Letter to Donald Trump from a Muslim

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SHAFAQNA – Dear Donald Trump:

In 1981, after being persecuted and imprisoned for refusing to comply with Soviet communism, I escaped Afghanistan and came to the United States of America as a refugee with one thing in mind: freedom.

A freedom I experienced as a foreign exchange student in America, and longed to have again. A freedom that has been a blessing to many families, including my own. A freedom that is now being threatened because of your campaign against Muslims. Since my arrival in 1981, I have always worked full-time, paid taxes and served as an active community member with full conviction. I could not imagine that my loyalty to the U.S. would be questioned because of my religion.

In your campaign you have consistently made false and ignorant statements toward Islam and Muslims. How can you make generalizations about 1.5 billion people (population of Muslims in the world) based on the actions of a few? The same ideology that is used to label Muslims as terrorists can also be used to label all Muslims as peacemakers, considering that five out of the last 12 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize were Muslim. Anyone who kills innocent people should be condemned and punished, but for no reason should they be linked to religion. It is both wrong and unfair how the media quickly associates violence with religion when the criminal is a Muslim.

You claim that you will enhance the safety of the Unites States, but your campaign has only endangered the safety of American citizens. Your irrational proclamations and rhetoric have incited a dramatic increase in Islamophobic attacks across the US, jeopardizing the safety and lives of American Muslims.

Your plans of “branding” as well “banning” have only instigated violence against Muslim citizens. While ISIS is radicalizing Muslims, you are simultaneously radicalizing people right here in the United States by instilling fear in them. Terrorist organizations have used your statements for their own recruiting videos. You directly support their recruiting efforts.

Taking advantage of Islamophobia as part of your campaign platform is not only unjustified but also immoral, and goes against American values. I had yearned to become a part of this country, with its promises of freedom­ and justice for all, but here I am 35 years later, questioning the establishment of these very principles.

So Mr. Trump, I ask you: How can you isolate and attack one group of people while running for a country that aims to protect all of its citizens? I have confidence that the American people will realize that you are not right for America, and that my friends in the community will join me in standing for justice for all people.

Mohammad Saber Bahrami left Afghanistan more than 30 years ago to come to the United States. He performed his residency at Ball Memorial Hospital and have been a practicing family physician here ever since. 

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