Politics

Being Muslim American in 2016

Story by MJ Lee, Photos by Jeremy Moorhead

Updated 4:04 PM ET, Mon October 17, 2016
Share
1 david ramadan1 david ramadan
1 of 21
David Ramadan, former member of the Virginia House of delegates, lives in Dulles, Virginia. An Arab-American born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, in the middle of the civil war. Came to the US at the age of 19.

"As a conservative, I was absolutely distraught and offended that my party, the party of Reagan, the party of Lincoln, the true big tent, that aspired for a great America, has today nominated a candidate who is a bigot, racist, demagogue. That is something that I cannot take nor ever accept."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Bob Marro, 67, member of the board of trustees at the ADAMS Center, lives in Great Falls, Virginia. Converted to Islam after meeting his wife in Malaysia.

"I met the woman who would become my wife, and she was Muslim. She's Malay. As the relationship began to develop, I could learn more from her the exact practice. I had a great background in the theology and the foundation and the history, but the day-to-day practice I learned from her."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Hurunnessa Fariad, vice principal at ADAMS Radiant Hearts Academy, lives in Sterling, Virginia. Born in Uzbekistan.

"We have a few parents who are concerned... I tell them what I would tell my kids is that, you know, you're an American citizen, you were born here, raised here, you have rights just like everybody else. This is just a phase that were going through and I know that as Americans we're better than that."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Javeria Ahmed, teacher, mother to two children, lives in Sterling, Virginia. Born in Pakistan, undecided voter.

"At the end of the day, we're all the same. There is no difference. I think that is one thing that is concerning and alarming, because it is something new and you hear that and it's just like, oh, no, what is the future going to be like, especially for your kids."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Hossein Goal, 83, real estate investor and agent, lives in Northern Virginia.

"People are free to say whatever. We as a Muslim community have a responsibility to prove otherwise -- I think the intellect of the average American is beyond the rhetoric of what we are hearing."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Ipsita Salim, 24, student at Dakota State University. Born in Bangladesh and came to the U.S. when she was 3.

"I think being a Muslim in northern Virginia is probably a little bit easier than being a Muslim maybe some place else just because this area, it is very diverse. There's a comparatively larger concentration of Muslims here than there are in I'd say in other places. You really feel that once you even go maybe twenty miles, thirty miles out of this area. I always joke with my family that, 'Hey, guys we can never move anyplace else.' It's one of those bittersweet jokes."
Jeremy Moodhead/CNN
Shadaf Ahmad, 20, student at Northern Virginia Community College, lives in Woodbridge, Virginia. A Democrat who supported Bernie Sanders and is now backing Hillary Clinton.

"It's very simple: because Bernie Sanders is out of the elections now and Hillary Clinton seems like one of the great options I have right now. I really agree with Hillary Clinton's views. I believe that Hillary Clinton, she has a great trust for Muslims in America, and I believe in America that us as Muslims we can help make this nation move forward."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Rafi Uddin Ahmed, 54, born in Pakistan, came to the U.S. at the age of 14, lives in Woodbridge, Virginia. Independent and "undecided," supported John Kasich during the primaries.

"I remember when 9/11 happened, we received a call from the police chief at the time asking us whether if we're okay, if we feel safe or not. We received phone calls from area churches asking us whether if we feel safe or not."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Keith Ellison, Democratic congressman from Minnesota, first Muslim American elected to Congress.

"I've had more than one mom say, 'My kids are asking me whether we're going to be deported, whether we're going to be safe.' Teenage girls asking whether they should wear the hijab if they want to... It's really having a negative impact, but it's also motivating people to run for office and to vote, and I think that you're going to see a historic turnout."
Jeremy Moodhead/CNN
Ilhan Omar, Somali American candidate for Minnesota State Representative.

"When we first came to Minnesota, it was the start of the Somali community moving here and settling; it was beginning. I'm one of the first to see what that transition has looked like as more of us came here. We're a vibrant community, hard workers. We have educators; we have farmers; we have doctors; we're naturally nomads. We adapt pretty well in new settings.
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Abdirahman Kahin, owner of Afro Deli restaurant in Minneapolis. Came to the U.S. from Somalia in the 1990s. Leans Democrat and is supporting Hillary Clinton.

