Muslim students on campuses across the nation say they're afraid of and angry at Donald Trump's plan to stop all Muslims from entering the United States if he is elected next year, Scott Malone reports for Reuters.
But they're not protesting because they're afraid of giving his plan even more publicity or drawing attention to themselves.
"There is some fear among Muslims on two fronts," says Taymullah Abdur-Rahman, the Muslim chaplain at Harvard University. "We fear as Americans that these terrorists will somehow affect our lives as well—we don't want to be hurt. And more importantly, that there is a sense that we don't belong."
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Trump, the presidential candidate leading the Republican primary polls, announced his immigration plan following the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. The suspects possibly were inspired by the Islamic State group.
At Brown University, students discussed organizing anti-Trump protests but decided against it to avoid giving the real estate mogul more publicity.
World leaders, U.S. politicians, and Trump's own Republican party all denounced his plan, but the real estate mogul still leads the polls. A Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies poll conducted last week found 37% of general election voters support his idea and 65% of likely GOP primary voters back it.
Muslim students at several schools say the plan's popularity is their biggest concern.
Abdur-Rahman says he has devoted significant time to talking with students who express fear and exasperation at having to defend their religion.
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And at Arizona State University, students told Ahmad Shqeirat, an imam and member of the school's Muslim Students Association, that they were afraid they'd be targeted for attacks. He subsequently advised them to walk in groups and avoid remote areas, "especially the students who wear the hijab."
"I want to tell the young Muslim women I work with at the Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment I founded not to be scared. But how can I? I'm scared, too. I'm reminded of every time I was called a 'terrorist', the brutal stabbing in my local mosque, and the piercing hate in the eyes of the man who aggressively grabbed my hijab," Harvard student Rana Abdelhamid told USA Today College.
"But still, every morning, I wrap colorful, thick fabric around my head and find solace in the American values of freedom, diversity and democracy, the values my parents came here to find" (Malone, Reuters/Yahoo, 12/10; Kamal, USA Today College, 12/9).
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