Muslim students respond Donald Trump’s presidential campaign

Muslim students respond Donald Trumps presidential campaign

Gabriel Shields, Multimedia Contributor

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is, Make America Great Again, but according to some students his policies toward minorities might do just the opposite.

Trump has emphasized his proposals to screen people coming into the country, Sorath Dahri, a Finance major says she is concerned about these proposals and that they have already affected her.

“When Trump started coming on the TV it was very depressing,” says Dahri. “I was so scared, to the point I just wanted to go home.”

Dahri, made the long journey from her home country of Karachi, Pakistan to realize her dreams of engaging in all the world could offer, but she feels these policies could hinder those dreams.

“We want to come out, we want to grow, we want to avail these opportunities that the world holds for us,” say Dahri, “At the same time you are pushing us back through these policies.”

Dahri, certainly isn’t alone. Marwah Al-Jilani, a Political Science and International Studies major, echoes these concerns.

“People are constantly saying ‘Oh racism doesn’t exist anymore because we have an African American President,’” says Al-Jilani, “All these things that are constantly being said about racism Trump puts it to rest.”She went on to say, “It’s like making hate legal.”

For Al-Jilani, her experiences as a Portland native are different from Dahri’s, but she feels similar tensions as to the implications of these policies.

“I’m a Muslim American, I love the US, I love my country, I’ve grown up here,” says Al-jilani, “ I still don’t picture myself really living anywhere else, so I just think it’s so weird that people that live in this country their allegiances are being doubted.”

Al-Jilani never felt much different from anyone else growing up in America, but after 9/11 she felt as if the cultural mindset began to shift, and she was having to developing an understanding of her cultural identity through a new lense.

“The worst part was during 9/11,” she says. “I was in Elementary school and I remember our school being filmed by the Oregonian to help ease the tension on the Muslim communities because they were facing a lot of prejudice during that time, and I remember the headline was more or less ‘Do these kids seem like terrorists to you?’”

However, Al-Jilani said she was determined to seek out her faith and truly understand it for herself. Both Dahri and Al-Jilani said they feel that what the media portrays as what it means to be Muslim is nowhere close to an accurate portrayal..

“There is a verse in the Holy Quran, which is our holy book that if you kill one innocent person – one innocent person, it does not say one innocent Muslim, it says person, it’s as if you’ve killed humanity,” said Dahri.

Dahri’s shared her love of Oregon, and she spoke highly of her time in America. She does not feel that policies changes are what will instill greatness into this country, rather she feels it is the diversity within that makes it great.

“I think this backlash would bring this country to a level it was not meant for,” she said. “I think it was supposed to be great, and it should try and work hard to stay great, and to grow more, to invite more, to accept more of the diversity it already consists of.”

For these students the importance of recognizing diversity as something to be celebrated and explored was what they felt would ultimately bring healing and bridge the cultural divides that they sense from these events.

“We can improve relationships of our communities by celebrating our differences, by coming together, by holding events where everyone is welcome, by not excluding or being exclusive, but more inclusive and also by become as culturally literate as possible,” she said.

At the end of it all, they said they felt moments like these were a time to share with one another and unite with each other.

“We want to show that let’s stand together,” said Dahri. “We need you and you need us.”

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