Many have taken offense to Donald Trump’s recent remarks regarding Muslims, myself included. As a Muslim American, I am utterly perplexed that a Presidential candidate who is leading his party's polls would suggest such a radical idea and that so many Americans support it.
“As Muslims, anyone who murders, kills, does anything like that, it is so against the tenets of Islam, that it doesn't even warrant a response. It's like (Donald) Trump's comments don't even warrant a response. But now we're at a point where we have to say something,” Harris said.
Harris was traveling with the Broncos to Denver, following their win in San Diego on Sunday night, when President Obama spoke to the nation, denouncing anti-Muslim sentiment that has been growing in this country since the attacks carried out in Paris last month.
"Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors; our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform," President Obama said.
In response to this, Donald Trump sent out a tweet questioning which Muslim athletes were sports heroes, a tweet that received retweets from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Muhammad Ali.
“People need to know, I have had the best experience being Muslim both at Notre Dame and in NFL. Every single one of my coaches has respected me, asked me about it. My teammates ask me about it. I have never experienced any xenophobia in the NFL,” Harris said. “You talk about Muhammad Ali, you talk about in Houston —Hakeem Olajuwon. Every single sports fan in Houston knows about fasting, Ramadan, and Islam because Hakeem fasted. You know what I mean? In Kansas City, people know Husain Abdullah. It's such a contrast to what you're seeing with the xenophobic hate speech. But it's having an effect, and it’s unfortunate.”
While Harris said the locker room has always been a safe place for him, he understands that many of his peers don’t have that same security.
“The only Muslims I know are peaceful, loving people, that's the overwhelming majority. I can also tell you, a lot of Muslims are getting scared. When you start hearing that kind of rhetoric, and you can never control what some psychopathic extremist is going to do that's going to have an effect on all of us,” Harris said.
“In all of my years of being Muslim, I feel this is the most tense it's been in terms of Muslims having a lot of fear. Not as much me — I mean, I'm 300 pounds, I'll be OK. But for the Muslim woman who wears a hajib and goes to work, or the Muslim kid in school right now, it's tough.”
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