Muslim community expresses fear in wake of Trump win
by Patrick Kearns
Nov 15, 2016 | 2155 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Assemblyman elect Robert Carroll speaks to the Muslim community in Kensington.
Assemblyman elect Robert Carroll speaks to the Muslim community in Kensington.
Mamnun Haq and Brad Lander discuss the election results with the Muslim community.
Mamnun Haq and Brad Lander discuss the election results with the Muslim community.
Members of Brooklyn's Bangladeshi community gathered in Kensington last Friday just days after Donald Trump's presidential win to discuss how the results may impact their lives.

The initial sentiment was general fear and shock in the wake of the results, along with a few sleepless nights.

Mamnun Haq, a member of Community Board 12 and leader in the Bangladeshi community, said he's been living in the United States for 26 years and he's never seen an election campaign like the one Trump ran on his way to victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

He watched in disbelief as Trump made Islamophobia and xenophobia a part of his campaign.

“Nobody ever campaigned with that kind of hate,” Haq said. “I know in this country racism exists, it's been proven again.”

During his campaign, Trump discussed the possibility of a ban of Muslims entering the United States and the possibility of forcing all Muslims already in the country to join a registry.

Hasiba Haq has been organizing young Muslims throughout Brooklyn and New York City and held an election-night event in Kensington. She said it took her a long time to process her feelings about the election.

“It wasn't until I came to work and one of my coworkers gave me a hug that I burst into tears,” she said.

Haq said she thinks it's a scary time for a lot of Muslims and people of color in the country, but it's not the first time they've faced adversity. And if there's one thing the election taught her, it's that anything is possible.

“Somebody who's completely unqualified won,” she said. “And I truly, truly believe, and find myself telling friends today, I'm never again going to say I can't do anything.”

Another positive Haq took from the results was that she's already heard from a lot more people asking her how they can help the Muslim community.

Councilman Brad Lander said when people want to see what the American dream looks like, they should come to Kensington. He pointed to the businesses opening up on Avenue C and Church Avenue and the local schools and arts organizations as examples.

“So it is so deeply painful to feel that the country is not honoring that vision of the dream we share,” Lander said. “I thought it was very important after the election results became clear to come down here just as quickly as we could and say first, your elected officials have your back.”

Lander pointed to a number of New York City policies that will help protect immigrant and Muslim communities.

The NYPD, he explained, does not work with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials, and New York City is a sanctuary city, which means they don't prosecute people for being undocumented. And the IDNYC card allows residents to obtain official identification without turning information over to the federal government.

“We will not let this country become a place that is characterized by Islamophobia or anti-Muslim hatred,” he added.

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