About 20 minutes before my scheduled meeting, I walked into the Michigan Muslim Community Council’s office nervously clutching my bag reviewing all the do’s and don’ts of job interviews. A lot had led up to this moment, but it’s fair to say I wasn’t nearly as prepared as I would have liked to interview for the position of Civic Engagement Ambassador.
It all began in November 2016 as a complacent 16-year-old went to bed around11:30 PM ready to wake up the next day and expect to hear all about “President-Elect Hillary Clinton” at school. I treated that evening as anything but a turning point in American politics, and with a nice bowl of Cheerios, I was sound asleep by midnight. My brother shook me awake at 3 AM to break the news to me while recording, and as I came to my senses, I called him a liar and pushed him out of my room. Nothing could have been further from my imagination. Over the next few hours, I scrolled through Twitter and read reactions from journalists, pollsters, and political leaders; these moments would shape the way I see politics for a long time to come.
“This is the worst thing ever to happen to Muslims in America,” a friend of mine texted me frantically, but over the next few months, I came to the realization that this was only a symptom of the real problem.
I know from experience that President Trump is vastly unappreciated by the Muslim community, but my goal with this newsletter is not to pedal a certain opinion of the Trump Administration or criticize and promote particular policies. Instead, I want to look at what it means for a Muslim to be civically engaged in the United States. This is the essential life-blood of any democracy, and I believe that it ought to thrive independently of any individual.
What do you think it means for a Muslim to be civically engaged in the United States? Let me know in the comments section below!
Husain Haidri is a frustrated writer who compulsively eats Cheerios. Email for inquires.