America Matters Muslim Americans in the Era of Trump

By Shireen Qudosi

Being Muslim in America is seen as a challenge today, but America is a sanctuary for Muslim Free Thinkers. The United States is one of the few places in the world that protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and mandates the separation of church and state — all of which create a community that both protects and enriches the individual.

All of these factors are instrumental in giving parents what we need to do our job right. Our job isn’t to raise a child who wears an identity as a badge; whether it’s race, gender, or religion. Our highest priority should be to raise free thinkers, and if we’re Muslim, this now becomes even more important as we enter the “Era of Trump.”

The Struggle Muslim Americans Face in the Era of Trump

As Muslims, we’re facing an incredible struggle. The perceived struggle is that Muslims face greater scrutiny or “Islamophobia” under President Trump; therefore there is a need to create safe spaces. Yet, the real struggle isn’t about needing a safe space in America, but using the cauldron that America gives us to challenge and redefine ourselves. Let’s ask ourselves what does it really mean to be American, and then to be Muslim?

We’re in a unique time that will go down in history as a pivotal moment, the metaphorical fork in the road between liberalism and fundamentalism in our faith. If we care about raising Muslim children and if we want to secure their safety and place in society, we need to raise them to be free thinkers.

The question is how do we do that, because quite honestly most of us aren’t free thinkers. We’ve been indoctrinated into a culture (not a faith) that demands obedience and has conditioned us to follow patterns. It’s going to be a challenge for us as Muslim parents because alongside raising our children to be free thinkers, we’re going to need to break a few rules ourselves.

In many ways, being an American Muslim has always been about pushing boundaries, being inquisitive, passionate and bold. These are strengths that have birthed one of the most powerful countries in the world, one that Muslims all over flock to. Yet in the Muslim culture, these are seen as traits of rebellion and defiance. So let’s start there. Let’s see rebellion and defiance as something beautiful, which has the ability to create new ideas and find new solutions to old problems.