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Muslim Americans Fearful After Donald Trump Wins Presidency


Perhaps no Americans felt more maligned during this presidential campaign than those of the Muslim faith especially Muslim immigrants. Trump did modify his earlier call for a ban on Muslim immigration. But as NPR's Tom Gjelten reports, some Muslim Americans are fearful of what his presidency may bring.

TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: As Trump's count grew last night, Muslim group chats on social media turned frantic. Meraj Allahrakha, who counsels Muslim students at George Washington University, awoke early this morning and opened his phone.

MERAJ ALLAHRAKHA: Emails and messages and Facebook posts of people who are just devastated or scared.

GJELTEN: The president-elect is a man who has said, Islam hates us, and whose campaign rallies often featured people denouncing Muslims.

ALLAHRAKHA: People are just worried that now that this has become the legitimized opinion, many people who harbor these feelings privately will not come out publicly and may even act on them.

GJELTEN: But not all Muslims are so worried. Asma Uddin says her faith in the country was just somewhat shaken last night.

ASMA UDDIN: Obviously, on a personal level, I'm deeply troubled.

GJELTEN: But as a lawyer who advocates for religious freedom for Christians, as well as Muslims, she has conservative allies to whom she'll turn for support. And she has faith in the limits that even a Republican Congress will place on what a President Trump can do.

UDDIN: And those people who were elected are not Trump. They do have respect for freedom and liberty and the rights of minorities and immigrants. So even if he does have control of our government, not every politician is going to allow some of the overreach that we're all hearing.

GJELTEN: At George Washington University, Meraj Allahrakha already knows what message he'll share with Muslim Americans now wondering how to face the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency.

ALLAHRAKHA: This is going to be another opportunity for us to reach out, talk to people, show our faces around and say, you know, my Americanness is no less than any others' Americanness in this great country.

GJELTEN: Meraj Allahrakha, a Muslim chaplain and advisor to the Muslim Students Association. Tom Gjelten, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Gjelten reports on religion, faith, and belief for NPR News, a beat that encompasses such areas as the changing religious landscape in America, the formation of personal identity, the role of religion in politics, and conflict arising from religious differences. His reporting draws on his many years covering national and international news from posts in Washington and around the world.
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