Trump, uthoo abh kooch karo!

Goodbye Mr. Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

I still remember that late November night four years ago when it became clear Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States. He reminded me of the kind of strongman leaders many of us thought we had left behind when we moved to America. The kind of thugs who, in the name of the people, fill their pockets, flaunt the laws, and crush dissent.

Back in 2012 it was already clear Trump had no interest in endearing himself to the Muslim American community, when he claimed Obama was secretly a Muslim. In 2016 candidate Trump claimed he would implement a database to track Muslims in the US and that thousands of Muslims had cheered in New Jersey when the World Trade Center collapsed. He called for a “total and complete shutdown” of the entry of Muslims to America “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Many people were impacted by his early executive order banning the entry of people from several majority Muslim countries. Several friends have not been able to see their parents or have them meet their new grandchildren because of this. (And yet his Operation Warp Speed vaccine project was headed up by a Muslim scientist!)

But there was another – less obvious – impact of Trump’s presidency: It emboldened the problematic organizations claiming to speak in our name to deflect criticism of their poor performance. The environment of Trump’s Islamophobia became a shield for them. People also felt hesitant to expose abuses in our leadership at a time when Trump was targeting their communities.

Meanwhile these leaders and organizations got an unprecedented outpouring of sympathy and donations from the well-meaning Americans who wanted to stand with Muslim. Ironically, the extremist leaders whose failure for years caused us so much trouble became the beneficiaries of our misery. This is the reason our blog is “caught between rock and a hard place”.

Maybe the end of the Trump era will make it easier to have honest debate about our internal leadership crisis. The strong men are actually our own, dominating our community institutions. As the victims suddenly shout in horror movies: “It’s coming from inside the house!”