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South Dakota Muslims Protest and Vote

In a fine display of patriotism, young Muslims participated in the anti-bigotry protest here in Aberdeen Thursday. Another patriotic Muslim American, Sioux Falls lawyer Taneeza Islam, laments the discrimination against those young people and others who share her faith:

“I consider myself a second generation Muslim American. I was born to immigrant parents, born and raised in Mid-Michigan,” Islam said.

Since then she’s made Sioux Falls her home. Yet, for Islam, and many others, practicing the Muslim faith in today’s society means being subject to the many stereotypes that come with the title.

“I’ve faced discrimination my whole life,” Islam said, “I’ve never really felt 100 percent accepted in the different environments that I’ve been in.”

This year alone, a number of Muslim communities have been targeted… with dozens of mosques vandalized across the country, some in retaliation to terrorist strikes in other parts of the world.

“It makes me really sad. I’m an American. I was born and raised here, I pledge allegiance to the flag, I sing the national anthem, I pay my taxes, I cut my lawn and make sure the city ordinances are followed. It doesn’t make sense,” Islam said [Calah Kelly, “Being a Muslim in Sioux Falls,” KELO-TV, 2016.10.21].

At a panel discussion last weekend, attorney Islam encouraged her Muslim neighbors to do something else patriotic—vote:

Taneeza Islam, KSFY screen cap, 2016.101.16
Just another South Dakotan, encouraging everyone to vote. (screen cap from KSFY, 2016.10.16)

Everyone at the event was given the opportunity to register to vote and apply for absentee ballots.

“I think it’s important for everyone to get involved in this election,” immigration attorney Taneeza Islam said. “I think there are some really hard choices for us to make as a community and as individual” [“Sioux Falls Muslim Community Encouraged to Vote,” KSFY, 2016.10.16].

The teenagers protesting bigotry on the street in Aberdeen are mostly too young to vote. But they are doing what all Muslims, all minorities, and all South Dakotans should be doing: speaking up for liberty, justice, and opportunity for all. Muslims of voting age, bring those young people’s voice to the polls and vote for candidates who stand up for the equal rights of all Americans.


  1. Roger Cornelius 2016-10-22 10:46

    khizr Khan is starring in what maybe the final ad of the Hillary campaign, it is one of the strongest and emotional political ads I’ve ever seen.

  2. mike from iowa 2016-10-22 10:52

    Muslim American lives are, at the very least, as mattering as any other lives. The constitution sez so.

  3. Porter Lansing 2016-10-22 12:55

    This is where a good scapegoat comes in. “That’s something Trump creates very well: There’s us – real Americans – then there are Muslims and immigrants,” “Fascist governments have risen in times of economic change because they offer simple answers to complicated personal questions. And one of the most popular ways people can have certainty is by pointing to a villain to blame things on.”

  4. MC 2016-10-22 15:47

    Let’s be perfectly clear, we are talking about EQUAL rights. Not granting special privileges to various people.

    Every United States citizen has the right to vote. Every United States citizens have the right to contact their representative. They do not have the right to kill another because they felt justified, or the right to sacrifice a virgin in the name of their God.

    Become informed of the issues. And V O T E! and contact those elected, let them know how you feel.

  5. mike from iowa 2016-10-22 16:08

    They do not have the right to kill another because they felt justified,

    Are you speaking out against the George Zimmerman’s of the world? How about “Stand Your Ground” laws?

    How about targeting abortionists with guns and bombs?

    Don’t forget cops killing unarmed blacks.

    These people have killed more innocents than all the “honor” killings Muslims have done in America.

    While we are about this, the way some Muslims act is the very thing they get accused of, even the children before they get settled in America.

  6. 96Tears 2016-10-22 18:01

    If Muslims quoted Gov. Mike Pence saying “I’m a Muslim, a moderate and an independent. In that order,” would it be considered Islamic Extremism? Would their heads explode?

  7. 96Tears 2016-10-22 18:05

    If Rep. Keith Ellison said “I’m a Muslim, a progressive and a Democrat. In that order,” would he deemed a security threat every time he entered the U.S. Capitol?

  8. MC 2016-10-22 18:48

    I suppose it is okay for drug cartels to kill off cops or politicians who get in their way of ‘business’ or for gangs to break into a home of a family rape and kill everyone because they are of ‘privilege’

    Or the woman who get hit by her husband just one time to many? That is okay because he is her husband?

    Young girls and guys are being sold and shipped like animals for the sex trade. Coyotajes smuggle workers across the border, and 10% loss is acceptable.

    This is happening right now in the UNITED STATES, and you’re okay with this? I’m not! This has to stop!

    You want to make a difference. Do what Cory did, and run for office!
    This is our, as in yours mine, everyone’s mess, and we need to clean it up. I’ve stepped up, Cory’s stepped up, John Koch has stepped up. Are you ready to step up and do your part?

  9. mike from iowa 2016-10-22 19:13

    You could answer those questions yourself. What do they have to do with Muslims wanting a new life in South Dakota?

    America is the safest it has ever been. What are you people so afraid of. You have enough guns to fend off every army in history and you are scared to death of Muslim women and children.

    As for my part, I will vote your party out of office and vote to keep them out.

  10. MC 2016-10-22 21:27

    It is not Musilims or Islam that is the problem. We welcome others of different faiths, Islam, Wicca, Buddist even those with no faith. The problem start when members of one faith force their faith on others. When members of Islam start randomly killing others, in the name of their God. or when Christens take members of other faith and burn them at the stake, in a effort to cleanse them.

    How can we tell the terrorist from the non-terrorists? Not all Musilims are terrorists. How can we tell the difference?

  11. jerry 2016-10-22 21:31

    We vet them MC, we spend a terrific amount of time and resources to check on the folks that want to come to this country as refugees. That is how. We do not eliminate them because of their faith, their gender or their ethnic background. We thoroughly check these folks out before they enter. Here is a report showing the process, could you pass this?

  12. Roger Cornelius 2016-10-22 22:41

    “How can we tell the terrorists from the non-terrorists? Not all Muslims are terrorists. How can we tell the difference”?
    MC, how can we tell the Trump followers that are threatening a revolution is he loses from the Trump followers that peaceful, if there are any.
    MC, there are horrors in every country of the world, some are obvious while some are not.
    This country has an epidemic with domestic violence that keeps law enforcement too busy.
    A toddler is wounded or killed every other day by guns.
    South Dakota with all their family values has some 7,000 untested rape kits gathering dust in Pierre. That shows no respect for the women that were assaulted.
    American men kill their wives or girlfriends just as Muslims do, perhaps more often.
    Personally, living in western South Dakota I have more fear of being assaulted by the radical anti-government groups hiding behind white sheets.
    I too condemn the ugliest parts of the Muslim religion, but I can keep it in perspective and relate to the hate in America.
    It is all relative when you think about it.

  13. mike from iowa 2016-10-23 06:57

    MC,we agree on one thing- It is not Musilims or Islam that is the problem

    The problem is people on the right being driven by fear. Donald Drumpf and his white nationalist buds are the propblem. They want Americans to fear everyone whose skin color is not theirs.

    They claim to be kristian,but their actions are in direct contradiction of your lord and saviour’s teachings.

    Whad’ya mean there ain’t no pics od Drumpf going to church?

  14. jerry 2016-10-23 07:15

    mfi, There is a worry about allowing Drumpf under the roof of the church. The fear is that punkin head may meet up with Billy Bush there and..well you know. Actions speak louder than words and pretty quick there may be more than talk about you know what. Better that he just go and worship at the casino in front of his money God.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-23 11:35

    MC, the crimes you enumerate have nothing to do with the voting rights and equality lawyer Taneeza Islam is promoting or the hate rallies that my young Aberdeen neighbors are protesting.

    You are correct to note that no group has the right to use the force of law to impose its religion on others. That’s why it’s so important that we defend the First Amendment’s separation of church and state, so that no matter which religion enjoys a majority at the polls or in Congress or on the city council, no faith is given a state-sanctioned place of privilege… because if the city starts painting Wicca spells on its snowplows, I will go ape.

