These room the story of dedicated public servants that have faced discrimination and also found expect in the work they do every job on behalf the American people.

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Today, chairman Obama made his very first visit come a mosque in America. Speak at the Islamic culture of Baltimore, that said:

“At a time as soon as others are trying come divide us along currently of faith or sect, we need to reaffirm that most basic of truths—we are all god’s children, all born same with inherent dignity. So often we focus on outward differences, us forget exactly how much we share.”

The Muslim neighborhood is a relatively small one in America. For many people, the only methods they hear about Muslims and also the Islamic belief is from the news, frequently after a terrorist attack, or from derogatory political rhetoric the blames the entire Muslim-American ar for the violent plot of a few.

But that is not that Muslim american are. Castle helped build our nation. Castle teach our children, they take treatment of us as patients, they save our homeland safe. They room laid to rest in Arlington nationwide Cemetery after ~ they"ve provided their really last to protect the country they loved.

Today, they occupational for president Obama in the White House. These room the stories of devoted public servants who have confronted discrimination and also found hope in the civilization they work alongside and the occupational they perform every job on behalf of the American people.

Rumana AhmedAdvisor come Deputy national Security torture Ben Rhodes

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Rumana Ahmed, advisor to Deputy national Security torture Ben Rhodes (Photo by Kelly Jo Smart)

I to be born and raised in Maryland, not too much from D.C. Cultivation up, i played basketball, love traveling and hanging v my family and also friends, just like any kind of other kid. But after the heinous attacks on 9/11, being a head-covering 8th grader would certainly no much longer be the same. There to be days once my identification as a Muslim American ended up being a struggle – i was glared at, cursed and also spit in ~ in public and also in school. It to be the tenets of my faith, the ideals that this country, the encouragement of those approximately me, and also the determination to have actually my voice heard that lugged me through and gave me the courage to go after public service. Ns learned through hardship, the every an obstacle is in fact an chance to come to be stronger. Never ever would I have actually imagined together a young girl that was when mocked and called names the I’d finish up functioning at the White residence wearing a hijab in the West Wing.

Hearing the political discourse and also hateful language definitely has negative consequences, yet it is likewise the spark that has actually empowered me and others like me come speak up and work together in methods we might not have actually before.

That kind of ability to get over any an obstacle is the attitude I take toward the level of anti-Muslim rhetoric we’re see today. This nation has overcome and also continues to effort to get over every challenge, no matter just how long it takes. The polite Rights motion proves that. Civilization had to struggle and suffer to occupational together and also raise their voices come bring around change. Listening the political discourse and also hateful language absolutely has negative consequences, however it is additionally the spark that has actually empowered me and also others prefer me come speak up and work with each other in methods we might not have actually before. My enthusiasm has constantly been in an international social entrepreneurship and also empowerment the women and also their voices and I am proud to have actually been able to occupational on these worries here in ~ the White House. It to be the President"s blog post of expect and change that motivated me to go after an internship at the White House, and also it to be interning in Correspondence and reading letters that do me establish how important every voice was, including those that Muslim Americans.

I think if you work-related hard and also if you play through the rules, you deserve to make it if you shot in America -- no issue who you are or just how you pray. It"s how a young girl -- once mocked and also called surname -- can pursue her dream and also proudly serve her nation as a head-covering Bengali Muslim American mrs in the White House.

Aadil GinwalaAssistant director for education & Telecommunications creation in the Office of scientific research and an innovation Policy

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Aadil Ginwala, Assistant director for education & Telecommunications development in the Office of science and an innovation Policy (Photo through Kelly Jo Smart)

I feeling honored and also deeply privileged to obtain to offer in the White House, for this country I love so much. However I feel specifically privileged to work-related for president Obama, who I have actually felt, since his decided in the 2004 democratic Convention in Boston, has this uncanny way of saying specifically what i feel and believe, only far better than I could have claimed it myself. And also I love the there is a generation of children, plenty of of whom are currently 10 and 11 year old, for whom a black color President called Barack Hussein Obama is in no method strange or a stretch that the imagination.

