How Muslim Teens Are Coping In A Post-Trump United States

There was the Muslim ban, a series of discriminatory executive orders in which President Trump prevented nationals of several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Sudan and limited it for Syrians, Yemenis, and Somalis, and drastically lowered the annual refugee admission cap, notwithstanding the fact that numerous Muslim refugees entering the United States are fleeing countries whose violence the United States set the foundation for.

NEWS 

How Muslim Teens Are Coping In A Post-Trump United States

In the history textbooks of tomorrow, the experiences of Muslims during the Trump presidency will likely be reduced to the structural and physical violence experienced by Muslims.
There was the Muslim ban, a series of discriminatory executive orders in which President Trump prevented nationals of several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Sudan and limited it for Syrians, Yemenis, and Somalis, and drastically lowered the annual refugee admission cap, notwithstanding the fact that numerous Muslim refugees entering the United States are fleeing countries whose violence the United States set the foundation for.

By

Srihari Nageswaran Ravi

 

In the history textbooks of tomorrow, the experiences of Muslims during the Trump presidency will likely be reduced to the structural and physical violence experienced by Muslims. 

 

There was the Muslim ban, a series of discriminatory executive orders in which President Trump prevented nationals of several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Sudan and limited it for Syrians, Yemenis, and Somalis, and drastically lowered the annual refugee admission cap, notwithstanding the fact that numerous Muslim refugees entering the United States are fleeing countries whose violence the United States set the foundation for. 

There were the murders of Nia Wilson and Nabra Hassanen, two Black Muslim teenage girls, in Oakland, CA, and Reston, VA, respectively. There were a variety of inexplicable comments Trump made about Islam and Muslims and even more that his supporters made that are often left without question. Yet although these are the more palpable effects of Trump-era Islamophobia, they are by no means exhaustive: much of the pain facing Muslims during the presidency of Donald Trump is deeply psychological.

When asked by Muslim how they are coping with Trump as a world leader, a 15-year old anonymous @Muslim follower stated:

I was 11 when [Trump] was elected and before that, I didn’t know the magnitude of the world’s Islamophobia and hatred of Muslims. Trump’s reign has already led to the Muslim ban, the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack, and a spike in hate crimes toward Muslims and I fear what is to come if he is re-elected. Everything Trump says is either unintelligent or offensive and he always ends up emboldening deranged racists, sexists, anti-semites, Islamophobes, xenophobes, etc. There are areas of the U.S. that I wouldn’t even dare travel to because of the hatred Trump has instilled in people. The world is becoming more and more unwelcoming to Muslims…

In late March, we asked our followers – the vast majority of whom are Muslim youth – this same question, in reference to their lives in the United States and the rest of the globe following the election of Donald Trump in 2016. 

Many of the responses expressed general melancholy and misery. Instagram user @_mariah_davis mentioned that as a “Lebanese-American…I feel like I can’t be both [Muslim and American] under his rule.” She has to be “an outsider and lose half [of her] identity or lose [her] Muslim half.” 

This response struck a chord with me – Muslims are often told to forfeit the more discernible aspects of Muslim identity (hijab, topi/kufi, etc.) because Islamic and American identities are presented as mutually-exclusive in the Western imagination. 

Trump’s presidency also marked a bit of an eye-opening for some American Muslims: Instagram user @_barelyawake_ notes that it “made [them] realize half [of] this country doesn’t care about anyone else but themselves.” 

For many American Muslims, Trump’s election is not something easily dismissed: even without taking into consideration both his blatant and implicit Islamophobia, the marginalized backgrounds that many American Muslims share – from lack of healthcare access to exorbitant student debt –  is aggravated by Trump’s presidency. 

Various responses spoke of an antithesis to this: instead of feeling dismay concerning Trump’s presidency, it has inspired patience, confidence, and/or political apathy. Instagram user @yasminfenaoui noted that she’s “openly displayed Islam and talked about it more,” indicating that attacks on her Muslim identity inspired newfound expressions of confidence in her faith whereas Instagram user @siddubaba has ignored Trump to avoid “giving [his] supporters a platform or satisfaction by engaging” and to “live life normally,” indicating that allowing violent rhetoric toward American Muslims affect one’s own conception of their identity merely allows Islamophobia to thrive. 

Other users noted their heightened desire to see positivity in the little things despite it all or their renewed search for patience amidst the terror. Evident in this, perhaps, is the complex beauty of Islam. Islam is unique in that it signifies both a rationale to oppress and a means to flee oppression: by seeking solace through prayer to Allah (SWT), making dhikr, reading Qu’ran, and more, Muslims are able to find comfort, support, and love despite being criminalized and targeted for their Muslim identity. 

