You see, I’m a Muslim American and every time a person who claims to practice Islam carries out an act of violence, it’s also an attack on who I am and I feel pressure to disavow their actions on behalf of my faith and my community.
I feel the need to smile at people a little harder. Or maybe I should wear pink because who could dislike someone wearing pink? I feel the need to be extra nice, to be the “good” Muslim, to show humanity what my religion really stands for — and that’s not what’s reflected on the evening news.
This is a common phenomenon in my community. Mosques hold vigils honoring victims and prayer circles for families and cities. Muslim organizations around the world send out press releases condemning the actions of ISIS, Al-Qaida, and other fringe extremist groups. Crowdsourcing accounts are set up to help families and communities rebuild. Yet, time and time again there are people in the media who ask where are the condemnations from Muslims?
I didn’t vote for ISIS. ISIS doesn’t reflect any of my values or beliefs. This is my condemnation.
Now I ask you, white America. Do you feel guilty because a minority percentage of people from your race voted for someone who wants to round up my family, my children, and myself like cattle?
Do you feel guilty that nearly half of you voted for someone who is supported by the Ku Klux Klan? Do you feel guilty that they voted for a person who mocks and insults African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ people, and the disabled? Do they guilty about voting for a person who boasts about sexually assaulting women?
Why are you so quiet, white America? I don’t hear your outcry. I don’t see your condemnations.
Shouldn’t every major American church and organization send out a press release condemning the outcome of this election?
That’s what we expect from Muslim America when extremists act.
Donald Trump is a white supremacist. Even if he doesn’t mean what he says — as so many white friends are quick to tell me — he spent months fanning the flames of hatred and now hate crimes are being committed across the nation.
On Nov. 10, children in a Royal Oak middle school cafeteria were video taped chanting, “Build the wall, build the wall,” while their Latino classmates cried
Prior to the election, a Muslim woman was set on fire in New York City, while walking down Fifth Avenue. Two Muslim men, one a cleric, were shot in the head point blank in New York City.
In a school parking lot in Oregon, Pro-Trump students shouted, “Pack your bags, you’re leaving tomorrow,” and “Tell your family good-bye,” at Hispanic students while waving a confederate flag.
I know that America is filled with good people and I believe that no one is responsible for the actions of another, but on Nov. 9 my faith in humanity was shaken.
If you didn’t vote for Trump, I shouldn’t hold you accountable. But you should pay me the same courtesy. The next time a terrorist group attacks, don’t assume I share in their violent hatred. Don’t assume my community relishes in these abominable acts. Afford me the same respect as you expect in return.
So let me ask you, where is your condemnation? Demand that Trump address his words and apologize for a year of slander against minorities and stand with me against white supremacy.
Anasie Tayyen is a writer, a mother, and an active member of the metro Detroit Muslim American community.
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I wonder if white America is experiencing massive, collective guilt.