Recently, I was invited to help find Republican students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who are still undecided for the 2016 Republican presidential primary Town Hall to take place in the coming weeks here in Milwaukee.
At first, I wasn't sure how to proceed. Just a few months ago, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump called for a "total complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Before that, he "called for surveillance against mosques and said he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the U.S." Just last week, Senator Ted Cruz, who is currently second in the total delegate count for the Republican nomination, outlined his plan for American Muslims: "We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized."
How can I possibly ethically endorse or support an effort to bring crowds to listen to such hate speech? How can you ask me to help further the mission of these two men, who plan to tear apart what gains this country has made in our inclusion of diverse cultures, religions, and people? I grew up in one such "Muslim neighborhood," where my Christian family was in the vast minority on the block. Our Muslim neighbor to the left went to work every day helped fight heart disease as a Cardiologist. That same man travelled to his birthplace of Kashmir during the 2014 floods to help the wounded and helpless. Our families happily played in the backyards together and attended the same school. Is this the kind of neighborhood you ask for my support in patrolling?
I would like to emphasize the point that I understand it is my responsibility to represent and provide opportunity for our extremely diverse community of UW-Milwaukee students, regardless of my own political beliefs. In no way do I limit the access of this opportunity to my fellow students to attend this debate because of my own political views on the size of government, the rate of taxation, or foreign policy. Rather, I will not help you plan this event because of what these particular candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination stand for in their hate speech of my Muslim brothers and sisters. I will not stand by idly while they speak of my friends, my classmates, my teachers, my neighbors, my brothers, and my sisters as less than human. I hope you choose to do the same and step down in your role in assisting these candidates. By putting them on the same stage as previous candidates--Republican or Democrat--you give them a legitimacy they do not deserve.
1. Diamond, J. (2015, December 8). Donald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S. Retrieved March 26, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/07/politics/donald-trump-muslim-ban-immigration/
2. Diamond, J. (2016, March 22). Cruz: Police need to 'patrol' Muslim neighborhoods. Retrieved March 26, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/22/politics/ted-cruz-muslim-neighborhoods/index.html