 

The response of @itss_meh__, in particular, stood out from the rest: 

 

“Honestly, [Trump] is not that extreme toward Muslims. Let’s be real: all U.S. presidents, including Obama, [have] done something toward Muslims. They were just not [as straightforward]. No president over the decades has been a saint [toward] the Muslim community. Trump is no different.” 

In many ways, this is true: it would be dishonest to claim that President Trump isn’t continuing the legacy of his predecessors. Sure, Obama denounced Islamophobia and Bush said “Islam is peace,” but in what way did either of these men try to deconstruct the structural manifestations of the prejudices Americans have had toward Islam since the first ships carrying enslaved African Muslims arrived on its shores? It’s hard to deduce: under a political climate in which a well-known Democratic political candidate was able to shy away from his past surveillance of New York City’s Muslim communities and relations between different religious groups are seen as an individual political issue as opposed to one that intersects foreign policy, criminal justice, gun violence, and more, it’s understandable that Muslims interpret Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric, albeit abrasive, as not entirely a new development but rather a manifestation of existing sentiments against American Muslims no longer hid behind closed doors. 

The wide variety in responses concerning how Muslim youth are coping with the Trump presidency leading into this year’s presidential election only emphasizes the tremendous diversity of the American Muslim community: Just as there is no one Muslim experience, there is no one way to deal with the impact of Trump’s presidency on Muslims. Finding strength during difficult times can be tough, but American Muslims are no stranger to that struggle. 

 

Even in times of great hardship, there is still so much beauty in Muslim resilience.

 

Editor’s Note: Introducing Muslim

Introducing Muslim.co, a media platform for Gen-Z and millennial Muslims.

Editor’s Note: Introducing Muslim

NEWS

Editor’s Note: Introducing Muslim

Introducing Muslim.co, a media platform for Gen-Z and millennial Muslims.

By

Muslim

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem, In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

First and foremost, we wish you well and we hope that you remain safe and healthy during these times. We understand that we aren’t living under normal circumstances and that it can take time to adjust. Ramadan is a very spiritual, emotional, and festive period for most of us, and having to stay indoors for the month can feel very disheartening.  With this in mind, we hope to create a digital safe haven for all Muslims and help create that community atmosphere as it is needed now more than ever.

Thank you so much for your support, and joining us in celebrating Muslim youth. Muslim is a news outlet, media publication, and a community for millenials and Gen Z Muslims to connect with one another, feel empowered through each other, amplify our faith, and share our lifestyles and views. 

Our main goal is to build a stronger connection for Muslims within our ummah. Many people have always mentioned how all Muslims need to unite and accept one another, but there has been no progress in enforcing an accepting environment for all. We understand that there is no “‘one way” to practice Islam. There are so many disucssions and conversations revolving around how to be Muslim, and what faith means to us. Muslim will be the place for those much-needed discussions and will be the outlet for Muslims to stay in the know of all news pertaining to their faith.

Please note: every opinion expressed in written pieces is that of the writer, and doesn’t represent the view of our publication.

We want to make it clear that regardless of your practice, sect, race, gender, sexuality, etc. Muslim is a safe space to discuss ideas and share views. Let’s focus on building bridges, starting with respecting one another, regardless of our differences. We encourage all Muslims to express themselves in a respectful manner, without any judgement.

We can’t control how mainstream media represents Muslim youth, but we can take control of our own narratives. We can write our own stories, celebrate our victories, mourn our losses, and begin the process of changing how Muslim stories are being told. 

It’s important to note that we say that we are still learning. We recognize our position and following, and want to use the tools we have to promote a love for Islam and our Muslim communities. We’re a team of Gen Z Muslims trying to get our voices heard, and spread the message of Islam while also elevating the stories of individuals in our communities. It would be impossible to expect us to always get things right. We are always open to constructive ideas and feedback. If there are any discrepancies, we are always on the forefront of addressing your concerns. Please shoot us an email with any feedback, or concerns at contact@muslim.co 

If you’re wondering how to help, we want to be transparent and let you know that every individual contributing towards our site is a volunteer, including the editor-in-chief, lead editor, and graphic designer. This whole project has been able to come to fruition from generous contributions of people who support our mission, our loyal followers and grants that support our journalism. We do not accept funding from any organization with the intent of disrupting or implacing views on our platform. We do not make profit from this publication and ask that if you support our mission to please help us continue by making a contribution here.

If you’d like to be apart of the team and submit a pitch or article, feel free to reach out over at contact@muslim.co. 

Again, thank you all so much for being a part of our project and supporting our mission. It’s only the beginning and we are super excited to see what is in store for all of us, inshAllah. May this Ramadan bring us endless blessings and peace for us all, Ameen.