I have to tell you the story of my friend. I met her about 10-years ago when her sons were still in school. I actually knew her husband first, he ran the pizza shop in my neighborhood. He kept telling my husband, “if you need help at your house, my wife cleans houses.” I was very uncomfortable with that, but due to my job, yes, we needed help. So Sam brought her over… I fell in love with her immediately. We became friends and even when I no longer needed her, we kept her because I could not give up my Tuesday mornings with Zia. We drank coffee, shared stories of our families, we love each other like sisters.
Over the years, I knew she was from Albania and a Muslim woman and that things had changed for her. The first time I realized what it was like being Muslim in America, was when her beautiful sons both got full soccer scholarships to College. A really good college. And they asked their mom not to let anyone know they were Muslim. Up until then, I kind of took it for granted. “It’s the USA, she’s white,” I didn’t realize she would be persecuted. My God, how wrong I was…
In Albania, her husband was a professor of languages. He speaks six different languages. He came here and left her in Albania for 5-years to earn enough money to bring his family. He could only get jobs in pizza shops which he did so well, he eventually bought his own. He had to pretend he was Italian for fear of retribution. He became a citizen — no easy thing — and so did his 3 sons. They never felt it was important for her to become a citizen so she just kept her green card. And then my country changed, almost overnight; suddenly she was afraid.
And with that change came abuse. Someone broke into their home – stole some valuables, but primarily sprayed bleach on every single thing in their house. Their furniture, their floors, their carpets, everything. The police treated them like something foreign, said it was a hate crime and left. The insurance company gave them the run-around for a year. And they live in a nice suburban neighborhood… What happened to us?
I know it’s a strategy to give poor whites something to look down upon, that seems to be the first rule in today’s Republican handbook. But even being uneducated, how can you hate another human that much? We see it in the way our First Family was treated, called monkeys, slandered by grown men – Republican lawmakers. I don’t understand how the party of “Christian values,” that proclaim to “love” Jesus could dehumanize another over color or religion.
In closing, my friend is scared and I hate that. They have worked so hard to be good American citizens only to see it taken away by people who have no idea of what is in the Constitution but are pretty damn sure they need lots of guns.
The land of freedom from religious persecution, where my friend cannot pray for fear of retribution!