Being Muslim in America Just Got Harder
Last weekend, I was in the Detroit airport heading home from our “Jobs and Human Needs” event. I rounded a corner and almost bumped into a young woman who was wearing a head scarf – I assumed she was Muslim. I smiled and apologized for nearly colliding with her. She looked down, and hurried away. I wondered why, until I saw the reason on the big screen TVs blaring out news around the airport — the news of Rep. Peter King’s upcoming hearings on the “Radicalization of Islam” had hit the talk-show circuit.
I thought about the horrible videos we had seen of the crowds in Orange County, California, screaming “go home” at Muslims — including children — attending a fundraising event. Their radical crime? They were raising money for a battered women’s shelter. The young woman in the airport would probably be subjected to some of that invective today, I thought. I was ashamed to think that she feared that kind of behavior from me. As a Muslim woman, she would be even more visible and vulnerable to attack than her male relatives, whose garb is less distinctive. I wanted to tell her — not all non-Muslims agree with Peter King and with that crowd in Orange County. But when I looked back, she was gone.
On the plane, I drafted a letter to the members of the Homeland Security Committee, to urge them to reject the very premise for the hearing… to reject the idea that Congress has any authority at all to look into the teachings and practices of a particular religion. This Congress is particularly interested in following the Constitution… sometimes. I hope they look at it closely this time.