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Trump’s Campaign of Hate Made Me Homeless

Written by Theresa Corbin

That’s right. I’m currently without a home. Have been since the beginning of September. Not in the sense that I am living on the street. Alhamdulillah I have a roof over my head. But I AM currently without a country at the moment. With election day approaching in the US, I thought I would share my tale with you.

Trump's Campaign Made me Homeless

Originally published on AboutIslam.net

I never imagined that a presidential campaign could change my life so suddenly and drastically. For most of my life, a presidential election meant old, white men running from city to city, politely yelling at each other about things they didn’t actually care about, and promising to do things they had NO intention of doing.

But this presidential campaign, one politician in particular is yelling about how to deal with me and my brothers and sisters. Should we be trusted? Should we be tagged and tracked? Should we even be here in the first place? This presidential campaign, one man has turned the important issue of extremism into equal and opposite extremism.

Gradually turning up the heat

I rushed to put the finishing touches on a blog post before I had to turn my laptop to airplane mode. I was on my way to an Islamophobia conference in Australia to present my research, feeling almost gleeful about getting some respite from the anti-Muslim sentiment in America.

That day on the plane I blogged about Trump’s belief that US Muslims should be made to wear ID badges.  I recommended the ID badges should include the first amendment right to freedom of religion.

The day after my return from the Islamophobia conference (you can cut this irony with a knife), Trump decided that there should be “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.

Had I returned a day later, to my own country, under such a shutdown I would not have been allowed to come home.

Many journalists, some sane politicians and academics, and a lot of regular people were shocked by Trump’s blustering and use of Islamophobia (and fears of other minorities) to gain popularity. Many figured this man would lose support and steam and his campaign would eventually die out. Americans would see through it. He obviously lacked knowledge of American principles.

But I feared the worst. My Islamophobia research lead me to research the path hate takes in a society. It is like setting fire to a dry brush. I know how fear is easily turned into hate and used as a political tool. And I know how that tool is so easily put into action. The foundation for all of this had already been lain over the past 15 years. And Trump knew all he had to do was to spark the flame. He knew this would help him gain support. 

Over the next several months and outrageous statements, Trump persuaded more and more people to turn to fear, to turn to hate, to turn to him. He convinced people to see the worst in others, to lash out in fear, to hate, to turn off the part of the brain that sees logic. He convinced many that all of this was in their best interest and for their own safety. And so he gained steam.

The fruits of Trump’s labor

And then it started to infect people in my life. People in the periphery of my own life began to discuss “the Muslims” as if they didn’t know me, as if they hadn’t spent to the last 15 years learning from me what Islam actually is and who Muslims actually are. People who have known me from birth, began to look at me with suspicion. People close to me began to talk in hushed tones in my presence and rant loudly behind my back about misconceptions and stereotypes. There were also people who offered support. To those kind people I am eternally grateful.

But I could feel the tide turning. Americans were and are being incited to fear, to hate, and some of that has ultimately come to violence.

Anytime I shared my outrage at Trump’s statements about Muslims (and any other minority group), people would defend him, claiming: He is just talking. He won’t actually do anything he says. But what these people failed to see was and is that as Trump “talks the talk”, many Americans were and are feeling emboldened to “walk the walk”.

Things started ramping up. Every day I logged onto Facebook, or spoke to a friend, or even opened my email, I heard stories of Muslims being murdered, brutally beaten, women having clothing ripped off in public, and mosques being vandalized and set on fire. A friend received a death threat from a neighbor. A Muslim lady visiting New York was set on fire. Two Muslim women and their infant children were physically attacked. An imam was shot point blank while walking down the street. A Saudi student getting his MBA was beaten to death. Sadly, I knew this was the course of hate inflamed in a society and it wasn’t going to get better any time soon.

I could see the effects of Islamophobia intensify in my own life. Anytime I went somewhere alone; someone had a negative comment, a scowl, or just an aggressive stare to offer me. There were also people who offered a sympathetic smile and a sincere “hello”. To those kind people I am eternally grateful.

But I could feel the hate mounting. And I could not ignore the writing on the wall.

