An outsider looking in – a Muslim’s perspective of America

So unless you’ve taken a trip off to a distant planet the last few weeks, you’ll know Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States of America. The more likely scenario is that you’ve been in a weird hybrid hibernation – sleeping for a while, waking up to check if it really happened, then pretending it didn’t by going back to sleep - since the dramatic result of a fascinating, but very depressing election. I wouldn’t blame you. We’ve just endured arguably one of the worst elections. We witnessed two candidates who were not particularly liked face off. On one hand, we had Hillary Clinton not offering any real palpable change, whilst Trump offered divisive and intoxicating change, but genuine change nonetheless. A difference to the last 8 years of President Obama’s tenure. So I woke up and was sadly, not so surprised Donald Trump won. And as a Muslim, much like the ones in the US, it does concern me…a lot. 

Disclaimer: My issue is not with those who voted for Trump. The vast majority of people are not racists, bigots, and misogynists, whatever you want to say. However, the rhetoric from Trump over the past 18 months and far beyond is evidence enough to take issue with. Being a Muslim, it troubles me to know the soon-to-be leader of the free world holds such deep, misguided views.  Although, it seems he has changed his tune a touch with him denying he said he would register Muslims in a database, despite their being clear visual evidence, which his orangeness shines a light upon. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily seem the case when his notorious ‘Muslim ban’ proposal remains on his website after it mysteriously vanished the day after the election temporarily, of course. We’ve known Trump to back-track in the past and this is no exception.

Muslims are living in fear because apparently they don’t belong. How are they expected to feel in a world where the President intends to do nothing but oppress them? It’s sad to hear reports of Islamophobia increasing in America (even here in the UK). Perhaps people are desperate. Desperate for someone who remotely represents the average man, desperate to clutch onto a big enough difference that it might actually change things for the better. How they think a man who demonises women and possesses golden towers is relatable is beyond me. But I think it’s another example of the disillusionment in politics. It’s the type of difference they’ve bought into that threatens all. 

I remember how dejected I felt after the announcement of Trump’s victory. I have dreams. An immediate dream is to travel. I want to adventure across the world and bask in all its glory that still remains, anyway. I have the exploring fever. Now one of my must-see locations is surprise surprise…America. New York, especially. That’s been a dream since I was about four years old. Yes, you might wonder why I didn’t go before, but sadly it wasn’t feasible. You might now tell me it's too late knowing Trump’s policies. So should I bother putting America on the list of must-see countries? I wish I had an answer. I can only pray there are sufficient checks and balances to prevent Trump from banning me. How many times do you have to tell a person: Not every Muslim is a terrorist.

In times like this, I can only ask people to remain undaunted. Unfortunately, we have to accept Donald Trump as the 45th President of the US because that will not change. However, we don’t have to accept his ridicule. We don’t have to accept his unrelenting disregard for innocence. I’m not asking you to. The protests across America prove that. What I do ask though is to not forget our origins. We must not forget our values, our journey, our desire for prosperity and a happy life to reflect upon with euphoric nostalgia. One man must not stand in our way. No matter if he lives in a golden tower with his name emblazoned across it or a white house. Don’t forget who you are.