Local Muslim young adults discuss religion, travel bans

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — What do young Muslims think about travel bans proposed by President Donald Trump? 24-Hour News 8 recently sat down with a group of Muslim teens and young adults to get their take on that and what they would like people to understand about their religion.

“The one thing that I want people to know about Islam is it’s truly a peaceful religion,” Manahil Nadeem said.

“Here we are, the youngest of them, the youngest Muslims who are going to grow up in this country, who are going to grow up with everybody else, and who share a lot of experiences that other people do,” 16-year-old Ali Hasan said. “And when you take experiences like ours away, it’s a dehumanizing thing for Islam. It takes away from the truth that there are a lot of us here that are your doctors, that are your lawyers, your taxi drivers, that do their own thing, that we have our own place in society and when you see this kind of conversation that we’re having right now, it adds a little more to that; it adds a little bit more complexity to something that should be given thought to.”

“It’s disheartening when you first hear about it (the ban) but then to see the reaction and the amount of support and solidarity that we get from our communities — from different groups across America — it really brings us together,” Hera Ashraf said.

“It hit me because they’re people that I know; they’re people that are on here on visas from countries, from the countries that are affected — even relatives from Pakistan that are here in the USA that are on green cards and stuff,” Daniel Tajwer said. “And the very possible thought [they had] that they were actually afraid of traveling outside of the country with the very legitimate fear they would not be able to return.”

Many of those we spoke to discussed how they have felt very accepted in their hometowns.

“I think I speak for the majority of us here, that we’ve all been extremely privileged to grow up in communities where we’ve felt accepted,” Tajwere added. “We’ve never really felt different from others due to our religious beliefs and due to our physical appearances.”

“I’ve felt a little scared — I’ve never felt unsafe. I’ve lived in America for all of my 17 years of living, and this is truly my home, and no one can ever take that away from me,” Nadeem said.

Several also talked about the need for more communication, and how they welcome those with questions about their religion.

“I think it’s important to talk about how important it is to go out and meet Muslims and interact with Muslims,” Fariha Hossain said. “Like, there are a lot of different people in marginalized groups who feel in the spotlight and are often times scared and so I think the most important thing to do is talk to them and ask them their stories, see where they’re coming from, where that fear is coming from, as well as the people who are fearful of these people in the minority groups, like why are you scared? And maybe I can do something to help ease that fear.

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