One of my best friends is a proud Muslim. Growing up together in Connecticut, we bonded over our shared love of the UConn Huskies and all other things sports related. Whenever we went to the park or played basketball, his family took me in with open arms and treated me like I was their own son.
His mother and father came here in the early 1990s. His father fought against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s when the Mujahideen successfully defeated the invading army during the Soviet War in Afghanistan. He bravely risked his life to make a better world for his family. When the political situation in Afghanistan didn’t stabilize, he came to the U.S., where he bought a home, became the owner of several Subway franchises and raised four children.
My friend became the first person in his family to graduate from college. He then went on to successfully graduate from law school and currently works as an attorney. He went through school often as the only Muslim in his class. He, and other members of the Muslim community, would come from all over the state to congregate at their mosque, forming a tight-knit and happy community.
We spoke today and he expressed a lot of anxiety. Anti-muslim sentiment is very high. The leadership of our country is demonizing this religious minority with reprehensible and disgusting discrimination. Trump has even said himself that even if you make the ultimate sacrifice as a U.S. army veteran, if you are a Muslim you and your family don’t deserve respect. Trump’s policy means that even if you make a film worthy of an Oscar, it doesn’t matter, because if you’re a Muslim, in his eyes, you’ll never be good enough.
Hanging on my wall is a quote from Pastor Martin Niemöller:
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was nobody left to speak for me.”
Resist with your money, resist with your time, resist this evil. Don’t be silent.