A Muslim's Perspective On The 2016 Election

A Muslim's Perspective On The 2016 Election

Now with twice the fear than ever before!
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Well, I think we all know how much of a wild ride it's been this past week with everything. I don't really think I need to go into exact detail about what went down, but I think it's still important to talk about it. Everyone has vastly different opinions and views regarding this election. Some face no repercussions based on the results, while others fear for their lives.

Let's recap a little: according to the popular vote, Hillary Clinton won with 60,981,118 votes (including mine) where as Donald Trump won by 60,350,241 votes. This resulted in Hillary winning the popular vote by roughly 630,877 votes. However, because the Democracy system in this country for elections follows an electoral college, Trump won with this system with 290 votes. An influence in him winning also has to do with the small percentage of people voting for the third party candidates in multiple states, causing the electoral college to directed more in his favor. Because of these results, many people nationwide are outraged and demand justice. Others, especially those belonging to the LGBT+ community, women, people of color, and not to mention Muslims have been really fearful for their lives and are worried their rights may or may not be taken away from them. And because of this, just in the past few days across multiple cities, there have been large protests following the #NotMyPresident and #NotMyVicePresident hashtags full of people who want to be heard that this election has proved to be an injustice to all of us.

As a young Muslim woman who's been here in this country her whole life, I've never felt more self-aware about myself and religion until this election.

I'm fortunate enough to live in such a liberal state where I'm surrounded by countless others like me and overall, it's a nice time. We're all able to live peacefully and pursue what we want to do with our lives. There are so many communities within Long Island alone where so many of us are involved, like, for example, the Islamic Center of Long Island that I'm proud to be a part of. In my life, I've never really faced any serious discrimination regarding who I am based on my race and religion. That isn't to say I, or the rest of my family, haven't faced any discrimination at all. Traveling via airplanes and going through airport security is always a fun time (did you detect the sarcasm?) and it's always great getting weird looks because of how I dress (again, sarcasm anyone?).

Ever since the results of these elections, I have never felt more fearful for my life and the lives of others within my own community. I am well aware of the discrimination and hate that many other Muslims in this country face on a daily basis. I've always disliked it and strive for this kind of hatred to stop once and for all, but unfortunately it's pretty clear how much this country hates Muslims. You can't even deny that either considering the huge focus on terrorism and associating Muslims with that.

In this past week alone, I've been seeing countless people and peers especially throughout my college who are in tears because of the results of this election. I'm definitely not the only one who's afraid right now. I personally know a few people myself who have voted for Trump and third party candidates and it's been rather interesting. It makes me angry.

A few in particular have been worried and asked me if I hate them because they voted for the candidates I didn't particularly want. Here's my typical response to this and I still wholeheartedly stand by this: It's hard for me to hate people I know and love, especially if they're people who have been so kind to me and are an important part of my life. However, because of who they decided to vote for, regardless of their position and views, I feel as if they hate who I am.

Let me clarify once again, I feel as if people hate who I am because of their vote and now I'm worried for the well-being of myself and others.

No matter what happens to us, no matter if whatever was originally planned for this country through this campaign actually happens, I'm finding it in me to be more open about myself as much as I can. I don't want to be afraid any longer because of my religion. I want to be able to express myself as I have been already without feeling any fear or uncertainty. I want to help those right now who are struggling and I want there to be mutual understanding.

Expressing one's religion is one of our unalienable rights after all.

Cover Image Credit: SBS

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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The Gap Between Knowledge And Action

Let's talk about action. There seems to be a mass phenomenon of disconnect between knowledge and action. Why is it that increased knowledge is not motivating people towards increased action.

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In the world today, there are all sorts of social and political movements. Though society has always been flawed with endless problems, people are more aware of these problems today than ever. The rise of the internet, smartphones, and social media has created a new social climate of awareness as a result of greater interconnectedness. But how is it that the public is growing more aware, yet nothing seems to be changing?

I began really thinking about this perplexity recently, as I listened to a TedTalk discussing global warming. According to public polling from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 70% of Americans agree that global warming is occurring. But according to the same polling, only 40% of Americans think climate change will affect them personally and are adjusting their lifestyles because of it. This is the gap between knowledge and action. Two-thirds of Americans acknowledge climate change, but only less than half are doing something about it. Something is being lost in translation, but what is it?

This phenomenon extends far beyond climate change though. Poverty. Hunger. Displacement. Lack of access to clean water. Sexual inequality. Like I said earlier, there are an endless array of problems the world faces, and we are more aware of them than ever, but how do we link knowledge and action?

We know that most issues that have risen due to globalization, affect the people who contribute to the problem the least, the most. Global warming is disproportionately affecting those in poverty who can't afford to recover from wildfires in California, stronger hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, or increasingly severe droughts in Syria. People in Flint, Michigan or Karachi, Pakistan lack clean water because of the actions of people far richer than themselves. Is a lack of personal victimization the reason? Is raised awareness and stagnant action a symptom of a bigger issue of lacking compassion or are people just lazy?

As a nineteen-year-old college student, maybe I'm naïve, but I refuse to believe that the U.S. and global, society as a whole is lacking in action because they are lacking in compassion or because third world problems "are not their problems." Philosopher, Christopher Heath Wellman, put it best when saying to "[n]otice how awkward it is to protest that those of us who are privileged cannot be obligated to change the system because we are impotent in the face of its enormity, while simultaneously suggesting that those who are starving to death are entitled to no assistance because they are responsible for the political and economic institutions which led to their ruin" in regards to world hunger.

You may be thinking, "OK but how can I make a difference, as just one person?" What Wellman meant in his quote was that you alone cannot make a difference for people starving in another country, but neither can they. It's only when we come together as a society and commit to action can we overcome these issues. Perhaps this is my Global Studies major speaking, but we are all citizens of the world, not just citizens of the U.S. and we must allow our compassion accordingly. No one has any choice in where, what circumstances, or what society they are born into so to refuse action which would help victims of circumstance would be an ignorant form of elitism.

This problem isn't exclusively on the national and global scale either; everyday people see problems in their personal lives and yet, only a small minority take action. Take, for example, people who stress about procrastination, but never change their time management habits. People who make the same New Year's Resolution every year because they never follow suit. Smokers who want to quit but don't try. Students who complain about poor grades but don't make time to study. Even in our own personal lives, knowledge rarely seems to prompt action.

I don't have an easy fix for this. And I don't hold the solutions to global warming, poverty, hunger, lack of access to clean water, or sexual inequality. But I do know that it doesn't need to be this way. It's often said that recognizing you have an issue is half the battle, the next half is action. Every day, our knowledge of the world and everything which inhabits it is increasing, the time for action is now. If we all, individually, take it upon ourselves to care for one another and work towards a better world, in small ways, I believe that together, we can make anything a reality.

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