by Umer Choudhary
On January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, was sworn into office. He enters the office of presidency as probably one of the most controversial presidents. As a matter of fact, a CBS News conducted an approval rating poll of our new president, and the results were astonishing. President Donald J. Trump enters office with a record-low approval rating of 32 percent. This proves that the people of the United States are not sure of the abilities of our new president. The reasons for such a low approval rating could be many things, but for me, a deal-breaker is the image of Islam that is portrayed by President Trump’s campaign.

The problem for many Muslims may not specifically be the vetting suggested by President Trump’s campaign, but rather the image that this creates towards Muslims already living in America. It puts us in scrutiny, as many people start to doubt the loyalty of Muslims for the nation, further developing “Islamophobia” in the hearts of many Americans. As Muslims, we value the democratic principles that founded this beautiful nation, and believing in what this nation stands for – freedom and equality – gives us a hope for the forthcoming years. We appreciate the fact that we are blessed to live in a stable country that grants so many freedoms to all its citizens, no matter the religion, race, and gender, one of the many reasons I love this country.

Yet, this still doesn’t relieve the anxiety that many Muslims feel. I myself have been very pessimistic. However, when harboring negative thoughts of the future I remind myself of the saying of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad(saw)[*]: “The love of one’s country is part of faith.” This teaching requires us to remain to loyal to our country no matter the leader and to work for the betterment of our country. I have come to realize the importance of accepting the election and praying for the best as an Ahmadi Muslim*. While I may not agree with President Trump on a myriad of political positions, I have come to terms with this election through a just process, without any violence. This does not mean that I sit on the sideline, but as a loyal citizen I utilize my First Amendment right to voice my opinion in a peaceful manner, such as writing this op-ed.

Further utilizing the First Amendment, I suggest to President Trump, as he takes on the most important office of our country, to be a president for all and not just a few. Here I would like to give the example of Prophet Muhammad (saw). When he ruled in Medina, he ruled over a diverse population, but never regarded Muslims as more deserving of justice and freedom over the other minorities. On the contrary, he safeguarded the rights of minorities and assured them that their freedoms would not be affected. The Prophet Muhammad (saw), when speaking of the Christians under his rule, stated: “I place them under my protection from any damage or harm. I am behind them, protecting them from every enemy or anyone who wishes them harm… In virtue of this pact, [Christians] have obtained inviolable rights to enjoy our protection, to be protected from any infringements of their rights, and they are not to be disputed, rejected, or ignored…” (Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christian world). These high standards set by the Prophet of Islam should be practiced by all world leaders, not just President Trump, as they portray the true concept of justice – something that is not only unique to Islamic teachings, but also to other faiths.  I am sure if these values are practiced in every country, we will have a more peaceful world. I hope that President Trump will unite the country by protecting the rights of minorities and those who are underprivileged, and work to make the country great for everyone. And if I, as a Muslim, can believe in a prosperous future for America, so can you.
[*] An abbreviation of an Arabic prayer repeated after the uttering of the Prophet’s name, which means: “May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him”.

* The sect of Islam that believes in the advent of the long-awaited Promised Messiah

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