Area Muslims turn to social media to combat Trump’s rhetoric

— Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” has been roundly criticized as bigoted, unconstitutional and potentially dangerous for American interests abroad, but some local Muslims say such pronouncements only stoke anger and fear.

So, two Muslim women have turned to using social media with the hope of tempering the heated discourse with words of understanding.

“It’s not just one man saying things and nobody agrees with him. He’s got like a very large following,” said Hoda Abrahim, a Cary native and student at North Carolina Central University.

“Donald Trump is an entertainer, and I think, at this point, he’s kind of made America into his own reality show, starring uneducated Americans,” said Zainab Baloch, a Raleigh native and a North Carolina State University graduate.

“There are so many Americans that support him, and that’s, honestly, a little frightening,” Abrahim said. “That’s not what our country stands for.”

“This isn’t a Muslim issue any more. It’s an American issue,” Baloch said.

The pair recently posted a video on Facebook to combat Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric. The three-minute video features a series of young adults holding up slates with the hashtag #IWanttoLiveinaWorld and statements such as “… where I’m judged by what’s in my head, not what’s on it” and “… where we silence ignorance by amplifying understanding.”

“What we want to do is just put ourselves out there so that people can get a chance to know us instead of going by the assumptions that they’re hearing on the news about what Muslims are like,” Abrahim said.

The women said they are tired of trying to apologize for the actions of ISIS and acts of terror carried out by Islamic radicals.

“That’s almost like we’re accepting responsibility and saying, ‘On behalf of Muslims, we’re sorry.’ As Muslims, we don’t claim those acts at all,” Abrahim said.

The two women said they have always felt welcome in the Triangle and never gave wearing their head scarves in public a second thought. Only a few times, they said, have they encountered someone who gave them the cold shoulder.

They said they hope the video and their social media efforts will spark conversations with people who can both learn more about Islam and realize that they are thoroughly American.

“We’re doing our part, but it’s also down to other people doing their part in not making assumptions,” Baloch said.

,Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” has been roundly criticized as bigoted, unconstitutional and potentially dangerous for American interests abroad, but some local Muslims say such pronouncements only stoke anger and fear.

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