But even with the development we’ve made, the reality is that, as wonderful as America is, anyone who is "different" in some means has most likely experienced discrimination at some allude or another. Because that me personally, together a young man before 9/11 the most usual thing ns would suffer is that, somehow, I almost always gained "randomly" selected for the extra bag check and also security check at the plane every time ns flew. This also happened (on October 11, 2001) as soon as I was at JFK airport ideal after 9/11 prepare to leaving for West Africa to offer in the tranquility Corps. Thirty-five of us volunteers were every checking in together with every one of our equipment -- yet I was the one that obtained asked to step aside while a armed forces member searched my bags. Ironically, i feel a lot far better at airports today because the security screening that most of us find annoying is at least used even-handedly and also based on rules and also evidence-based indicators. At the very least these job if I gain extra scrutiny, the does not feel like it is because I am gift profiled.

I have actually a three-year old boy and also I had hoped, once I was cultivation up, the by the time he went with school, gift Muslim would certainly not feel so "weird" and also "different" because that him together it did because that me -- the he would certainly not have actually as much explaining come do.

For my family, the scariest point was in 2008 once the FBI showed up to my parent"s house unannounced and also asked come come in come ask part questions. Lock asked about my parents" travel to Mumbai, India (where we are from) and also then they asked around my parents" spiritual community, mosque, and friends. It really shook my household to be questioned in that way -- they to be afraid, and embarrassed, and also felt really unsafe. This has happened to a many Muslim Americans, however when it occurred to us, us felt really alone and also my household lost a most sleep over it.

That’s why the vitriolic language in today’s politics discourse renders me shake mine head. I feel like people are gift manipulated, the opportunists room taking advantage of the truth that in a time through so much uncertainty because that so many Americans it is easy to grab in ~ visceral fears and also say "those other human being are the trouble -- hate and fear them." ns am not so worried about myself, however I worry and also fear a an excellent deal for the Muslim American kids in elementary, middle, and also high college who are currently struggling (as all kids do) to define their many identities and also who cannot aid but feel that there space those in America who could hate castle for who they are. I have a three-year old boy and I had actually hoped, as soon as I was growing up, the by the moment he went v school, being Muslim would not feeling so "weird" and "different" because that him together it did for me -- that he would not have actually as much explaining to do. Currently I have to add the hope the he will certainly not feel hated. The is the heart-breaking thing as a parent.

Alefiyah MesiwalaSenior plan Advisor in health care for the National financial Council

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Alefiyah Mesiwala, senior Policy advisor in healthcare for the National economic Council (Photo through Kelly Jo Smart)

As a doctor in windy service, i have had the privilege that taking treatment of world from all walks of life -- and I have actually appreciated that regardless that background, socioeconomic status, religion, etc., us all are associated by our basic desire to it is in human, to it is in happy and healthy, and to have actually a fulfilling and also productive life. I take good pride in this work.

I also take good pride in the reality that i am a Muslim American. However as Muslim American, I have actually experienced discrimination both in obvious and subtle ways. Ns have had actually the experience of gaining threatening hate calls and individuals speak offensive points in response to my religious affiliation. And while this incidents have actually been emotionally upsetting, I have been able come rationalize those occurrences as a reaction by those ~ above the edge who are being manipulated through what castle see and hear on television. What I discover most daunting is the subtle discrimination I face as a Muslim American, as a women, and as a person-of-color every day. I have to work extra difficult to make sure others approximately me identify me an initial and foremost as a proud American serving she country together with other facets that myself.

America provided my parents possibility to provide my siblings and me a better life. I was taught to worth its freedoms and also pay-it-forward.

That’s why the present rhetoric against Muslim Americans makes me therefore mad, especially the discourse that somehow cases that we space "un-American" in our values. Together immigrants, my parental made much effort to make sure that we had an evaluation of our past heritage and also an expertise of ours faith; however, they instilled in my siblings and also me a an excellent sense the pride and gratitude in gift American. America offered my parents chance to offer my siblings and also I a far better life. I was taught to value its freedoms and pay-it-forward. To have actually my patriotism and also my dedication come this country questioned because of my confidence disrupts my feeling of belonging.

However, during my last few years working in government and also at the White House, I have seen the strength the President’s leadership has actually in bringing civilization from all various disciplines with each other to work in government and solve challenging problems. It has been such a satisfying suffer to job-related with a diverse group the smart, dedicated colleagues who daily are trying to make this country and the civilization a better place.

Manar WaheedDeputy plan Director for immigrant at The White House residential Policy Council

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Manar Waheed, Deputy manager for immigrant (Photo by Kelly Jo Smart)

Unfortunately, mine family and also I have experienced discrimination and also xenophobia many of ours lives. Ns was born in Texas and spent many of mine childhood in a small city, wherein we had actually to travel three hrs just to obtain a major city with a Muslim population. A the majority of the differentiate I challenged growing up was no ill-intentioned or deliberate; it to be a absence of exposure or understanding. Together I moved right into my adult life, ns think ns became an ext aware of it and it likewise became much more prevalent and also frankly, much more ill-intentioned. I’ve been told to go ago to my nation or dubbed a terrorist more times than I can even count. I’ve confronted bigotry, stereotypes, and also mistreatment in location of employment, whereby I’m treated differently, mischaracterized, or my capability is questioned since of my confidence or due to the fact that of what ns look like.

I’ve challenged bigotry, stereotypes, and also mistreatment in location of employment, wherein I’m cure differently, mischaracterized, or my ability is questioned due to the fact that of my belief or since of what i look like.

The painful language we hear now from too countless political leaders is not brand-new to me. However what is new to me is the level that acceptability and also the assistance for these statements. We have reached a new low when civilization publicly support these statements and see no not correct in them. The true, we offered to live in a time of political correctness when civilization knew what no to say. But, at least they knew those statements were wrong. It’s heartbreaking come see people stand by when others shot to take united state backwards indigenous the development we’ve made. That violates everything that I recognize America come be, whatever we have been historically, and everything we deserve to be.

This is why i have operated on social justice concerns most of mine career and went to law school with that intention. I spent countless years assisting women survivors of abuse. Provided my background and also the truth that i speak Spanish, the majority of my clients were immigrants and several the them were Muslim. Evil the injustice that my clients confronted on a day-to-day basis and the methods in which several of our solution required adjust to really benefit the people who necessary them most, I chose to relocate to DC and change over to plan advocacy. Advocacy wake up in so plenty of forms, indigenous the inside out and from the peak to the bottom. There is great value in all opportunities for change and ns truly believe that we must pursue adjust at every edge in order to accomplish it. If ever there to be a time the I want to pursue change from the within -- when I thought that change was really possible -- it is under this President.

Fatima NoorPolicy Assistant for Immigration policy & landscape Affairs in ~ The White House residential Policy Council

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Fatima Noor, plan Assistant for Immigration policy & rural Affairs at The White House residential Policy board of directors (Photo by Kelly Jo Smart)

I to be born in Somalia, however mostly what i remember space flashes of a carefree child, happy unaware of the world past the Utanga refugee Camp in Kenya. About half a mile from ours UNHCR-issued blue time was the fence that surrounded the camp. Beyond the fence was an unlimited blue horizon the ocean. If friend stood close enough, top top the slight precipice prior to the fence, you might see where the beach welcomed the waves. I never saw any type of people under there, however sometimes ns would catch the vision of boats with colorful sails drifting out to sea.

Soon, due to a mix of wildfires and overpopulation, ours camp was ordered come shut down. Mine family, like numerous others, challenged tough decisions. One was whether to return to Somalia in the height of civil war. Another was whether to send their tiny child -- me -- come live v a loved one in a far-off land in really hopes of far better opportunities.

On our last day at the camp, i watched my parents and brother sail turn off in one of the colorful boats shuttling the numerous faces -- men, women, and children -- who once lived in this camp, ago to Somalia. Ns was sent out to live in Denmark. In the early 2000s, my dad made his method out the Somalia, alone. He involved the United states as a refugee. He lived in Texas, but driving trucks gave him the possibility to check out America’s frontiers: from the snowy Northwest come the humid Southeast. He chose to settle in the latter, and also started the paperwork to carry my mother and also brothers from Somalia and me from Denmark.

