Many Pakistanis have taken to social media to express their outrage over a Donald Trump presidency. How will he treat Muslims? Will he follow through on his campaign promises and infringe on the civil liberties of Muslims? Right-wing Pakistanis are most furious. They are suddenly concerned about the treatment of a minority faith group by state officials and policies. The irony beats me.
As a Pakistani American, here is what I have to say to my concerned friends in Pakistan. Please don’t worry about us Muslims in America. There are numerous politicians, public figures and religious leaders who are standing in solidarity and support of our rights. Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted earlier that he will become Trump’s worst nightmare if the president-elect thinks about discriminating against Muslims. Many public figures have expressed similar sentiment. Jewish and Christian leaders visited Mosques this past Friday to express their solidarity with Muslim Americans. Following Trump’s election, a woman in Nashville, Tennessee used chalk to write messages of love outside a mosque. Many of my colleagues assured me of their support if things ever changed for me as a Muslim in America. And I have received numerous emails from non-Muslims asking for ideas on how to show their acceptance for the Muslim Community.
So dear Pakistani friends, please spare us your concern and work on reaching out to your own forgotten minority groups instead. Embrace them instead. They need you far more than we do. As I have written elsewhere, Mr. Trump only dreams of what Pakistan already enforces and implements with full force against its own minority faith groups.
You don’t like Trump’s proposal of special IDs for Muslim Americans? How about you call to end the special discriminatory IDs for Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan ― IDs that have left them disenfranchised. You don’t like him looking at us Muslims with suspicion and fear? How about working to ensure mainstream Pakistani religious clerics and politicians stop rampant fear-mongering of minority faith groups, especially the routine scapegoating of the Ahmadis. Worried about potential anti-Muslim legislation in coming days? Well, stand up and condemn Pakistan’s Second Amendment and anti-Ahmadi laws that have already severely limited the religious freedom of Pakistan’s Ahmadi Muslims. Outraged at me calling them Muslims? Then don’t complain if us Muslims are ever denied the right to self-identify as we chose in America. Or if the State forcibly labels us with a slur instead.
You don't like Trump's allies suggesting adhan (call to prayer) be banned from mosques. Then speak against the three years jail time that Pakistan imposes on Ahmadi Muslims for saying the adhan quietly in their own Mosques (which they cannot even identify as Mosques under law). You don't like Trump's new chief strategist suggesting Mosques be stopped from construction in America? Well, then speak up against the over a hundred Ahmadiyya Mosques that have been forcibly occupied or burned down by Sunni extremists, or sealed or stopped from construction by the State. You are concerned Muslim congregations might be limited by the new American government? Consider that the Ahmadi Muslims have been banned from peaceful congregation since 1984. They have been denied permission to conduct their annual conventions (Jalsa Salanas) since then.
I can go on and on. But you get my point.
It is no secret that the intolerance and bigotry ― Mullahism ― that has plagued Pakistan for the last many decades is is far more putrid, hateful and hurtful than the white supremacy we are having to deal with here in America. Where are the Sunni and Shia politicians, public figures and religious leaders who are speaking up for the rights of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan? Where are the religious clerics visiting Ahmadiyya Mosques to express their solidarity with Pakistan’s Ahmadis? Where are the messages of love being chalked outside Ahmadi houses?
So until your concern for us Muslim Americans is based on principle, thank you my fellow Pakistanis, but no thanks. We will deal with Mr. Trump. You worry about the “Trumpistan” you have created back home.
This oped originally appeared in Pakistan’s The Nation Newspaper.