Together with Trump: An American Muslim partnership
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When Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE announced his intention to run for president, I was thrilled to support a successful candidate who would run this country like a business and strive to serve all Americans.

I am an Indian who came to America more than 30 years ago, attracted by this nation’s freedom of speech, expression and religion — the ultimate role model for the world. I rescinded my Indian citizenship long time ago and became a proud American citizen. 

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I never choose between my two identities: American and Muslim. I am a proud American and I am a proud Muslim. Other American Muslims feel the same way. 

Yet as Trump launched his campaign, it became very clear he were creating an environment of fear, hate and divisiveness to win the presidency. This realization shattered my dreams and hope, and I could not in good conscience offer him my vote. 

But I still strongly believe in democracy, and Trump has been democratically elected — he is my American president.

During this election season, we also saw America at its best. People of various faiths stood together in solidarity, showing their full support for our Muslim community by sending emails, letters and flowers, and strongly condemning anti-Muslim rhetoric. These gestures reminded me that America also offers hope and that I shouldn’t give up so quickly.

Therefore, my first hope is that all politicians should learn political magic from Trump. His unprecedented victory on Nov. 8 proved wrong all his opponents, as well as pundits, pollsters and even people of his own party. And by not taking money from the Wall Street, he also proved that votes still have more power than money.

My second hope is that Trump will follow the U.S. Constitution as written, serve all citizens regardless of their religion, ethnicity, color or wealth, and treat everybody with respect. He must unite them, not divide them. He must remember that we are a nation of immigrants of different faiths, and that we all share a common belief that our differences only make us better.

If we all work together, we can build a strong and prosperous America for all that is free of violence and extremism. This would also send a very strong message to other countries, particularly many Muslim nations in great need of reform.

Third, if Trump intends to fulfill his campaign promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, he should consider building a virtual wall through smarter policies and policing versus a permanent, divisive one. Please do not deport those who are already here for a better future at the cost of a few, and bring those few to justice.    

Fourth, I hope our president will consider American Muslims as partners in the fight against ISIS — our common enemy. Please remember that Muslims have alerted law enforcement officers about terrorist suspects, and have built a strong relationship with our law enforcement officers and elected officials to deal with terrorism.

We American Muslims have even more at stake in fighting this enemy because ISIS is destroying the image of Islam — a word that means “peace” — and is killing innocent people, including Muslims around the globe. 

Donald Trump has demonstrated mastery of media during his campaign, and I am optimistic that he will be able to convince mainstream media not to associate any religion with terrorism, because no religion teaches terrorism.

Finally, with Trump’s foreign policy, we must strive to create peace in the Muslim world. Let’s start with the Palestinians and Syrians, who have been begging for so long for American leadership. America is their only hope.  

This is Trump’s chance to restore hope, not fear, in our great nation. May God bless America.

 

Masood Akhtar is an entrepreneur and adviser to the Muslim community.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.