Sunday, July 2, 2017

What it's like to be Muslim in Trump country

The Washington Post has a fascinating article about a Muslim doctor in rural Minnesota coming to terms with living in Trump country.

What's left out of the story that could shed light on our increasingly dysfunctional nation are the voices of the townspeople in Dawson, Minn., responding to Dr. Ayaz Virji.

Virji, who was corralled into giving talks about Islam by a Lutheran pastor, has spent much of the time since Trump's election feeling beset, angry, and confused. How could people be so stupid? Are they all bigots? Why should I stay here? Many of us have had similar responses to Trump's election, but perhaps not with the same intensity as Virji.

At one point, a co-worker tries to explain to Virji that it wasn't Trump's nutty anti-Muslim comments that sold Dawson voters, but high health care costs.

One wants to know more. The residents of Dawson welcomed Virji and his family, and the local butcher volunteered to provide halal meat. Local kids came to Virji's house to play. People didn't care that Virji's wife wore a hijab.

It's easy to think of Trump voters as representing the darkest and most xenophobic aspects of our national personality. But, clearly, Dawson residents were not thinking of Virji or his religion when they voted for Trump.

So what were they thinking? And has Trump affected tolerance among his supporters for our Muslim neighbors?

One hopes the Post will go back to Dawson to find out.

FWIW, I live in a town about the size of Dawson. Around Memorial Day, the handful of neighbors flying Confederate flags in their front yards took them down. I would give cash money to know if one of the local pastors remonstrated his flock about this. If so, I'd give that money to that pastor's church.


  1. Michigan is quite a ways north of the Mason Dixon Line. If the people displaying Confederate flags had any connection to the old south, it was long ago and far away. Makes one wonder if they viewed it similar to sports team paraphernalia, or something, and had an epiphany that they really didn't want to appear to be in favor of slavery.

  2. One of my physicians is Muslim; he's been here many years, and been my physician for close to thirty years.

    He is from Syria, and I suspect that for him Trump is just the latest in a long line of incompetent American politicians that just make things worse rather than better for his part of the world.

    I did see a car the other day with a confederate flag. I suspect it is a young persons' thing, a way to be both a "rebel" but also doing something that is "in" at least for Trump supporters.

    There has been over the years migration of Appalachian poor populations into southern parts of PA, OH, Indiana. Some of that has gotten as far north as Toledo, Ohio. There are some sympathy for Southern attitudes among this population. There are also negative attitudes toward them, e.g. white trash.

  3. They see it as a symbol against strong federal control, if not state's right-ers, given that Michigan's Legislature is filled with term-limited dunderheads whom our Lt. Gov. wants to make part-time, which will save money in the short term, but probably cost us more in the form of even dumber legislation long-term.

    There has been so much brain drain and dim-wittery in this state it's not even funny.

    People also fly their Dixie flags here to signal to black people that they are in unfriendly territory. We have a couple of black families here who are well liked, and I think one of the local ministers commented on the message the Dixie flag sends.

    Anyhoo, glad to see a symbol of shame and sedition gone.