As a Muslim woman, I had hoped like many others that the 2016 election would have turned out differently. In my nightmares, Donald Trump was president. My nightmares have come true.
But that doesn’t mean that I will give up. I will wear my hijab more tightly and I will practice my faith more strongly. I will cherish my family and friends more and I will pray each day for their protection. God is bigger than all of this, and I have no doubt that love and tranquility will obliterate the hate and fervor we are dealing with.
As a Muslim-American, I am obligated by my faith to obey the laws of my country. However, that doesn’t mean that Donald Trump can intimidate me or millions of other Muslim women into giving up our faith and values. In fact, I encourage my sisters to never be ashamed of who they are when they walk out in public. I encourage them to hold their heads up high and wear their hijabs more securely over their heads. I encourage them to get involved in political organizations and make their voices heard. I encourage them to ask their bosses to give them time and space for their daily prayers at work.
And when they face bigotry and injustice, I encourage my sisters to smile. I encourage them to respond to prejudice with a love so strong that it warms even the coldest of hearts. We belong to the spiritual progeny of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him), who bore all kinds of insults and saw his dear ones killed by his enemies. The Prophet never responded to his enemies with hostility or vile passion. In fact, the Prophet was so moved by the dire spiritual state of his people that he often felt great anguish. This is when God addressed him in the Quran and said, “So it may be, thou wilt grief thyself to death sorrowing after them if they believe not in this Discourse,” (18:6).
When America elected Donald Trump as our president, Muslims and other minorities did not lose. We were not defeated in any sense of the word. In fact, this is a chance to become more comfortable in our identities and to hold onto to our beliefs and values even more strongly. We will only be defeated if we give in to fear and intimidation. I foresee a long, arduous journey ahead of us, but no such journey ever amounts to failure. In fact, immigrants have a history of resilience and tenacity. Many of us have escaped persecution in different parts of the world to come settle in the West with its promise of religious freedom. Some of us have already seen and experienced the worst.