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MUSLIMS IN DONALD TRUMP'S OLD NEIGHBORHOOD SAY, COME GET TO KNOW US

“Donald, come home.” As Liz Robbins reported in a recent online post in the New York Times, that was the message on the night of December 7 in Queens, New York “as two dozen men finished their prayers in a basement mosque beneath a discount store on Hillside Avenue in the Jamaica neighborhood, just a block from where Donald J. Trump grew up.”

As Ali Najmi said after prayers at the Arafa Islamic Center in response to the question “Where are the moderate Muslims”: “We’re right here; we’re right in Donald Trump’s neighborhood. He needs to come back home.” Mr. Najmi has extended a Twitter invitation to Donald Trump to come back for “some halal kebabs and a cup of chai tea in the old neighborhood.”

I never tire of saying that it is all too easy to marginalize and demonize persons who disagree with you when you don’t know them on a personal level, including a whole category of persons, like the overwhelming majority of Muslims who are deeply committed to peace and justice. The only antidote to that prevalent contemporary tendency is to take time to get know those who differ from you, listening to and understanding their expressions of joy and sorrow, and their aspirations for the future, which may be very similar to your hopes and dreams.

I know from personal experience that a profound change in perspective can occur when you get to personally know someone who differs from you. So, Donald Trump should accept Mr. Najmi’s gracious invitation, and all of us should take the necessary steps to get to know those who differ from us, especially those who strongly disagree with us. At this time for making resolutions for the New Year, that would be a good place to start.

 

 

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