Raising American Muslim Kids in the Age of Trump

07ali-master768I’m up at 3 a.m., burping my new baby girl, Nusayba, smelling her fresh, new baby skin and rubbing her soft, bald head.

 Like most parents with young kids, I think about their future: What will my daughter’s first word be? Will she like spicy South Asian food or will I have to shame myself by ordering “mild”? Will my American Muslim daughter be allowed to leave the Trump detention camps if she grows up to be a “10”? Would that make her eligible for a Trump Beauty Pageant?

I often muse about a potential dystopic future when I see the orange, thin-skinned Republican candidate speaking. He has already recommended“extreme vetting” of Muslims and once said he’d “absolutely” requireMuslims to register in a special database. He retaliated against Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Gold Star parents of an American Muslim soldier. His words unleash casual anti-Muslim bigotry: A June poll found that 50 percent of people surveyed supported his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country.

 This is the America we’re raising our two Muslim kids in. My wife’s friend Khadeeja Abdullah, the mother of a 1-year-old, said she had recently seen a viral video of a young Muslim boy asking if he would be kicked out of the country if Donald J. Trump became president. “My heart shattered into pieces. Our children should not live in fear,she said.

I didn’t live in fear growing up in Fremont, Calif., in the 1980s and 1990s. Like the Khans, my parents are Muslim immigrants originally from Pakistan. My parents didn’t keep their own copy of the Constitution in their pockets, but they were known to bust out Mervyn’s coupons and exquisite daal recipes on command. Islam was a vibrant reality for us, comfortably embedded within memories of watching Thundercats cartoons on Saturdays, listening to Dad’s Jimi Hendrix CDs and seeing my mother’s sari collection.



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