Muslim Americans fearful of Trump presidency: 'He sees us as less than human'

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Fear and uncertainty is boiling within Muslim-American communities nationwide after Donald Trump was declared the next president of the United States.

Two Muslim Americans I spoke to expressed concern about their futures in this country.

“Trump does not work from within the system. With Clinton, even those of us not with her, we have connections and we know we can work within existing systems to change things,” Nora Nashawaty, a 23-year-old Syrian-American student living in Chicago, told me. “We have none of that with Trump. We know he doesn't want to listen to us, and we know that he sees us as less than human.”

Mohammad Dalain, a Syrian refugee living in Dallas, echoed Nashawaty’s views.

“All my dreams about a productive future might disappear after Trump winning. I'll be scared to be kicked [out] of some places just because [of] my name or because of my appearance,” Dalain, 25, told me. “I am afraid, as a Muslim, of being judged by others because they hear in media about terrorism—not the true Islam.”


Other Muslim Americans shared their largely negative reactions to Tuesday night’s election results via social media.


Trump has targeted Muslims since the early days of his campaign, calling for a ban on them entering the U.S., and suggesting that they carry identification cards. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported an “unprecedented spike” in Islamophobic hate crimes “attributed at least in part to statements and policy proposals made by public figures like GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.” A Georgetown University report confirmed CAIR’s statement, saying there were 53 attacks against Muslims in December 2015. Meanwhile, only two such attacks happened at the start of the election season.

But Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR’s Los Angeles chapter, urged his fellow Muslim Americans to stay strong in the face of a hostile president.


"Regardless [of] who won or lost, American Muslims are here to stay in their country. We are proud to be American Muslims, “ Ayloush, 46, told me. “We are not going anywhere; we will not be intimidated or marginalized; and we will continue to mobilize and strive to challenge bigotry, uphold justice, and protect our and everyone's freedoms and rights.”

Alaa Basatneh is a human-rights activist and a writer at Fusion focusing on the Arab world. She is the protagonist of the 2013 documentary "#ChicagoGirl."

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