My wife Fauziya and I have been married for 33 years. We have raised three wonderful daughters — Nausheen, our oldest, is a graphics design manager at a community college, Teizeen is a year younger, and Farzana, our youngest, is a Running Start student. The eldest two graduated college, entered rewarding careers and now have their own blossoming families.
Just last month, we welcomed our fourth granddaughter, Sanna, born to Teizeen, who is an environmental engineer, and her husband Ryan, both Stanford grads, and he a former Marine who was raised Christian and embraced Islam later in life.
My mother, who is 94, Fauziya, Nausheen, Teizeen, and my sons-in-law all live in Olympia. We are all American citizens and registered voters. And we are practicing Muslims typical of millions of American Muslims, who share our country’s strong family values, dedicated to raising and educating our children.
We are looking forward to kindergarten graduations, then high school and college graduations. Teizeen’s mother-in-law is a practicing Christian so our granddaughters enjoy the full benefits of an interfaith extended family — Eid gifts from their maternal grandparents and Christmas gifts from their paternal grandma.
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There are about 500 American Muslim families in the Olympia area, who give back to society every day. Muslims here are Americans in their hearts and in fact — most are born or raised as U.S. citizens. They share the same American values and freedoms that we all cherish, knowing that we are all in this together.
Olympia Muslims are doctors, engineers, farmers, public school teachers, police officers, nurses, active duty U.S. military personnel and veterans, business people and in many other roles building our nation’s vibrant economy. Inspired by their Islamic faith, they serve God by serving humankind. There are two mosques in the area and we love going there and we also love getting visitors of other faiths.
What I have seen recently has me concerned about the society my grandchildren will grow up in. Following a sustained promotion of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and incitements to violence by leaders, we have seen a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes nationwide including in the Puget Sound region. We have witnessed an African American man beaten and a pregnant American Muslim woman assaulted while pushing her child in a stroller. And we have seen many mosques threatened, shot at and defaced.
There are millions of American Muslim children just like my grandkids growing up across our nation. They are looking for fair-minded leaders to be true champions of American values by publicly stating at every opportunity that American Muslim children have the right to the same hopes and dreams as every other young American so that when millions of children turn on their TV or open a newspaper, they are reminded that they can grow up as fully practicing Muslims and fully American.
Mustafa Mohamedali is a civil engineer, U.S. citizen, a board member at the Islamic Center of Olympia, and devout American Muslim inspired by the faith’s teachings. He also is well known in interfaith circles and strives to give back to society by building bridges of interfaith understanding in the Olympia area.