It was no coincidence, Trump’s outlandish statements like “Islam hates us” and suggested anti-Muslim policies were directly related to the heightened anti-Muslim sentiment and hate crimes. Since Trump’s campaign for presidency began, attacks on Muslims have risen by 87.5%!

It was no coincidence that I felt helpless in the rising tide. No matter what I wrote, what interview I gave, I felt there was no use, that I should just give up. There was a direct correlation between Trump speech, his followers’ actions, and my depression. My doctor instructed me to stop watching the news. But nothing was going to change facts. I, to many Americans, was not welcome in my own country.

Leaving

Then something strange happened. Allah (SWT) made a path for me to leave. And I was going to take it, at least temporarily. I decided I wasn’t going to wait around and see if Trump was elected, or if things would calm down. I wasn’t going to wait until someone decided I needed to wear an ID badge, or be placed on a list, or in an internment camp.

I was tired of worrying if the guy staring from the truck next to me in traffic had a gun, had a belief in Trump’s rhetoric, and was itching to walk Trump’s talk. I was done being followed by every security guard everywhere. I was done being policed by citizen who know nothing about me and even less about Islam. I was done.

As I said, Allah (SWT) made a path for me, and I set my feet firmly on that path. I cursed Trump as I went through every bobble I owned, deciding if it was worth the space in my suitcase or my small storage unit. I couldn’t believe how my country had been whipped up into such hysterics, as I spent the last night in my own bed. Giving the keys to my landlord not knowing where my next home would be felt like death. I could not believe it had come to this. I was leaving and didn’t know if I would or even could return to the only home I have ever known. I still don’t. I have been waiting in limbo since the beginning of Sept. 

I understand the need to discuss serious issues like extremism and terrorism in election cycles. But this election, Trump decided to use this serious issue to rip open the wound that is Islamophobia, to let it bleed to get attention for himself. He has made no progress in the discuss. He knows nothing of what he talks about. All he does is rip and tear at an open wound for attention. Because of that I am typing this in a tiny hotel room, away from my home, having given away most of my belongings.

I do not know where my home will be after November 8th. I don’t know if the damage Trump has done in terms of ripping diverse American communities apart can ever be repaired. I don’t know what my or America’s future will hold. But I do know that once I was outside of America, I felt safe: people treated me with dignity. I had long forgotten what that feels like.

 

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23 thoughts on “Trump’s Campaign of Hate Made Me Homeless

  1. This:

    “I was tired of worrying if the guy staring from the truck next to me in traffic had a gun, had a belief in Trump’s rhetoric, and was itching to walk Trump’s talk.”

    Beautifully written, deeply felt and passionately expressed.

    I commend your bravery in sharing your experience. And I grieve your reality. I had no idea exactly how bad it had gotten for you. And how personal.

    May Allah reward your patience, keep you safe and reveal the path for your future clearly.

    Ameen.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear sister InshaALLAH only ALLAH is with us and protecting us wherever we are and no fear for believers in the Almighty who is Incharge if all worldly affairs please make Duas and hold tight to the rope of ALLAH Fi AmanALLAH

