Analysis & Opinion

As a Muslim U.S. citizen, I have been suffering the consequences of your words in your second presidential debate — An Open Letter to Trump

Dear Mr. President Donald Trump,

My name is Sana Sangrilla and I am a Muslim American. I am writing this letter on behalf of my Muslim community. I seek apology in advance if you have found my letter offensive.

As a Muslim U.S.  citizen, I have been suffering the consequences of your words in your second presidential debate. You said ,“as I agree that islamophobia exist and that’s a shame”, “There is a problem with Islamic extremists”.  In few others election debates you have always mentioned Muslims as terrorists. I am a Muslim US citizen; I don’t like terrorism and neither does anyone else in this country or any other country. All Muslims are not terrorists. So why would you mention a religion “Islam” when talking about terrorism?

Islam is just a religion like every other religion in this world. It depends on what an individual person brings to it. If a person is violent then regardless of the fact that this individual person is from any race, culture, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism or any other religions, he is going to remain violent.

In Kashmir region, Muslims have been killed by Hindus. In Palestine, Muslims have been killed by Jews. In 1947, so many Muslims were killed by Sikhs. In US history, Africans were brought to the US as slaves. Their rights were limited, and they were not allowed to have a decent role in white people’s society.  Hundreds of Muslim women and children were slaughtered by Buddhist groups rampaging through the towns of Myanmar. In all of these occurrences, people were from different races, cultures and religions.

Of course, no religion promotes violence. People themselves are either violent or peaceful. That depends on a person’s morality, politics and social world. People themselves are responsible for whatever is going on in this world.

As a Muslim citizen, even I am scared for myself, my friends, and my family when I go through current news and watch live the consequences of terrorism and dirty politics. In the USA, we have people from all around the world living in America as one nation. No one wants war or would like to be killed, banned, or harassed.

As I understand, your concern is that there were many people who have been killed in America by Muslims. However, there were also many people killed by non-Muslims as well. So many incidents happened where a Muslim died by an American non-Muslim.  They are many cases where American born were killed by an American born person.  Recently, a former student shot 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 12, 2018 is one of them. (CNN).

Twelve people were killed and fifty-nine were wounded by a white American James Holmes at a theater. John Russell “Rusty” Houser, 59, methodically shot 11 people in a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater using a handgun he legally purchased from an Alabama pawn shop. (CNN)

When Mr. Trump, you said in the fall that you would consider making Muslims in the United States carry special identification cards. My question is why all and only Muslims? There are so many Muslim Americans who died in Afghanistan and Iraq while fighting for our nation. The Muslim parents are suffering by losing their loved ones in War on Terror. There is a large number of Muslim people working in US military in different positions and fighting against terrorism, including myself.

There is no such thing like “islamophobia”, but its mentioning in your debates, tweets, and words, has affected a common citizen in so many ways. Your words are making people hate Muslims more. I had to change my home twice because in my neighborhood, a Trump supporter would make life uncomfortable for my family, my friends, and all Muslim people. They don’t feel any shame in calling us terrorists without knowing us. My US born daughter has been bullied in school by a second-grade student, because she is Muslim. My daughter asked me, “If I was born in USA, then why do people around me tell me to return to my country?” I could not answer her.

My friend’s mother had similar experienced. One of your supporters said to her “My leader is right about you guys.” He then pulled her scarf. I have been bullied along with other Muslims because of our religion. We have been harassed and bullied by so many of your supporters.

My appeal to you is if you can kindly stop portraying Muslims as terrorists in your debates. Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. If a group of people are using the word “jihad” as a shield to promote terrorism, this doesn’t make all Muslims terrorists. The Arabic word “jihad” is often translated as “holy war,” but in a purely linguistic sense, the word ” jihad” means struggling or striving. Our Prophet Muhammad referred to internal as well as external efforts as signs of a good Muslim or believer, as well as working to inform other people about the faith of Islam. If militant jihad is required to protect the faith against others, it can be performed using anything from legal, diplomatic, economic, or political means. If there is no peaceful alternative, Islam also allows the use of force, but there are strict rules of engagement. Innocents – such as women, children, or invalids – must never be harmed, and any peaceful overtures from the enemy must be accepted. The concept of jihad has been hijacked by many political and religious groups over the ages in a bid to justify various forms of violence. Our Islamic scholars are against it. They are using name of jihad to mislead people and play their own dirty politics.

Mr. Trump, you are President of the United States and, of course we, look up to you as our leader. Your words and your actions mean a lot to us. Diversity whether it is cultural, ethnic or religious, makes America the greatest nation on earth. My appeal to you is when you talk about terrorism, please don’t use the word Islam with it as that makes so many patriotic and peaceful Muslim Americans at risk. Sir, you are the President of all-inclusive America, not America of a particular people.

I, once, again apologize if anything I said has distressed you.

Sana Sangrilla