Start Content
normal font sizemedium font sizelarge font size Print Page

Pakistani-American Muslim brings campaign against ‘Islamophobia’ to Marin

Pakistani-American Muslim brings campaign against ‘Islamophobia’ to MarinPresident Donald Trump has told Americans that Muslims hate them, but a 58-year-old Muslim woman stood in front of a gathering at Whistlestop in San Rafael Tuesday as living proof comments like that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Wearing a head scarf as a symbol of her born-again Muslim faith, Moina Shaiq spoke to the group as part of the “Meet a Muslim” neighborhood meetings she started to counter the spike in hate crimes and widespread “Islamophobia” that has gripped the country, ignited during the recent election by Trump’s threat of a Muslim registry and Muslim immigration ban.

A wife, mother, grandmother and former computer saleswoman, Shaiq and her husband came to this country 40 years ago from Pakistan. She’s lived for the past 35 years in Fremont.

“I never imagined that after 40 years of living in America I would be reaching out to my fellow Americans,” she told the group. “I thought by now people would know who we are, but that’s not the case.”

She has spoken at some 71 events since she began speaking out after the San Bernardino shootings in 2015. Tuesday’s session was part of Whistlestop’s “World Religion Series.”

She brought up the most recent terrorist attack in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people in an apparent suicide bombing at a pop concert. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.

“For me, it’s a double-edged sword,” she said. “It’s not only that I’m sad that innocent lives have been lost, I’m also sad that people in the name of my faith are doing this. So it’s an uphill battle.”

Shaiq pointed out several times that there is nothing in her Muslim faith that calls for jihad or for a war against the West, as ISIS claims.

“When these people take their lives (suicide bombers), they think they are going to be martyrs, but that is not the case,” she said, noting that suicide is a major sin in the Islamic faith. “In fact there was a study that says 76 percent of ISIS recruits have minimal or no knowledge of Islam.”

During a trip to her native Pakistan two years ago, she spoke to countless Pakistanis whose family members were killed, “in front of their own eyes,” by U.S. drone attacks. Anti-American sentiment is being aroused not on religious grounds, she suggested, but because of the American war against terrorism.

“In 2015, the U.S. conducted drone attacks in Pakistan and in Yemen practically every single day, which we don’t ever hear about and don’t know,” she said. “I didn’t know. So these people who have no education, who have no money, who have no family members, who have nothing can be recruited by ISIS at the drop of a hat.”

She told the group of about 30 people that in the Afghanistan community in Fremont, where she lives, “Every single Afghani I’ve met so far has lost a father, a brother, a son, to the war. We all know there is a billion-dollar war machine in America that does not let the wars end.”

She said that “as citizens we need to take charge. We have a lot of power in our hands. But sadly, we don’t exercise that power.”

Asked how she counters the stereotype of Muslims as terrorists, she said, “I ask people if they think members of the KKK are Christians? I do not. So why do you allow ISIS to speak for all Muslims? They don’t follow Islam one bit. They are fighting for power and control. And they are a very small percentage of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today.”

« Back