The latest in a troubling series of attacks on Muslims in the U.S., Mohammed Rasheed Khan was brutally assaulted as he left the Center for Islamic Studies in Queens after prayers on June 5, 2016. Mr. Khan, who was dressed traditionally in Muslim garb, was not robbed. His attackers reportedly laughed after the attack. Mr. Khan required surgery for his injuries, which included five facial fractures, a concussion and broken ribs.
Mr. Kahn’s attack, most likely a hate crime based on his religion, is yet another disturbing example of the increasing xenophobia that has swept across the country ever since Donald Trump initiated his presidential campaign. Mr. Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric against minorities based on their race and religion has inspired racists and xenophobes to act out on the hatred they hold. With Trump’s almost daily appearances in the media in which he spews hate-filled speech, anti-Islamic attacks have quickly increased.
For example, Trump called for a requirement for Muslim registration and tracking following the San Bernardino attacks. This led to a large number of attacks against Muslims. Racists have been emboldened by Trump’s incitement of their basest instincts, making their behavior seemingly acceptable. Examples have included a pig’s head left on the steps of a Philadelphia mosque, a woman’s attack on a Muslim man at Lake Chabot, a shopkeeper who was assaulted by a man who shouted that he kills Muslims and a man who tore off a woman’s hijab during a flight while yelling, “This is America!”
Since its birth as a nation, America has prided itself on being a diverse country in which multiculturism is celebrated. Now, with Trump’s meteoric, hate-filled rise, those American values are under attack as well.
The fundamental rights of being Americans are quickly being eroded and trampled upon as hate is given an air of legitimacy by both Trump’s hate speech and the media’s relentless display of what he says. His speech incites violence, and America is in danger of losing itself in a sea of ignorance and hatred. We can only hope that the country engages in some serious self-reflection and cleans up its act before what it means to be American is lost.