As President Donald Trump has demonstrated over the past two months, he wasn't joking around when he promised to be tough on Muslims — both domestically and abroad.
To many Muslim Americans, his win forced them to go deeper into the shadows, living in ways that protect them from potential attacks.
The Guardian chronicled the life of a 23-year-old Muslim woman named Nora who said she felt compelled to remove her headscarf once Trump was elected.
She said she feared that once he moved to the White House, state and private violence against people like her would worsen. So like many Muslim men and women, she hid her identity from the world.
She's not alone, and while it didn't start with the 2016 election, Trump's win sure has intensified the Muslim community's fears.
Many men, The Guardian reports, shaved their beards, while many women simply stopped wearing their headscarves. On resumes, Muslim professionals are allegedly changing their Muslim names just so they are more likely to get a call back. And at schools, many have now started to pass as non-Muslims, all out of fear that Islamophobia will only worsen during the four years Trump remains as president.
To many in the community in Europe, this isn't new. Many go through the same process in order to erase their public identity to avoid being targeted by prejudiced locals.
As the European Union expands France's 2004 “headscarf ban,” Muslim women are not only barred from wearing their hijabs in public schools but are now also kept from covering their heads within the workplace.
To those in America who are forced to conceal their identity out of fear, the choice doesn't come easy.
Many allegedly say they feel that not keeping up with the tradition even in a Western country goes against the teachings they follow. They become fearful that the Muslim community will criticize them, while others feel they will be scorned.
But worse yet, many say they feel they are not able to express themselves freely unless they are among members of their own community. This alone prevents countless Muslim Americans from speaking their minds in public out of fear of retaliation and violence.
Trump and many of his followers like to claim that Islam is the problem. And yet, they fail to understand that they cannot target an entire group of people simply because they share the same religious belief. After all, they are often angered — and rightly so — when people do the same with those who subscribe to the Jewish faith, so why the double standard?
The hostility toward Muslim Americans has been reportedly worsening ever since the 9/11 terror attacks that killed 2,977 people, the Guardian states. As the War on Terror continued long after the attack, many in the community said they felt they were still vulnerable. But now that the president has targeted travelers from Muslim countries, many say they feel that Islamophobia is going to get much worse.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Stephanie Keith