Just one week ago, three young American-Sudanese Muslim men were shot execution style a few blocks away from Indiana Tech. This incident recalls to memory the painful murders of the three UNC students killed in the same way last year. People came together with the hashtag #OurThreeBrothers to call attention to the murders and, just as crucially, to the growing hatred toward Muslims in this country.
On Wednesday night, a vigil took place in front of the UT Tower to mourn the loss of the three young men. The solidarity shown at the vigil for the three victims is an example of the fulfillment of the principle of diversity upon which this very country was founded.
“About halfway into the evening I realized that Austin [Robinson] was sitting on the main mall steps, holding up a sign with Muhannad Tairab’s name,” said Myra Ali, an international relations and global studies senior in a Facebook post. “It was such a quietly powerful moment, and I realized that was exactly what I want from my student leaders... someone to be there for us in our most difficult moments. For just a second it wasn’t about campaigning or politics but just pure and simple solidarity and understanding.”
Unfortunately, this is not a popular opinion in the Lone Star State. As a result of Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric, specifically his call for a ban on incoming Muslims, more people are beginning to believe that
Muslims pose more of a threat to society than a benefit.
A recent February poll conducted by the University and the Texas Tribune indicates that support for stricter immigration policies is growing among voters in the state, most troublingly the fact that more Texans now support, than oppose, banning Muslims from entering the United States.
Trump has fueled this changing public opinion by provoking fear and hate-mongering rather than evidence or reason. Immigrants, both legal and unauthorized, are actually less likely to commit serious crimes than native-born Americans, according to a report from the American Immigration Council. His comments about the removal of Muslims in America undermine reasonable attempts to productively maintain both American security and continued immigrant populations.
Trump doesn’t seem to grasp his own country’s history and how many American achievements worth celebrating are the work of the kind of people – Muslims, Hispanics and others – he wants to keep out. Without Fazlur Rahman Khan, the “Einstein of structural engineering” who innovated the framed tube structure, some Trump’s very own towers could not have been constructed in the first place.
From sporting heroes in Muhammad Ali, to activists in Malcolm X, to comedians in Hasan Minhaj, countless Muslims have been much more instrumental to this country than Trump has. He fails to even comprehend his own roots, since his lineage goes back to a German great-grandfather who also immigrated to the United States.
A quote on the website of our very own White House states “our American journey and our success would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe.” Instead of proposing to build walls and other barriers to close off immigrants, we should restore the principle that has defined this country since its founding — that it is a refuge for minorities.
Saifullah is a nueroscience sophomore from Richardson. Follow her on Twitter @coolstorysunao.