Muslim in Trump’s America


Hillary Clinton supporters watching election results on Tuesday night in New York. Credit Ruth FremsonThe New York Times

Somaliland sun-A man who threatened to bar my people from entering this country is now its elected leader. I was supposed to wake up welcoming the first female president. Instead, I am listening to what feels like a powerful death rattle from America’s White Supremacy.

How else can I describe the response of the 58 percent of all white voters who, according to exit polls, supported a thoroughly unqualified candidate who advocates “extreme vetting” of my people, calls Mexicans rapists and consistently humiliates women?

How else am I, an American Muslim father and husband, son of Pakistani immigrants, supposed to feel that America is great again, or ever?

As Mr. Trump’s base rejoices, American Muslim parents are furiously WhatsApping and texting one another about how they’re terrified for their children’s safety.

“Stay safe,” texts my friend from England.

“Wajoo baba, please be very careful — if Trump wins, his supporters will feel very energized,” I said in a chat with my dad before the final tally of the evening was clear.

A high school friend of mine messaged me the following note on Facebook after midnight: “You represent a huge part of the arrogance and condescension of the liberal part of this country. I voted for Bernie and then Johnson. But you condescended to the concerns of good working class people. You lost. You deserved it.”

I “deserve” this? Does my 2-year-old son, Ibrahim, and 3-month-old baby girl, Nusayba, deserve to be bullied at school for simply having a Muslim name? Do their mosques deserves to be vandalized?

Let’s flip it around. Dear Trump Supporter, when you weren’t outsourcing much of your legitimate economic grievances through overt and covert bigotry, did you think about the rest of us? Hispanics, women, Muslims, immigrants, Asian-Americans, African-Americans, gays and lesbians and the multi-hyphenated?

Did you listen to how we felt being called criminals, rapists, extremists and others?

But, then again, did I really listen to you? To your frustration and resentment at being called privileged when many weren’t feeling that privilege in your jobs, your savings accounts, your foreclosures?

I tried, but I obviously failed you. I could and should have done better.

Instead of being despondent, I am willing myself to be more passionate, energized and empowered for the sake of my children. That’s the one relief and cause of joy. We’re all still here. And none of us are going anywhere — yet.

The author Wajahat Ali is the author of the play “The Domestic Crusaders” and creative director of Affinis Labs, a hub for social entrepreneurship and innovation.

Read more of New York Times opinions about  What Happened on Election Day in America