The day after the election, Imam Yasir Qadhi called an impromptu meeting at the Memphis Islamic Center. Within hours, more than a hundred people had poured into the mosque looking for guidance and support following Donald Trump’s victory.
The cleric said he organized the gathering after he was bombarded by concerned texts and phone calls from members of his congregation. Qadhi wanted people to be prepared — and that included knowing what to do when faced with a hate crime.
“We put our trust in God,” Qadhi said, “but our religion also teaches us to be practical and pragmatic and not to be naïve.”
Qadhi’s mosque did not suffer any vandalism during the campaign, but many in the U.S. did. Last November, the walls of Baitul Aman mosque in Meriden, Conn. were riddled with bullet holes. In Waterloo, Iowa last month, “Trump” was spray-painted on the outside of a mosque. Of 190 mosque-related incidents tracked by the American Civil Liberties Union since 2005 — ranging from petitions against the building of mosques to outright vandalism — 85 have taken place since October 2015.
And figures released by the FBI on Monday showed hate crimes against Muslims rose 67 percent last year.
“Our congregation was shocked [by Trump’s victory],” said Zahir Mannan, outreach director for Baitul Aman mosque. “But coming from a mosque that had been shot at, we know how to deal with shock.”
“This is not Trump’s America,” he added. “This is not any individual America. This is all of our America.”