Someone sent me a flyer from a masjid in Apex, North Carolina where the imam of that masjid addresses what should be the reaction of his group to the election of Donald Trump. Contrary to what the average American may think about the presence of Muslims in this country, this cleric’s advise is full of calls to American civics, service and faith in the American process as well as in their religion.
It’s been a long, hard campaign and election season. We’ve heard some incredibly divisive rhetoric, some of it aimed at us and some of it aimed at other minorities we call friends and allies. Many of you have come to me and expressed your fears and sadness over the outcome of the elction. Let me first say that as American Muslims, we should all respect the choice that has been made through our electoral process. We should also continue to have a high level of self-esteem as we have always been good and loyal citizens of this country, not only out of respect for the laws and regulations of this country but because doing so is part of our faith.
The more I grow in this faith the more love and respect I have for our great Prophet and Messenger (prayer and peace be upon him); the more thankful to God I am for making me one of his followers in this time; and the better I understand God’s words, which are full of wisdom and mercy. One of the verses of Quran that really inspires me is “Verily, you (the believers) have had in the Messenger of God a great example”. It’s he who taught us courage, patience and trust in God. It’s he who taught us to rely, in times of hardship and all times, only on God’ not anybody else. It’s he who taught us to be positive, no matter what the challenges are. He also taught us that after making plans and taking necessary steps to achieve a certain goal, the final decision is still His. It’s he who reported to us the verse of Quran in which Almighty God says “And perhaps you don’t appreciate something, while God would bring good through it”.
So I trust God. And I ask that you do too, my fellow Muslims. I know it is hard given the divisive rhetoric we’ve heard throughout the campaign process. But I ask you to walk with heads held high; we should not be pushed to hide our faith, our identity, nor our values. This is not what our great prophet taught us to do. Nor is it the principals that this Great Nation was founded on. Our prophet taught us to face all kinds of challenges with courage, wisdom, pride and patience. Gentleness is the path of our great prophet so let us NOT find our path to equality and justice by drinking from the cup of bitterness.
Instead, here’s what we must do; we need to be more active civically, we need to get involved with volunteer organizations, we need to get out and meet our neighbors. We need to get out of our “bubble” which finds us only socializing with those “like” us and show our neighbors and community who we are. If you don’t leave the “bubble”, you cannot be upset when people stereotype you or fear you. We need to be more active in the political process, meet our representatives and express our fears and challenges with them. We need to work in tandem with government and our communities to form alliances and create a better world for everyone.
And to President Elect Trump—We will give you a chance. Let not your Muslim citizens (nor any other minority) be your worst enemy. Your worst enemies should be ignorance, poverty, inequality, crime, racism, discrimination and hate.
Two thousand sixteen is not an end, but a beginning. Two thousand sixteen should be an opportunity to replace the fear, mistrust and suspicion that were infused in some American’s hears, with love, brotherhood and mercy. Just like our Prophet taught us to do. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Let’s get started- Imam Khalid Shaku
Don’t let it be said you don’t know what Muslims are doing in this country.