A Love Story

ONE - Joe met Zarina in a vegetable market in the Panjshir Valley, 100 miles north of Kabul. Joe was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army. Zarina was a childless widow, whose husband had had no brothers. Zarina grew vegetables in her garden, and sold them in the market. Like most Tajiki women, she had attended high school, and she had picked up some English along the way. She had green eyes. Joe noticed her steady glance, her effortless smile, and her calm dignity.

Zarina liked to draw. She took out a pen and a pad of paper, and drew Joe's picture. She drew him as though he were five years younger. It was very good.

Joe found himself looking forward to visiting Zarina in the market. Once or twice, Zarina visited Joe in Kabul. They started calling each other on the phone, and sending texts. They fell in love.

Joe proposed to Zarina. They got married, under a beautiful Judas Tree in Pamir. Joe wanted to take her home to Cincinnati. But Zarina could never go to the United States.

She was Muslim, like everyone else in the Panjshir Valley. President Trumpf said no.

TWO - After Google uploaded infrared readings and gravitational anomalies into Google Earth, it was only a matter of time before someone found the cave under a sand dune in the Eastern Sinai. In this case, "someone" were Shlomo Cohen and Ahmed Nasser, Israeli and Egyptian archaeological collaborators. And what they found was the original Ark of the Covenant, containing the Ten Commandments on stone tablets (as well as Aaron's rod, and some manna reputedly from Heaven). Also, some papyri in clay pots recounting the stories of Genesis and (in part) Exodus.

It was the archaeological find of the millennium. (Ethiopians refused to believe it; they thought that they already had the Ark.) Cohen and Nasser took the Ark and the scrolls to every major capital of the world, recounting their historical and religious significance.

Every major capital except one. Ahmed Nasser was a Muslim. President Trumpf said no.

THREE - Sumon Khan was five years old when his parents, both Google engineers in Dhaka, applied for work permits to join their colleagues in Silicon Valley. Although they met the legal qualifications, they were turned down, and then turned down again, and then turned down again.

They were Muslims. President Trumpf said no.

Little Sumon was quite the prodigy. At 14, already attending the University of Dhaka, Sumon designed his first artificial intelligence circuitry. Within five years, Dhaka became the artificial intelligence capital of the world. Within ten years, smart robots had liberated human beings from virtually all forms of work, and made amazing scientific discoveries to boot. In appreciation, Congress awarded Sumon Khan the Congressional Gold Medal.

He couldn't come to Washington, DC to accept it. Sumon was Muslim. President Trumpf, mightily enjoying his fifth term in office, said no.

Muslims are people, too. If we refuse to allow them to enter the United States, while we admit others of other faiths, then we are denying them their humanity. And devaluing our own.


Rep. Alan Grayson