You've heard the sound byte more times than you can count - "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." So, when I came across this article claiming that over seven percent of Muslims plan to vote for Trump, I was in disbelief.
The man who has verbally attacked Mexicans, disabled people, women, Asians, African-Americans, and even former prisoners of war, is being hailed as "anti-establishment," as someone who can "fix the economy," and as we all know from his campaign slogan, someone who can "Make America Great Again." Somehow, for American-Muslim voters as well as many other Americans, these supposed virtues can atone for Trump's many shoddy comments. But this line of thought is inherently flawed, and it unfortunately has marred America's history from our country's founding. Because of this, I don't hear "Make America Great Again," I hear "Make America White, Christian, and Patriarchal" again. America is great; the United States is the wealthiest country to have ever existed. Trump and other Republican candidates call for an end to Muslim immigration - more specifically, prohibiting Syrian refugees. The wealthiest nation in the world cannot turn away those who are fleeing from incomprehensible circumstances, especially when the deep-rooted reason for this opposition is nativism and xenophobia.
Saba Ahmed is one of these 7 percent of Muslims openly supporting Trump. She believes that the Republican Party is home to rabid Islamophobia because there are so few Muslims in the Party. While I disagree with this assessment, I take greater issue with her other views. Specifically, she states, "I became Republican because I felt that my Islamic values - pro-life, pro-traditional family, pro-business, pro-trade - aligned best with the Republican party platform." However, this is not Islam to me; this is conservatism rooted in culture. When I became a Muslim, I never felt that I had to compromise my deeply held political convictions for this religion. In fact, I believe that Islam is inherently tolerant, pluralist, and liberal.
I am not pro-life, because I believe that opposition to abortion and contraception is merely a guise to further the subjugation of women and that access to abortion and contraception empowers women. I support the right to same-sex marriage because in a democratic, secular nation, government cannot be used to impose a religiously-defined morality onto its populace. I am not pro-business nor pro-trade because this is inherently anti-worker and anti-union; free trade and unrestrained capitalism contribute immensely to income inequality. It means that in America, blue-collar workers cannot survive on their wages, despite working 40 hours or more a week. It means that workers in developing nations, to which many American jobs get outsourced, are being exploited for their labor, sometimes making less than $1 a day, and working in inhumane conditions. Further, I cannot support a party that, for the past several decades, has supported wars that have ravaged the Middle East in the name of democracy, that calls for the open-carry of guns and for unrestrained gun ownership, and that does not believe that access to healthcare is an inalienable right.
The policy positions promoted by the Republican party and candidates like Trump are not in line with Muslim values. Islam supports equality of the sexes, of the races, of the classes; freedom of speech, of religion, of the press; democracy; tolerance; and peace. This is why I am a Democrat. And this is why I will never vote for Donald Trump. While I respect the rights of democracy - for each and every person to hold his or her own opinions, no matter how distasteful they may be - we must also remember that democracy is merely a tool, and that it is only as good as those whom we elect to office. Let us not elect the intolerant.