"We feel like we're double victims because number one, because as Americans we been affected by what happened, 9/11 because what these guys did. This affected me as an American. At the same time, other Americans see us as traitors."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Nahid Khan, born in London, lives north of Minneapolis. Voted for Bernie Sanders in the primaries and will vote for Hillary Clinton in November.

"I think I run into a lot of people who are embarrassed by Trump and are extra friendly toward me as a result."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Hamse Warfa, 37, born in Somalia, came to the U.S. as a teenager, lives in Savage, Minnesota. A social entrepreneur and author of "America Here I come: A Somali Refugee's Quest for Hope." Supporting Hillary Clinton.

"I have never thought I would hear my young daughter say, 'Dad, people were asking me about my scarf in the school.' Same school she's been going last year, the year before, but yet just before school closed she said young students were asking about, 'Hey, you Muslim? Why you have that thing on your hair?' She's turning 9 years old next week."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Shirwa Hassan Jipril, born in Somalia, granted settlement status by the U.S. government in 2007, retired. Supporting Hillary Clinton.

"American people... They are mostly compassionate people. They are friendly people. They are welcoming people... Some people don't understand. They understand that Muslims are violent people. That they are killers. That they support terrorists. Some people believe that. Most Muslims are not as they are being seen by many people."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Zamzam Ahmed, 22, born in Somalia, came to the U.S. at age 9, senior at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. Helps out at her mom's store at Karmel Square mall.

"Just not a fan of Hilary Clinton. I feel like a lot of the things she says are not sincere. I think she, and times it just seems like she'll say anything the opposite of what Trump says just to get those voters that Trump loses in a way."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Hasan Ozalp, born in Turkey, has lived on Staten Island for about 10 years. Has two children, 8 and 10, and his wife is originally from Albania. An independent who plans to vote for Hillary Clinton.

"(Hillary Clinton's) message (is) that we should unite, and her message that we should move forward. These are the messages the Muslim Americans are getting which is also helping her bringing those communities to her campaign."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Hesham El-Melingy, born in Egypt, lives on Staten Island. Co-founder of the founder of the Islamic Civic Association of Staten Island, ran for New York City Comptroller in 2013 as a Libertarian.

"We're between a rock and a hard place, Hillary with her records and Trump with his rhetoric, but most people are afraid of the rhetoric unfortunately more because Hillary didn't do something bad actually against them."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Tarek Wazzan, 41, born in Egypt, came to the U.S. in the 1990s, lives on Staten Island. Supported President Barack Obama twice, this year will probably vote for the Libertarian candidate.

"I don't take what he says seriously. What bothers me is what people who are listening to him are doing now, with what we're seeing, attacks on Muslims, people dying, you know. The effects of his words."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Samaira Kouser & Muhammad Saqib, both originally from Pakistan, Kouser moved to the U.S. when she was 12 and Saqib is in the process of becoming a citizen. They have three daughters. Kouser will vote for the first time for Hillary Clinton.

"I love America. This is my country... When I was growing up and my mom told me, 'Let's go back to our country.' I said, 'No, I don't want to go back.'"
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Haji Khan, 56, born in Pakistan, came to the U.S. in 1980, has lived on Staten Island for around 15 years and has five children. A Democrat likely to vote for Hilary Clinton.

"America was beautiful like the song you hear. America was more than beautiful paradise when I came to this land... They don't care about my color. They don't care about my face, my color, my talk, my accent. They don't care. They just love me to talk to me. They feed me. It was welcome people, beautiful people."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Amin Shehadeh, 47, Palestinian American, came to the U.S. in 1991, lives on Staten Island. Has five children and is expecting his first grandchild. Will vote for the first time for Hillary Clinton.

"I don't worry about (Trump). I don't think he could do that, but he just talk, he just talk. I don't think he going to be President."
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN