Why Muslims could thrive under President Trump

This feels like the worst of times for Muslims in America.

While hatred for and visceral fear of Muslims began long before President Trump’s campaign hatched, his odious rhetoric and reckless decisions promise a potentially horrifying climax.

Given Trump’s intentions for a “Muslim ban” and the fury his followers harbor for Islam, the backdrop for Islam in America right now consists of white nationalist fliers on college campuses, grisly hate crimes, tenuous civil liberties and profound suspicion.

Friends and family fear that anything appearing remotely “Muslimy” will provoke malice. There are also concerns that the “clash of civilizations” sought by Trump’s advisers will embolden groups like the Islamic State, which seek those disaffected by the West as recruits.

Trump’s presidency has become a moment of reckoning for the country’s 3.3 million Muslims as their faith finds itself embattled, besieged by uncertainty and under duress.

Muslims face a temptation to embrace victimhood and retreat, but also a solace, as Islam has been in a similar place before.

In the dusty pages of old Sunday school books are the stories of early Muslim communities that thrived when their faith was beset with challenges.

Propelled forward by the universal themes of justice, equality and solidarity that form the Koran’s bedrock, their enlightened struggle resonates under Trump’s presidency.

Born in 610, Islam’s call for social and economic reform became a radical response to the growing inequities in the city of Mecca.

Long honored tribal ideals had perished as wealth became disproportionately concentrated in the hands of a few oligarchs who controlled the city and all of its political, religious and economic affairs.

Prophet Muhammad sought to topple this entrenched social order with Islam’s unprecedented message of equality, which embraced Mecca’s indigent and marginalized.

Those who chose to convert to Islam in its nascent stages voluntarily chose to oppose this status quo despite the great personal cost.

Many sacrificed their lives, abandoned lives of privilege, severed bonds with family members, endured persecution and ignored ridicule because they were called to a purpose far greater than themselves. Continue reading

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