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How could they respect her and still choose him: A Muslim American teacher’s open letter to students

How could they respect her and still choose him: A Muslim American teacher’s open letter to students

Business tycoon Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States and ever since we’ve been hearing more and more stories of people from the minority communities reportedly being abused and threatened. Throughout the campaign, Trump cultivated an image of a presidential candidate who was anti-Muslim, misogynist and someone with no concrete plan on governing a country.

While a lot of American Muslims voiced their fear and concern after Trump’s win, an open letter of an American Muslim teacher to her students has caught the attention of many on social media. The letter was published in Vice.com, wherein the teacher contemplates if she could have taught her students, who voted for Trump, differently. If she could have taken a class against stereotyping. If she could have handled the boy who called a woman a ‘dyke’ any differently instead of shutting him up. If she could have taught them to be more sensitive towards the other gender.

“How could they simultaneously respect you, and choose him?” she writes.

In her letter, not once does she mention Trump’s name but lists all his deeds which made headlines for all the wrong reasons. She talks about how he was a candidate who called for a blanket ban on her community.

“Could he both respect you and vote for him, for a man who called for measures that would blanketedly and blindly ban all Muslims from coming here, a man who’s now considering forcing Muslims to register as such? Did your student choose him? Does your student know that the man’s stance threatens that part of your identity, even though you are the good kind of Muslim, you are a friendly Muslim, you are different than the Muslims on TV? You wonder if you should’ve spent more time on your lecture against stereotypes,” she writes.

She also mentioned how Trump won the election despite a lot of women coming and speaking up against him, informing the world about how they were sexually abused by him. In fact, one of the Republican members quit the party because the members allowed him to become the candidate.

“You watch the candidate brag about sexual assault. You watch the first lady shake as she speaks about his words. “It hurts,” she says, and yes, it does. You watch him laugh it off as locker room talk, you watch woman after woman come forward against him. You hear him insult a Muslim family that lost a son in combat, a son they sacrificed to protect this country. You hear him promise to preserve “traditional family values,” to overturn Supreme Court decisions. You panic. You watch him win the election, in spite of all this,” she writes.

She contemplates, in her blog, if she could have taught her students to respect multiple identities and cultural duality.

Maybe you should’ve had them qualify what they saw, what they felt. “You are Muslim, and we love and respect you. You are a woman, and we love and respect you. You are Muslim and you are a woman and you are American, and we love and respect you,” she concludes.


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