Donald Trump claims, in defense of racial profiling, “Do we really have a choice? We’re trying to be so politically correct in our country, and this is only going to get worse.”
Trump, of course, has invented hosts of Muslims celebrating the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers on 9/11. Trump is also known for inventing his own reality as he goes, one that has little or no relationship to our own.
All to justify the hate and fear he peddles daily.
We do have a choice, however. And that choice is illustrated by a 17-year-old American Muslim girl, born and raised here, who would be victimized by Trump’s policies, along with many other American-born Muslims.
Her letter was sent to President Barack Obama and along with others, was shared with the president in July in celebration of Eid al-Fitr. The letter below appears at WhiteHouse.gov, and Aleena Khan has now made a video of herself reading the letter.
Watch courtesy of CNN:
Dear Mr. President,
As-Salaam-Alaikum. My name is Aleena K , and I currently go to Northwest High School in Germantown, Maryland. Per the requirements of an honors research program I participate in, I completed a senior research project on a topic of my choosing. I wanted to make my project something that I could use as a learning experience, something that would correctly embody the passion I have for helping people. That was when I settled on my topic: Muslim-Americans. As a practicing Muslim-American, I am all too familiar with the difficulties of being a Muslim in a non-Muslim majority country. Thus, my project, titled Split in the Middle: Why Muslim-American Teenage Girls Struggle with their Identity, was born.
Completing this project was difficult. I had to face not only my insecurities, but the harsh rhetoric of other Americans. Because one of the potential causes of an identity crisis is the media, I had browse through the comments section of various articles that pertained to Muslim-Americans. I spent a couple of hours, sitting on the floor of my bedroom, reading thousands of comments from other people throughout America. The multitude of people who expressed their desire for deporting Muslims shocked me the most. I am an American, I grew up here. I say the Pledge of Allegiance every day. And yet, I am a Muslim. I fast during the month of Ramadan and celebrate Eid. I read the Quran, go to religion class, and pray. Which one was I allowed to be? It is a question that plagues me to this day.
Today, I watched you give a speech at a mosque in Baltimore. You talked about how society needs to stop its rhetoric, because it is not fair to profile a group of people as a result of the actions of one person. You mentioned how we are not just Muslims, or just Americans, but we are both. We are Muslim-Americans. Amongst the negative comments and the rising hatred of Muslims in this country, your speech was like an oxygen tank. It allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief and give me hope that maybe, just maybe, there was an influential figure who believed in us.
As I am writing this letter, I am listening to Adele’s song “All I Ask” on her new album. And all I ask is for acceptance and tolerance from others. I know that this can eventually be achieved, not from the work of just one individual, but from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your faith in us.
CNN reports that “an estimated 3.3 million Muslims live in the United States [and] violent extremists are outnumbered nearly 10,000 to 1…which means that Omar Mateen,” who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub this year, “is not the norm. Aleena Khan is.”
She is an American, like Trump, and the Constitution says she has the same set of rights. Trump says we don’t have a choice, but we do, and all Aleena Khan is asking is the same respect Trump claims for himself.
We do have a choice. We just have to look past the hate and the fear and make it.