CNN traveled last month to three growing Muslim communities — in Minneapolis, Northern Virginia and Staten Island — which represent the diversity and increasing political engagement of Muslims in the United States. The majority of people we spoke to said it is harder to be a Muslim American today than it was even after 9/11.
“I have never thought I would hear my young daughter say, ‘Dad, people were asking me about my scarf in the school,’ ” said Hamse Warfa, a Somali refugee who immigrated to the US as a teenager and now lives in the Minneapolis suburbs. “After 9/11, there was no ring-leader, so to speak, who was championing, mainstreaming, hate.”
That “ring-leader” Warfa was referring to is Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president.
Trump has run a hardline, anti-immigration campaign built on promises to erect a wall and deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Last December, he announced a proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country. And he has suggested that profiling would be an effective strategy to prevent terrorism.
CNN interviewed more than 40 Muslim Americans who expressed raw emotions ranging from disbelief to anger to fear. Perhaps most disturbing about this election, many said, is the perception that Trump has helped to normalize animosity toward and suspicion of Muslims in the US.