This election cycle has been notable for its preponderance of Islamophobic rhetoric. But just as notable have been the people who've stood up to that rhetoric with gestures that range from the grand, like repurposing a highway billboard to promote tolerance, to the personal, like writing an emotional blog post based on an intense firsthand experience.
On Sunday, Nate Terani — who is Muslim and a veteran — penned a viral blog post on online publication TomDispatch calling for the end of xenophobia, and, regardless of who you choose to vote for, its tenor is sure to resonate.
"In 1996, at age 19, wanting to help preserve the blessings of liberty and freedom we enjoy in America, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy," Terani wrote. "Now... I've come to feel that the values I sought to protect are in jeopardy."
Terani — whose grandparents emigrated from Iran — cleverly compared the theocratic fundamentalists from his family's country of origin and the way some in the U.S. are using the same divisive rhetoric.
The issue of Islamophobia is a personal one for Terani, who says he was bullied as a child because of his heritage. And now he's using his own experiences to warn about the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment on a national level.
"Nationalism and xenophobia have no place in American life, and I, for my part, don't think Donald Trump or anyone like him should be able to peddle Islamophobia in an attempt to undermine our national unity," Terani wrote. "Without Islamophobia, there no longer exists a 'clash of civilizations.' Without Islamophobia, whatever the problems in the world may be, there is no longer an 'us vs. them' and it's possible to begin reimagining a world of something other than perpetual war."
Since Terani published his blog post, several websites have picked it up and republished it as a celebration of his courageous stand against Islamophobia.