Dear Donald Trump,

When you talk about Muslims, we are here, we exist, and your words are an insult every time you open your mouth. I’ve been a Muslim all my life in California, and it has never been a problem. I have never killed anyone. I don’t even know anyone, Muslim or not, that has killed someone else. I am an American citizen, just like you. I may not be rich and I may not be running for president, but I am very much a citizen.

I go to school and study every day. I even went to an Islamic private school for a while (in California) and you know what they taught me? Algebra, just like in public school. They taught me to ask questions, to be proud of my heritage, and to be kind to all. Is that different from public schools? I don’t think so and I would know, as I’ve been to both.

You like to talk a big game, about throwing us out and not letting any other Syrian refugees in, but they are victims and their religion doesn’t change that. I’m not saying we’re perfect. No. We are human.

“You like to talk a big game, about throwing us out and not letting any other Syrian refugees in, but they are victims…”

Some Muslims aren’t practicing, just how some Christians aren’t practicing, or Jews, or Hindus, or any religion. Even without religion, a person can be corrupt and cause terror. Are you going to tell me all Christians should be judged because the actions of one Christian or 1 percent of Jews when there are just so many? It’s like those jokes where you don’t befriend someone because they don’t like ketchup, because that’s what it is, a joke. We can’t look at someone for one aspect of his or her life. Humans are complex creatures with brains that process information in ways that are still amazing scientists.

Don’t be the pompous business man you are awarded for being on your shows. Instead, be a man who realizes the world isn’t about him and that the American justice system isn’t your toy to play with and manipulate however you see fit.

And if you were in fact hoping for our people to run away, then you’ve never looked at us properly. I personally am going to stay here, right where you don’t want me — and I’d like to see you try to stop me. I was born and raised in the Bay Area. I thought America was progressive, not oppressive.

This letter may never reach you but even if it does, it may not even touch your heart at all, yet here I am asking you, human to human, is to stop using us as a scapegoat and as a way to win. Peoples’ lives and livelihoods are at stake. Did you know that a couple of weeks ago three Muslims were killed and it wasn’t on the headline news?

Maybe you’re a decent guy and you’re just using this as an angle to get voters, but realize that words are powerful and you have started a movement in which people can easily show their disdain for Muslims and immigrants who have the right to live here as much as you do. Little kids are being made fun of for having dark skin and Arab roots — and that is not how you make America great again.

To make America great again you need to help everyone in the community and help fight crime and terrorism, but not by bashing an entire religion and community that, whether you want to admit it or not, plays a large role in the American economy and society.

Good luck on your candidacy, but understand that for the safety of America, including my family and friends, I’m not voting for you. And I’m hoping America doesn’t either.

Much Peace,
Talia Basma

Northern California Islamic Council © 2017

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