What America means to Muslims who fled persecution

Originally published in The Baltimore Sun

In 1974, the Pakistani government declared Ahmadi Muslims, a minority sect of Islam, as non-Muslims. Ever since, Ahmadi Muslims have been victims of mosque burnings, massacres, targeted killings and other atrocities.

Ahmadis in Pakistan are banned from reading the Quran, banned from calling their places of worship “mosques” and banned from committing anything considered “Islamic.”

Moreover, not only has the Pakistani government initiated this violence, but officials refuse to prosecute those who commit such crimes.

I grew up hearing stories of how my family left that chaotic situation and took refuge in the U.S. This country has welcomed our family and been a safe haven for millions of people worldwide. I am so proud to be an American.

Nonetheless, given what President Donald Trump has said, and what he has still not apologized for after last year’s campaign season, I fear that proud vision of America could be torn down and replaced with a one that more resembles the nation my parents fled.

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