engage in a dialogue about the current state of our union. At the Masjid Ibrahim mosque, the election was on everyone’s mind.
Abobaker Mused, a fiscal and policy analyst with the Office of Management and Budget for the state of Delaware, was one of the millions who watched the live results as the polls closed and votes were counted. He stayed up late waiting for a confirmation, but even without one coming in until the early hours of Wednesday morning, Mused said he knew who was going to win.
“I knew by ten or eleven o’clock that the president-elect will be Donald Trump, and I tried to, as much as possible, not believe that,” he said.
Mused said that while the results were unexpected, he tried to accept the them despite Trump’s poor reception among many voters, including himself. He explained that it was a shock to him that Americans are now choosing “a path of bigotry, hate and discrimination.”
In the days since the conclusion of this election, results have continued show the increasing disparity in the popular vote between Trump and Hillary Clinton. According to an article published in The Atlantic, votes from coastal states, including New York and California, will continue to be counted as we near inauguration on Jan. 20.
Those uncounted votes will likely hedge in favor of Clinton, thus widening the gap of her lead in the popular vote to 1.7 percentage points.
While Mused is a part of that Clinton majority of disappointed voters, he understands that the results will not change, and Trump will be president. Forgiveness, he said, for all of Trump’s Islamophobic remarks will be vital in moving forward.
“I think we can always forgive,” he said. “If you are asking me from an American-Muslim standpoint, a law says in the Quran that you can have your greatest enemy become your closest friend. We are very much open to working with Donald Trump.”
Noor Jamal and Sumera Ali, sophomores and co-presidents of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), remain motivated to break the negative stereotypes some may harbor about Muslims on campus. They both were a part of the discussion, each of them speaking as panel members at the event.
Jamal said that right now she knows a lot of people are hurting because of the election results, so she is leaving herself and her group open to anyone who needs it.
“We say we have an outlet for these students, and we have to make sure the outlet is there for them at a time like this,” she said.
Both Jamal and Ali said that there is not so much a climate of fear residing on campus, but rather one of disappointment, echoing the sentiments of Mused and other Muslim community members that spoke during the discussion at the mosque.
On campus, Ali said there is an indifference toward Muslim culture that Ali said blocks any greater connection to other cultures and identities.
When Trump was elected president, the duo felt a brief moment of optimism. Perhaps Muslim culture can be discussed more openly among students. But Ali knows this is not the reality.
“Everyone just hears what the media and everyone else is saying and don’t try to learn about [Muslim culture],” she said.
Jamal acknowledges this reality and both herself and her RSO assume the responsibility of education.
“We now feel motivated,” she said.
In light of Trump’s ascent to the presidency, stories of hateful acts in schools and businesses have been reported. On campus, a bulletin board designed for positive messages in the West Tower was found to have derogatory comments directed toward African-American and Hispanic students.
Neither Ali of Jamal have been subject of these kinds of acts, but Ali, who worked at a polling place on Election Day, was puzzled by an interaction she had with a voter.
Ali said that while she was working, a man commented on her hijab. She immediately thought his remarks were going to be rude, but to her surprise, the man complimented it and told her that she was representative of what the United States should be.
“He said ‘I am happy you are here, despite everything that is going on,’” Ali said.
According to Ali, the man then continued on, apologizing to her. Ali was confused. She had just received a warm reception toward her culture and active role in democracy.
The man would end up apologizing for what took place a few minutes after their encounter. Heading toward the voting booth, he would cast his ballot for the candidate he believed was equipped to reform the nation’s tax policy.
His apology — and vote — were for his support of Donald Trump.