War, and specifically, the War on Terror and terrorism of the last 15 years, has killed over 2 million, devastated five Muslim countries, and led to the dangerous erosion of liberty and civil rights in virtually all major democracies, especially our own.
I am an anti-war activist. I oppose wars, drones, torture and have marched against their devastating use, sometimes being the only Muslim to do so at rallies. I also believe that war and terror are a connected phenomena. As Dr. Robert Pape, author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, notes suicide terrorists are responding to the military occupation of a community that they care a lot about.
For all of my anti-war friends who do not consider Hillary Clinton an anti-war leader, you are right. She is definitely not.
However, this year the fight is about preserving our right as equal citizens to oppose war. It is a fight for equality of all citizens, including Muslims and Latinos, the two primary targets of Republican Party nominee Donald Trump's attacks. Through his campaign of bigotry, he is attempting to undermine our right to belong as Americans, and by extension, to have a say in the future of our country.
We must continue to fight against the cycle of war-terror-hate. It is going to be a long struggle, one that will liberate America from fear, hate and anger. However, it will be a fight of a generation requiring tremendous sacrifices by all Americans. It will require learning and practicing the art and science of politics, coalition building and thinking out of the box.
But wasting your hard-won vote because Clinton is not an anti-war candidate will stop neither warfare nor terrorism.
As far as Clinton is concerned, Muslim Americans have the best chance to influence her policies by supporting her campaign. She has been the only one to court and include us as equal citizens.
She has made concerted efforts to reach out to and include Muslims in a substantial way. She has powerfully defended Muslims as an equal part of America, instead of distancing herself from the Muslim community. Each time Republican nominee Donald Trump attacked Muslims, she came back swinging in our defense.
She placed more Muslims on the Democratic National Convention stage than other larger minorities. Eight Muslims spoke, including Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Khizr Khan, and Keith Ellison.
Clinton also became the first major presidential candidate to feature Muslims in her advertisements.
And all of this is not new, she has a track record of being inclusive to all. Remember, she is the one who started the tradition of Ramadan Iftar in the White House as the First Lady.
In terms of the Democratic Party, Muslim Americans have fared far better in terms of being supported as equal citizens, as compared to the Republicans.
Republicans have introduced 110 anti-Muslim bills in 35 states over the last few years. Democrats opposed most of those bills.
Most Islamophobes are Republicans. Most Democrats have stood with the Muslim community.
Democrats have two Congressmen who are Muslim. Republicans have none.
In the last few years, hundreds of anti-immigration laws have been passed by many states. Most of these laws were presented and voted on by aggressive, right-wing Republicans. Most Democrats fought against these bills.
The Democratic Party bylaws require diversity. The Democratic Party allows us to build alliances and coalitions with many other minority communities.
We cannot help our nation move forward to justice and goodness if we withdraw our voice. Voting is the most powerful and effective voice we have to work on the change we seek in a positive manner.
And a candidate who is willing to fight for my equal right to that as an American, even when I disagree with her policies, is the one that I can work with in the future.