SPOKANE, Wash. - Nearly a year ago, Donald Trump said if he was president he would call for a ban on Muslims coming to the United States, and those words are still resonating with Muslim-Americans now that he has won the presidency.
Ayesha Malik, a Muslim-American student in her last semester at Eastern Washington University, says she was shocked when Donald Trump was announced as the next president of the United States.
"I was scared," she said. "I"m fearful for people who look like me, people who pray like me."
Malik says she fears for the safety of Muslim-Americans, a minority that Trump has discussed extensively during his campaign.
"I'm scared of the hate crimes that will start to spike. There's already an 89% spike in hate crimes against Muslim-Americans," Malike said.
Admir Rasic is a Muslim-American who has been living in Spokane for the last 16 years. He says his family is also worried about how Trump's language could put them in danger.
"We've heard his rhetoric and some of that troubles us Muslim-Americans," Rasic said. "Specifically, calling for greater surveillance of mosques, imposing stricter restrictions on Muslims entering the United States, things of that nature."
But Malik and Rasic say there is hope for the country moving forward and that starts here on a local level, getting to know your neighbors.
"A lot of times, this divisive politics, fear mongering, happens because we don't know people who are unlike ourselves," Rasic said.
But, now that Donald Trump is president, members of the Muslim community say it's time to rally behind him, and help create a more unified nation.
"The only thing that we can do now is give him a chance," Malik said.
Malik volunteers with the Spokane Interfaith Council, which brings people of different religions together. She says the work is more important now than ever, and that residents in Spokane need to take an active role in better understanding our neighbors.
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