  16. Donald Pay 2016-10-23 12:19

    Tanezza Islam was born of immigrant parents in the USA. So was my mother.

    My mother was German. We fought two World Wars against Germany. She was a teen during the Second World War. How could we tell that my mother wasn’t a Hitler sympathizer and likely to commit some act of sabotage? Should all the German Americans have been suspected of being fascists? We did round up the Japanese and interred them in camps, because we thought they might be sympathetic to Japan’s cause. We look back on that now as one of the worst chapters of American history, right up there with genocide of Native Americans and with slavery.

    History proves we are stronger together. The German American farmers in Iowa grew the crops that enabled us to feed ourselves during WWII. There were very, very few German Americans who committed any sort of act against our country, just as there are very, very few Muslim Americans who commit any acts of terrorism here. Judging everyone in a group by the acts of a few individuals is anti-American.

  17. Porter Lansing 2016-10-23 12:27

    Good one, Mr. Pay ?

  18. mike from iowa 2016-10-23 12:54

    German POWS from a camp near Mason City, iowa helped build the Grotto of the Redemption at West Bend. No terrorism or booby traps.

    Some of them stayed in iowa after the war and raised holy corn and soybeans.

  19. Caliref 2016-10-25 16:16

    The simple reason why this blog sympathizes with phantom discrimination against Muslims is you all were raised to on a daily diet of good old American Wall Street ads on television. Since the 1960’s I’ve known the dangers of emotional advertising. In those days it was frowned upon. Not today. So that Clinton ad gets you in the gut, doesn’t it? American TV ads are “feel good” and also manipulate your emotions.

    “The Dangerous Power of Emotional Advertising – Emotions, rather than cognitive thinking, have a more profound impact on our actions; create lasting, instinctual impressions; and actually predispose us to follow the same course of action in the future. For brands, this is an incredibly powerful piece of information, and many are capitalizing on it by creating emotional ads designed to go straight for the gut. Emotional ads aren’t merely images and slogans that try to educate and persuade viewers. They strategically manipulate consumers’ feelings and stimulate the emotional triggers that influence how we make decisions.”

    Mr. Kahn is a slick immigration attorney who works to bring Muslim, and only Muslim, immigrants to our country. He took his website down right after the alternative press discovered he is also a big Clinton donor and works for the Saudis.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-25 17:21

    Well, that comment is loaded with non-refutatory code words.

    “phantom discrimination”? Wait, are you saying discrimination against Muslims doesn’t exist? that the bigotry we see isn’t happening? or it’s happening, but it’s not really discrimination but… what, patriotism? Christian kindness?

    “emotional impact”—yes, the ad is emotional, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

    Accusations on Khan an immigration law: really? Show us the non-Breitbart evidence. I haven’t seen one non-Breitbart screaming source establishing the claims you assert here. Enlighten us. (And claiming that all the press is rigged except for the websites you read will get you ignored immediately.)

  21. jerry 2016-10-25 18:32

    Caliref was a “Madmen” devotee. That was a scripted series, it was not real.

  22. Darin Larson 2016-10-25 19:34

    You notice that Caliref doesn’t actually attempt to contradict Khan with regard to his criticism of Donald Trump. Caliref just resorts to a personal attack like a good Breitbart disciple should do. The Khan’s are true American heroes. They are an immigrant family who adopted our country as their own and loved it enough to die for it.

    Khan’s gave money to the Clinton campaign? Ummmm, they spoke for Clinton on national TV at the Democratic National Convention! No kidding, they support HRC!

    Caliref is the first person I have ever heard describe Khazir Khan as “slick.” This is a guy that clearly speaks with an accent and carries a copy of the Constitution in his pocket. He speaks with the righteousness and dignity earned by a man whose son died for our country. Respect is what he and his family deserve.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-25 20:58

    Good job recognizing the distraction, Darin. Khan’s critique stands: what place does a patriotic Muslim-American soldier have in Trumpist America?

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