    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

  3. Wow, so sorry to hear about your predicament. May Allah (swt) help you find a better, more permanent home! Ameen!

    Yeah, this election is definitely a frightening one for us Muslims. After the November Paris attacks, we had some guy in a car throw some rocks (small pebbles-like) at our car on the road one day. If Trump wins, may Allah protect us! Ameen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ameen. I am sorry to hear about your experience. I know it can be terrifying but also humiliating. May Allah protect all the Muslims in the US and worldwide from Trump’s egregious evil.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Assalamu’alaikum my sweet sister ,
    I’m so sorry to hear your life now. May Allah help n bless you always. Ameen.
    Moslems everywhere they live will face the problems in their lives. I pray for you n Muslims there to get better life. Sis, if you should to decide to move (hijrah), please come to Indonesia. The life cost in Indonesia is cheaper than others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Walaikum Asalam, Truly there are struggles everywhere, but I don’t think I can live in a place where I fear for my safety just because I say la illha il Allah. May Allah protect us all. Thank you for the kind invitation. Indonesia does seem to be a great and peaceful place to live. Jazakum Allah Kahir ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, sister. I can feel your feeling n my brothers, my sisters there. Ameen Allahumma Ameen to your prayer. It was my pleasure, sis. Insya Allah, in my country the Muslims can pray freely, n for now I feel safe to live here. I know Indonesia isn’t an Islamic State but we’re the greatest population here n in the world, I think. May Allah protect you, your family n Muslims there. Jazaana wa iyyaki.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Salam sis, may Allah make it easy for you and all the Muslims in America. I have found myself that in times of darkness, the beautiful people only shine more brighter. May He illuminate the path for the lost and guide it for those who seek refuge. Love & hugs from #downunder #WishUWereHere 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ever since you shared this, I cannot but help thinking what to write in my comment. I feel at a great loss of words for you and your family. I stayed away two days thinking how to write. Heart breaking and so outraging at all levels, that you had to lose the land where you were born and to be driven out of it due to haters. I am deeply attached to my country and homeland, and just the idea that I have to leave breaks my heart. And now your post did that, am so glad that we have great examples of Muslims like yourself in the Ummah. May you continue to stay un-wavered with courage, determination and bravery, ameen.
    How can we forget that Islam’s beloved Rasool Muhammad (PBUH) necessitated his migration and laid the practical example for us, Ummah.
    Praying for you, may this hijrat bring you all the blessings in abundance, ameen.
    Hope that one day America rises to glory to honor its fantastic citizens such as you with deserved dignity and freedom of diversity.

    Like

    1. Ameen. All I can say with tears in my eyes is thank you for everything you have done for me. Your support has been amazing. I am feeling very broken at the moment and I am truly glad that you are my friend and sister.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t really done anything except lend you my virtual presence and keeping you in prayers, its not enough but I will keep supporting you always to the best I can. Am happy we have gained sisterly friendship, JazakAllah Khair 🙂

        Like

  7. What I would like to know here is what kind of message are you sending to your muslim readers? I would like to know when was the day that you are talking about that if you came one day later you would not have been allowed into this country, your own country? What are you trying to instigate here? I agree with Trump we should not allow all the muslims enter this country, you and I know what are the intentions of some muslims if not all, you can cut the crap and stop misleading your readers, who by the way are all muslims and they will agree with you no matter what, since a muslim is not supposed to defy another muslim.
    I am sure you will ignore my comment like you ignored my other ones, and most likely you will delete it since it is exposing your bad intentions of instigation, and most likely you are getting paid by some imam, exactly how Hillary is getting paid.
    By the way, I am Arab, I speak Arabic, and I know how Arabs think. You all think like mohammad, and I am sure you don’t want me to say anything about him, so I will keep what I think of him to myself.

    Like

  8. “Sammy” is ignorant on so many things. I am a subscriber to this blog and I am a Christian. I found you when a Muslim friend of mine posted one of your links on Facebook a few months back, and I’ve been subscribing ever since. I want you to know that I appreciate what you say here, and I’ve found your posts both informative and enlightening. And *real*. I’m sorry our country has driven you out, and I hope/pray you are somewhere you feel safe now. I also hope/pray that all of your sisters and brothers in the faith who stay here through choice or circumstance remain safe, and that we can somehow make this country one in which no one has to live in fear because of their religion, race, ethnicity, or any other way you want to split the demographic pie.

    Please keep writing. We need your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and kind comment. Thank you for reading and defending me and my writing. Just thank you a million times. I really needed it today especially. And a big fat Ameen/Amen to your prayers. Please keep commenting and reading. I need readers like you.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you from the bottom of the heart of a Pakistani Muslim.
      People like you are the common ground between faiths and am very happy that you have already voiced out in reference to the commentator “Sammy.”

      I don’t like what is being implied on your person and professional integrity as a writer so Cobin, tell us what else we can do because such toxicity is unacceptable just because it is void of humanity and sanity.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This post only expresses a fraction of the heart break I have been wading through, so the only thing I can hope for is that you and anyone who reads this is to pray to God the creator that He heals my heart, grants me the best intentions, and protects my reputation. I am very touched by your and Kay’s concern. ❤ May god grant us peace and comfort both here and in the hereafter.

        Liked by 2 people

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