Dear Future President,
While our nation has grown for the better in recent years, there are still a handful of problems that need to be addressed, and the possibility for these movements is in your hands. Though you don’t have direct control over everyone in the nation, you do have a strong influence. As the commander in chief, you’re in the perfect place to set an example for our youth. One pressing matter that I believe needs to be addressed by you as soon as possible is Islamophobia.
Ever since 9/11, people of Islamic faith have been discriminated against. With the growing problem of ISIL, these prejudices are only growing. Islamic children are being bullied and harassed in schools and on the streets, Mosque playgrounds have been torched, Muslim family homes, properties, and Mosques are being vandalized, and organized hate rallies are taking place outside of places of worship.
This stream of hate starts with politicians. Donald Trump is calling for a “total and complete” shutdown of Muslims entering the US, claiming that “Islam hates us.” He even went as far as to say he planned on shutting down Mosques that he deemed “extreme”. That doesn’t sound like freedom of religion to me. Ted Cruz had also appointed designated hate group leader Frank Gaffney, Jr. alongside other Islamophobes as foreign policy advisers. Twenty states have introduced anti-Muslim legislation, yet somehow people expect change. Change will not come if politicians continue to make bigoted comments and act with an obvious distaste for those of Islamic faith.
This negative energy trickles down and leads to people being pulled off of planes for no reason but their Islamic attire. Actions such as that only deepen people's prejudice and distrust.
While politicians such as Obama who has claimed that “our war is not against Islam” and Hillary Clinton who said “Islam itself is not our adversary. This is not, and we should not let it become a clash of civilizations,” speak out against Islam prejudice, it is always in the context of ISIL. The only times the prejudice is touched upon is when it coincides with the ongoing problem of terrorism. This association helps to bring attention to the subject, but Islamophobia deserves to be treated as its own independent manner. You, our new leader, have so much power to change things in our country for the better. Your influence and positive example are crucial if any change is to be made.
Our nation needs to be lead by example. If the citizens are consistently seeing a distrust demonstrated towards Muslims, it will begin to rub off. This issue is in many ways similar to racism. Just as African Americans' character is being judged off of their skin color, Muslims are being judged solely on appearance and their attire. Islamophobia should be regarded with the same attention as racism and other pressing matters.
After all, how can we pride ourselves on freedom of religion when it’s not actually free at all? Freedom isn’t being punished for your beliefs in nearly all aspects of your daily life.