Laleh Ispahani, who is the managing director of the Open Society Foundations, writes in this CNN op-ed about the difficulty she faces as a Muslim explaining the Travel/Muslim ban to her young daughter. As she writes, “How do I raise my daughter to share my Muslim traditions in this perilous world? How do I reconcile the lessons she learns in school — about America as a country founded on the principle of freedom of religion — when Trump makes a mockery of that tradition with this bigoted ban?”
Here are some snippets from her piece:
— I will tell her that terrorism knows no religion. I will tell her that the approximately 3.5 million Muslims living in the United States represent many strands of the faith and contribute to American life in every way imaginable — across professions, in cities, suburbs and rural towns, in the public, private and non-profit sectors.
— And I will point out the Muslim heroes in our midst. Heroes such as Rep. Andre Carson, who became the first Muslim to sit on the House Intelligence Committee, entrusted with the nation’s secrets. Heroes such as Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim women elected to Congress, who won their seats at a time when hate was on the rise. Heroes such as Qasim Rashid, an immigrant rights lawyer who ran for a Virginia state Senate seat and was threatened with lynching. His assailant was convicted, and while he lost that race, today Rashid is running for Congress.
— And I will tell her one of the most inspiring stories of heroism I know, which took place recently in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Muslims won a hard-fought battle to open a mosque there in 2010. Last December, a nearby school was terrorized by an active shooter. A 17-year-old Muslim student named Duaa Ahmad led her classmates to the mosque and opened its doors to allow them to seek refuge within. What had once been a flashpoint had become a sanctuary.
— These stories will help me counter history my daughter will one day learn of the USA Patriot Act, which conflated immigration and national security policy, or the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, the post-9/11 vehicle used to force 80,000 young men from predominantly Arab and Muslim countries to register with the agency then known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
For more on this, watch this powerful CNN segment on couples separated from one another due to the ban.