In an interview with Muslim Press, Murtaza Hussain said “Donald Trump has legitimized hating Muslims and being open in hostility towards them, and now we are seeing shootings, arson attacks, assaults and worse against Muslims on a regular basis.”

Below is the full text of this interview:

Muslim Press: How do you evaluate today's America and its problem with Islam?

Murtaza Hussain: There is unfortunately a lot of fear and misunderstanding of Islam held by Americans, partly due to the actions of certain terrorist groups and partly due to misinformation and fearmongering spread by people with an anti-Muslim agenda. As a result you see tacit support for anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric that trickles down to affect people on a day-to-day basis.

MP: How do you relate rise of Donald Trump and its impact on anti-Muslim violence?

Murtaza Hussain: Unfortunately it seems clear that the rise of Trump means that there will be an increase in anti-Muslim violence and we are already seeing the manifestations of this. He has legitimized hating Muslims and being open in hostility towards them, and now we are seeing shootings, arson attacks, assaults and worse against Muslims on a regular basis.

MP: What should the American Muslim community do to fight this phenomenon?

Murtaza Hussain: Keep writing and being active in your community to build networks of shared interest and understanding, this will help create antibodies within society to help defend against hatred and radicalism. It will also help create positive stereotypes to fight against the negative ones we are facing.

MP: A recent US survey show an 89-percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims. What does that tell us?

Murtaza Hussain: Such a finding would tell us that we are in a very dangerous position and at the cusp of seeing a lot of violence and darkness in the days ahead. It should also serve as a wakeup call to the importance of activism and political and social engagement.

MP: Muslim women wearing hijab also face an increased level of violence and discrimination both in the United States and Europe. How could they integrate in Western societies when facing such hostility?

Murtaza Hussain: This is a very difficult test for people and I admire Muslim women who continue to wear hijab in such a terrible atmosphere. I hope that in future, after the struggles of this period pass, it will not be such a hard thing. Meanwhile we should salute their bravery on this count and in the future I am sure we will remember their stance on this fondly.

 

Murtaza Hussain is a journalist and political commentator now working for the Intercept. His work focuses on human rights, foreign policy, and cultural affairs. Murtaza’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Salon, and elsewhere.