In Solidarity With Orlando: Freedom and Justice For All

Vigil for Orlando victims in St. Louis, Missouri
Vigil for Orlando victims in St. Louis, Missouri

Today we mourn the tragedy of so many senseless deaths in Orlando. Our hearts and prayers are with all of the families who are suffering right now.

In the wake of horrific events like the Orlando massacre, fear is an understandable reaction. We want to call out an enemy and protect our families from harm. Unfortunately such fears often lead us to blame whole categories of innocent people who want nothing but the best for us. Our unfair treatment of people who happen to share similar skin color, country of birth or religion with a terrorist likely accomplishes nothing except the disappointment and alienation of our allies.

On social media today, we have witnessed an outpouring of love. The hateful act of one man has brought many of us together in expressing compassion. We have also seen a vocal minority expressing hateful sentiments regarding all Muslims and the LGBT community.

If the Orlando madman, Omar Mateen, carried out this act in cooperation with a terrorist group – and so far there is little evidence that this is the case – then the Islamic community-at-large still carries no guilt for this tragedy. The murderer and any affiliated terrorist group are the only ones deserving of blame.

I found this Muslim man’s perspective on the massacre to be one worth sharing:

My name is Mahmoud, and I am a proud Muslim American who lives in Orlando. Yes, I donated blood even though I can’t eat or drink anything because I’m fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, just as hundreds of other Muslims did here today.

Yes, I am angry about what happened last night, for all of the innocent lives lost. Yes, I’m sad, frustrated and mad that a crazy guy who claimed to be a Muslim did that shameful act.

Yes, I witnessed the greatness of this country as thousands of people stood in line in 92 degree sun to donate blood, even though they were told they would have to wait 5-7 hours. Yes, this is the greatest country on earth as I watched people of all ages, including kids, hand out food, water, umbrellas and sunblock to those waiting in line. Next our old veterans came in to donate, and next to them Muslim women in hijab volunteered to pass out food and water to those in line.

Yes, together we will stand against hate, terrorism, racism and extremism. Yes, our community in Central Florida is heartbroken but let’s put our colors, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations and politics aside so we can UNITE against those who are trying to hurt us.

Mahmoud’s message is relevant to too many in our immigrant communities. Racism and intolerance are still problems for all of our minority groups. Individuals who deserve our respect are targeted and blamed for the misconceptions we hold against whole categories of people. We want to wall people out of our country because of where they were born, even though most of us would find compassion in our hearts if we knew them as real, individual people with broken hearts that remain full of hopes and dreams.

As we seek to become the best nation we can be, let us leave our categorical judgements behind. Let us progress into a nation that is known for our wisdom and understanding rather than our prejudices. Let us become the melting pot we have long been rumored to be. Let us be a nation where people are proud to speak with an accent, worship as they believe and love who they want. If we are a nation that believes in freedom, then we must also be a nation that practices respect and tolerance for all – even those with whom we disagree or dislike. United, we are stronger.

At our office, we welcome all who need help to make their dreams come true. Our highly experienced team of immigration law specialists is here to make sure your transition to this country is as smooth and easy as possible. Please contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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