On Wednesday, just hours after Donald Trump raced to victory in the presidential election, a Muslim woman at San Jose State University in California reportedly had her hijab ripped off her head. The attack was so violent it choked her and caused her to fall over.
The same day, a Muslim student wearing traditional clothing and a hijab was robbed and harassed by a pair of men, one white and one Hispanic, at San Diego State University in California. They made comments about Trump and Muslims before taking her purse, backpack and car keys. When she brought police back to the scene, her car was gone, according to officials, who called the incident “a hate crime.”
As shocking as these incidents are, they’re not isolated. Since Election Day, a harrowing series of attacks on Muslim Americans has been shaking both the real and online world across the country.
Now, though, the community is rising up to stand together and address the violence and hostility with a sense of unity. Support groups have been gathering, protests organized, and the community is going into action — from calls at the top to grassroots solidarity.
On Thursday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Trump to “repudiate” the attacks on Muslim women made by people expressing support for his presidency. The organization also compiled a prayer guide for Muslims struggling after the election and has advised religious leaders to guide their communities.
“Based on many requests from community leaders and parents for guidance on how to address post-election anxieties and concerns, CAIR is calling on khatibs (Islamic prayer leaders) and imams (Islamic religious leaders) to address those concerns during their Friday khutbas (sermons) for the normal congregational prayers (jummah),” the organization said in a statement Thursday.
The Sisters in Islam Support Group, meanwhile, held a meeting Thursday to engage in discussion about what the election means, how to cope, and how to come together. During the meet, which was filmed for Facebook (below), one woman said she was “ready for action.” Another tearfully described the need to “just keep swimming.”
“This has been really hard for me,” she said, crying and her voice choking. “I’m still grieving … I’m still upset but on my way to being comforted.”
, which is a hub of lifestyle content targeting millennials, put together a list of self-care tips, from just watching Netflix to exercising to relieve stress.
On social media, many have been rallying.
At the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Muslims students reportedly discovered “Trump” written on the door of their prayer room. The school’s Muslim Students Association immediately pledged on Facebook to “rise boldly and unapologetically in the face of bigotry” and offered a Google form for anyone who wanted to join them.
In Tampa, Florida, Christians and Muslims are planning to come together for an event called “Loving Your Muslim Neighbor,” aimed at reaching out to the Islamic community.
Others are trying to help protect the safety of Muslim Americans, offering free self-defense classes and rides to school. Some of the help is coinciding with the safety pin movement online.
Protests, meanwhile, have given a loud and public voice of solidarity. At San Diego State University, the same California campus where a Muslim woman was targeted and robbed, the streets were alive with activism.
The acts of violence since Tuesday are sadly not new. They follow a trend of increased anti-Muslim violence that’s taken hold since last year, when Trump announced his candidacy and, not long after, called for a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the country.
The proposed ban was a move even Trump’s running mate once acknowledged as “offensive and unconstitutional.” But on Thursday, the now president-elect told Yahoo! News he would “absolutely” require Muslim Americans to register with the government, something Jews had to do during the Holocaust.
The week before the election, a mosque was defaced in Florida and in October, an Arkansas mosque was vandalized with statements like “F*ck Islam”, “F*ck Allah” and “Go home.” They’re just a few of the multiple attacks and sometimes violent threats made at mosques this year alone. Last year, hate crimes against Muslims rose by 69 percent, according to data recently compiled by researchers at California State University, San Bernardino.
However, along with the public protests and the private prayers, Muslim Americans and allies are offering warm words of support on Twitter.
There have been other small rays of hope, too, like a heartfelt note left at an Indiana mosque, signed “a concerned neighbor.”
“I am sure things must be scary for you all right now,” the note read. “I hope the coming weeks and months are peaceful, but no matter what, please know that many of us appreciate what you bring to this community and wish you nothing but love.”