Qasim Rashid On Anti-Muslim Bigotry: 'This Really Happened'

Heartless Woman’s Stunning Response To Small Child’s Near-Miss Shows How Low We’ve Fallen

Meet Qasim Rashid, he’s a radical Muslim…That is, if you consider a follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be “radical,” which some of Rashid‘s fellow Muslims do. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a prophet who founded the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at movement in late 19th century India. Although the offshoot of Islam Qasim Rashid practices shares many beliefs with the Shiites and the Sunnis, Ahmadi Muslims place a special emphasis on spreading the word of Islam through peace, love, and tolerance, according to the entry in Wikipedia:

[Mirza Ghulam Ahmad] believed his objective was to defend and propagate Islam globally through peaceful means, to revive the forgotten Islamic values of peace, forgiveness and sympathy for all mankind, and to establish peace in the world through the teachings of Islam. He believed that his message had special relevance for the Western world, which, he believed, had descended into materialism.

Those principles alone wouldn’t offend most Muslims: The word “Islam” is Arabic for “peace,” after all. Alas, some are a lot like our so-called “Christians” here in the U.S., and can’t get past the other new-fangled notions, like the idea of a new prophet when Mohammed is supposed to be the final one. That’s why Qasim Rashid — a writer, attorney and human rights activist — knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of religious bigotry. He’s just more used to it coming from his fellow Muslims, than from his fellow Americans.

Qasim Rashid’s nasty brush with anti-Muslim bigotry.

Alas, he and his two young children had a nasty experience with anti-Muslim bigotry that changed all that. On Monday, Qasim Rashid posted their horrific tale on Facebook: Long-story short, he was crossing a street while holding his six-year-old son’s hand with one hand, carrying his two-year-old son with his other hand, and somehow also managing to carry some groceries.

Suddenly, a careless driver ran a stop sign and was about to hit them. Since he was holding his son’s hand, he swung him away from the oncoming vehicle. And then, to get the driver’s attention, this desperate dad used the only means at his disposal: He kicked the car as it drew close, and fell over while doing so. The woman stopped the car and looked horrified at what she’d done, but drove away with no apology.

Getting knocked over by a moving car while trying to keep your little boy from getting hit is harrowing enough. What happened next was even worse: The woman behind the careless driver rolled down her window, not to ask if Qasim Rashid and his kids were okay, but to scream:

“YOU F—ING FOREIGNERS. GET THE HELL OUTTA MY COUNTRY. YOU’RE A DISGRACE!”

And then the woman sped away without waiting for a response like the cowardly bigot she is. Here’s the distraught father’s Facebook post with a photo of his boys, so you can see the winsome, little faces that triggered that wretched woman’s hateful obscenities. Seriously, she is a monster.

This actually happened. I was crossing a small street in an outdoor mall near my home with my boys. I was carrying…

Posted by Qasim Rashid on Monday, December 21, 2015

Now Qasim Rashid’s stuck with the depressing task of trying to answer some really tough questions about anti-Muslim bigotry while watching his children cry. For starters, the six-year-old must have felt confused about being called a “foreigner,” since he was born in Chicago.

My 6-year-old was visibly shaken and grabbed my hand tightly. There were about a dozen people who stopped and turned and stared at us. No one said a single word. Nothing. The woman who cursed us out drove off as well. My son spent the next hour asking me a thousand different ways why she was angry at us and what we did wrong?

Still think the GOP’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has no consequences?

See? Fomenting racism, Islamophobia, and fear of “foreigners” — who apparently include native born Americans these days — has consequences. It actually hurts real, live children. And in case you’re getting all self-congratulatory and assuming this happened in some podunk town in the Deep South, think again. Qasim Rashid and his family live in Philadelphia, a cosmopolitan major city in the North. For a long time, most of us kept our prejudices to ourselves knowing you can’t get away with saying the stuff that horrible woman said in mixed company. As Qasim Rashid angrily posted:

If you think the rhetoric from the far right doesn’t have real consequences, if you think ignorantly conflating Islam and Muslims with Daesh terrorists doesn’t have real consequences, if you think demanding a stop to all Muslim immigrants doesn’t have real consequences, then look in the eyes of my boys and tell them that you were that woman who yelled at them from the car.

But now, Donald Trump and the Republican party have made it perfectly acceptable to bash on Mexicans, Muslims, and even Sikhs who are neither Muslim nor Mexican but who sometimes have dark skin, look “foreign,” and wear funny hats. And sure, Donald Trump’s the only one saying those things directly, and the GOP doesn’t even see him as a real Republican. But Mein Trumpf’s fellow presidential candidates and the GOP’s leadership are also to blame, because so few strong voices have been raised in the GOP to insist that bigotry is NOT OKAY; And also they’ve been fomenting racist rage all these years with their simmering hate and their veiled “dog-whistle” phrases that only racists can hear.

Featured image: cc 2009 Woodley Wonderworks (with blue tint added).