I am a physician who has worked for the past 5 years to help heal our former servicemen. I have never participated in any protests and would never participate in a violent protest of any sort. I have visited churches on numerous occasions and participated in Bible studies. I have done all these things because this what my religion and my prophet have taught me to do. They have taught me to treat knowledge as my lost property and to respect all beliefs. They have taught me to care for the disabled and to refrain from violence as long as possible. My religion is Islam and my prophet is Muhammad.

I am also a migrant who is deeply grateful for this country which has allowed me to profess and practice all these values. According to our president, however, none of these actions or values can possibly be held by a Muslim or a migrant. He would have you believe that we are likely to cause mob violence, violently disrespect other religions, and attack vulnerable disabled people.
This type of hatred and fear mongering has long been a brand among the fringes in our otherwise open and accepting society that we have worked so hard to build here in America. Weather to build fame or wealth, or simply to stoke hatred, Islamophobia has become the full time obsession (and occupation) of many looking to cash in on the hysteria. With his three re-tweets our President is trying his best to bring this destructive brand into the mainstream.
It was my (clearly naïve) hope that the inflammatory rhetoric of Mr. Trump that we heard all too often last year was just a campaign tactic, but his tweets substantiate the view that this President endorses and promotes hatred. In the twitter universe a re-tweet is considered an endorsement and the original author of these tweets is the public face of an unquestionably Islamophobic and extremist group.  In effect, the man who is often known to be the “leader of the free world” is endorsing extremist bigotry and spreading misinformation against a religion followed by over 3.3 million Americans and nearly a third of the world’s population. The contention that the posts were somehow about immigration and border security are laughable. Everything about them is derogatory in the worst sort of way against Islam.

The first tweet depicts an individual attacking a disabled person. Besides not being a migrant the perpetrator wasn’t even Muslim. This is the very definition of the fake news that this president derides on a daily basis. While the individuals in the other videos were Muslim in name their actions were antithetical to basic Islamic principles of religious tolerance.

The second video is of a man breaking the statue of Virgin Mary. While Islam is against building statues for the purposes of worship, it does not condone intolerance of any sort. The Prophet Muhammad himself was a perfect model of tolerance allowing, indeed inviting, a Christian delegation to pray in the mosque. One wishes that our President would follow this model just a bit.

In addition there is a whole chapter of the Quran narrating the story of Mary and Jesus. The Quran states, “And remember when the angels said, ‘O Mary, God has chosen thee and purified thee. And He has chosen thee above the women of all peoples'”. This verse leaves no room for any irreverence towards this beloved figure in Islam.

The third and perhaps most disturbing video depicts individuals throwing people off of buildings in an act of mob violence. In response to violent actions the world wide head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has instructed, “Islam has taught us to respond to curses with prayers; it has taught us to respond to those who grieve us only with love and care it has taught us to respond to arrogance only with humility.” This is true Islam, standing in direct juxtaposition to mob violence of any sort.

Mr. Trump, unfortunately, is unfamiliar with this true Islam. He knows only of the Islam that is depicted in Islamophobic extremist website and social media. This is not the Islam that I have known growing up in a religious Muslim family. This is not the Islam that is taught at any of the dozens of mosques that I have been to in my lifetime. That Islam, the real Islam taught by Muhammad and followed by millions around the world, is what our President should endorse and promote. And while the president may never visit a mosque, know that our fellow Americans are always welcome to come as our neighbors and friends. You can even find a local Muslim meet-up in Dallas at trueislam.com.

Yameen Khalil is currently a physician in primary care working for the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) in Oklahoma. Prior to working in the VA he has done research in medical genetics and anesthesia. He currently serves as Chairman of the Muslim Writers Guild of America.

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