By Sabina Khan-Ibarra
In the fourth grade, I read Anne Frank’s diary for the first time. I was devastated for the young girl, who had to live in hiding and was eventually killed because of who she was. Later, I cried for the many, many Bosnians who were killed and raped – again, for who they were.
Their only crime was that they were born with an exterior and label that someone, some regime, didn’t like. Something that is feeling too close and too familiar these days.
I am trying hard to be my usual hopeful, positive self. But I am really scared about where we are headed as a nation.
In person and online, you can find me smiling, giving happy messages and words of hope and love. My positivity is something that I am honored to be known by.
But this week was Super Tuesday, and the results showed that Donald Trump not only won, but won big (or at least bigger than I thought he would ever win). Up until Tuesday, I kept hoping that he was nothing more than a joke, a trend, maybe a glitch. But the results showed me that people like Trump, and they like what he stands for.
What is scarier than Trump himself is his followers, who vehemently believe in his hateful rhetoric.
My children are only four and two, but I am terrified about the world they will live and grow in, filled with people who believe that “Making America Great Again” means no Muslims coming to the United States and building a wall to keep Mexicans out. I am terrified that these people may have a leader in the position of power and their hate affirmed.
My biggest fear is that Trump or someone like Trump (some of the other Republican candidates are little better) come into power and change our lives forever, that my children will live in fear and hiding like Anne.
I’ve felt the “normal fears” that every mother has; hoping our kids are born healthy and live long, healthy lives, especially since my own son passed away as a newborn. My fears matured as media started changing narrative and Muslim became synonymous with “terrorist,” I wondered if I could raise confident children in the face of Islamophobia.
I was never under the illusion that America was perfect, that there wasn’t already so much blood on America’s hands, with drones abroad; mass incarceration and institutional racism that perpetuates the marginalization of Black people; and the perpetuation of the Guantanamo Bay prison, to name a few.
I didn’t even believe that people living here would be safe forever. I’m not that naïve. But the level of hate rhetoric going around because of GOP candidates like Trump and even Cruz, who celebrated his Super Tuesday at a well known racist bar, and Carson, who is all round controversial — is scary and overwhelming.
Tuesday’s results was shocking because I didn’t realize that Trump had so many followers. It saddens me to know so many people think and believe in Trump and his campaign.
I continue to pray and to raise my children with love and teach them to be confident, loving, strong, merciful and just. I will teach my children to be good Muslims, knowing that we live on earth only for Allah. We live to serve others, to show mercy to others, to be one who is a benefit to others.
When I am really overwhelmed. I pray my salat (daily prayers), close my eyes and read the Quran:
“God-there is no deity save God, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent Fount of All being. Neither slumber overtakes God, nor sleep. God is all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. Who is there that could intercede with God, unless it be by God’s leave? God knows all that lies open before men and all that is hidden from them, whereas they cannot attain to aught of God’s knowledge save that which God wills them to attain. God’s eternal power overspreads the heavens and the earth, and their upholding wearies God not. And God alone is truly exalted, tremendous.” (Quran 2:255).
May Allah protect us all from the insanity, hate and evil.
Sabina Khan-Ibarra is a freelance writer and editor; she regularly contributes to her blog, Ibrahim’s Tree which focuses on dealing with loss–created after the loss of her infant son in 2011 and Muslimah Montage website created as a platform for women to share their stories and inspire others. She also blogs at “Iamthepoppyflower.”
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