My Dad 8/15/1948-5/3/2008

You probably came to this blog today to find fun things to do with your family during this holiday season. And on any other day, you’d probably find just that. But not today. Today I have something else to say.

I generally try to keep this blog light-hearted. I purposely stay away from controversial topics so as not to alienate readers. Because no matter what views you hold, I believe we share a common denominator–a love for our children. And that’s what this blog is really about.

But when I sat down this evening to start working on this weekend’s event listing, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Sometimes there are just more important things to talk about.

Instead, I’d like to tell you about my father. A Muslim, who immigrated to this country after facing religious and ethnic intolerances in his home country. His story is my own. And I’m proud to tell it.

My father put himself through MIT and devoted his considerable talents to the field of aerospace engineering. His contributions still strengthen our country’s defenses today. He married a Christian woman, and raised his children to understand both religions–so we would be open-minded enough to see common truths across faiths. He was well-respected in our community and loved by Jews and Christians, whites and blacks, rich and poor, straight and gay. By all accounts, he preached and practiced tolerance, peace and love. And he was an American–just like you and me.

Today I remembered my father’s story and felt anger. Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering this country is an outrage to my father and to the millions of Muslims like him–men and women who came here to build honest and decent lives for themselves and their families.

And I felt fear. For what’s next? Will Trump’s statement elicit backlash for innocent Muslims living in this country? Will it stir up even more anger amongst extremists who don’t need another reason to hate us? If Trump gets elected, will my family or others be punished for our Muslim heritage? Will the Latinos be next? The Jews? Blacks? Women?

And I felt sad. Because polls seem to show that a considerable portion of our country agrees with this hateful bigotry. How have we fallen this far?

If you presume to clump all Muslims into one extremist bunch, I don’t believe this blog post will change your mind. In fact, I bet you’ll never visit this blog again.

But if you believe in teaching your children to see a different way forward–a path for this country that’s based on the value of religious tolerance, cultural diversity and the fundamental equality of all people–you will always have an ally in me.

Because that’s the kind of American my father taught me to be.

Hope in the face of hatred. How will we teach our children to see this country?
How will we teach our children to see this country?
© Copyright 2015 Nadine Champsi, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog
Nadine Champsi

Nadine Champsi

I am a doctor turned write-at-home-mom who runs the Pittsburgh Mommy Blog and is editor of Kidsburgh. I have two wonderful young children and am happily married. My interests include cooking, green-living, gardening, being in the outdoors, listening to great music, checking out the city's cool art, coming up with creative things to do with my kids, and having as many adventures as I can!
Nadine Champsi

17 Comments on For My Father: A Muslim Immigrant and a Fellow American

  1. PREACH! I’m with you, mama…it’s insanity he’s ranting and I pray the voters in our country will see his bigotry for what it is. Thanks for having the courage to post…

  2. Thank you! We need more people in this world like you, who are willing and able to speak out. God Bless you and your family!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I am a teacher. In recent years we have gained many Muslim families. They are all wonderful. I fear for my students and their families. I fear for their safety, physical and mental, as the rhetoric in this country turns more and more hateful.

  4. I’m not a Trump supporter, but I believe he said he would ban them from entering until we got a grip on the problem we have now of potential terrorists coming in without the proper vetting systems in place. Not permanently. That actually makes since. Especially after the recent attack where the woman was allowed in with a “fiancĂ© visa” even though she lied about her residence. The media spins things. People who listened to what he said understand that he isn’t banning all Muslims forever, for no reason.

  5. By the way I have nothing against Muslims. I would just like to hear someone come up with a better plan to protect us & keep future terrorists out. The current system is broken. It’s already been said by top military/intellegence officials. We have hundreds if not thousands of radicals living in the U.S. today (some homegrown) & we are supposed to just bring in up to 100,000 more refugees without knowing who they are, where they are coming from & their history? What is your opinion? How would you deal with it if you had control?

  6. Thank you for sharing your family’s story and for your honesty about how painful this time in our country is. Reading your words, for the first time in the last 24 hrs since hearing Mr Trump’s awful proclamation I was able to finally cry..,from sadness, from anger, and from disappointment. When hatred becomes a rallying cry all mothers should worry…and act. If my husband and I raise children even half as curious, creative and obviously intelligent as your father did we will be proud. I hope with all I have that this season of fear and hate ends soon.

  7. I am on your side.. After all we are humans ..
    Should follow the principle of live and let live others..

  8. I’m Muslim and lived in the USA for 5 years. I’ve known so many loving people, open minded and trying to make this world a better place, for their families, themselves and others. You are one of them, it just happen that I’ve known you just virtually :) I’m sure Trump and his fellows will never outnumber the beautiful people in the US. Thank you for your all the efforts that you’re doing and God bless you.

  9. Thank you for sharing this! It is an important message that needs to be shared, to help address the awful noise in our country right now. Best wishes to you and your family!

  10. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling–what so many Muslims in America must be feeling. It’s like the Holocaust in America. It’s a witch hunt bred from fear and intolerance. I won’t lie in that I’m terrified for my children, but I don’t have the answer. I don’t know how to change the hate in someone else’s heart. All we can do is teach and practice kindness. And you’re doing that right here, friend. xo