We all stood, elevated our appropriate hands and recited the Oath the Allegiance: “I hereby declare, on oath, that ns absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and also fidelity to any kind of foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or i m sorry I have actually heretofore been a subject or citizen; the I will certainly support and also defend the Constitution and laws that the United states of America against all enemies, foreign and also domestic; the I will certainly bear true faith and also allegiance to the same…”

In 2005, my totality family reunited in our brand-new home: Memphis, Tennessee. Us soon adjusted to southern living (and yummy Memphis barbecue). We bought a home down by the Mississippi River. My brother even attended the same center school together Elvis Presley. I i graduated from the college of Memphis.

On the morning of April 29, 2013, we returned to the same auditorium where I had actually received mine high institution diploma a couple of years earlier. Us all stood, increased our ideal hands and recited the Oath of Allegiance: "I hereby declare, top top oath, that i absolutely and also entirely renounce and also abjure every allegiance and fidelity to any type of foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of who or which I have actually heretofore been a topic or citizen; the I will support and defend the Constitution and also laws of the United says of America against all enemies, foreign and also domestic; that I will certainly bear true faith and also allegiance come the same..."

That"s why it has actually been so disheartening to have actually my intentions and allegiance questioned once I have twice take away an oath to “support and defend the constitution of the united States” -- very first as brand-new U.S. Citizen, then as a windy servant. I have been suffering hateful assaults on society media not only directed at my Muslim heritage and also refugee lift but likewise aimed to threaten my service to this country. These attacks have, at times, made me reflect much more deeply on who I am as an American yet have additionally made me appreciate that in spite of the visibility of this hateful rhetoric, I have the right to proudly offer at the highest possible level of our government.

In mine current duty I to be deeply associated in our Administration"s initiatives to welcome and integrate refugees and also immigrants from around the world. A couple of years ago, the President claimed this in ~ the naturalization ceremony: “The straightforward idea of welcoming immigrant to our shores is central to our means of life -- that is in our DNA. We believe our diversity, our differences, as soon as joined with each other by a common set of ideals, provides us stronger, provides us more creative, provides us different. From every these different strands, we make something new here in America.”

This is why, every day, ns am humbled to offer in an management that honors ours American values of respecting different faiths and backgrounds, in an administration that strives to it is in as varied as the nation it serves.

Raheemah AbdulaleemAssociate basic Counsel in the Office the Administration

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Raheemah Abdulaleem, Associate general Counsel in the Office of administration (Photo by Kelly Jo Smart)

I was raised in Philadelphia, PA and attended public school there. My parents to be both educators with the Philadelphia publicly schools and instilled in me and my siblings a thirst for knowledge and respect for others. These character traits opened up doors for me to to visit Ivy league universities because that college and law school, take trip abroad, and pursue a career as an attorney. Yet, together a Muslim woman that is likewise African American, I have actually been reminded transparent my life that ns may face challenges and also hostility because of mine race, faith, and also gender.

I became a public maid in 2009 when I join the justice Department"s polite Rights division as a senior Trial Attorney. Once I an initial joined the polite Rights division under the leadership of Assistant Attorney general Thomas Perez, we undertook a comprehensive mission come let Americans recognize that the civil Rights division was "open because that business" and also we were ready to bring cases to protect the civil rights of all. Sadly, my occupational also permitted me to watch first-hand the an outcome of hateful rhetoric similar to what we are witnessing this day in the form of hate crime prosecutions, housing discrimination cases and also employment discrimination cases carried by Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and also others.

The heckler had actually no method of learning that i was born and raised in Philadelphia to a household whose history in this nation is together old as the country itself.

One endure that sticks the end in my very own life took ar when ns moved below to Washington ~ the President’s election. While walking not much from mine office in downtown DC, a male yelled in ~ me from his vehicle "go back to her country." that apparently claimed that ns was no American due to the fact that I wore a hijab (a traditional headscarf worn by part Muslim women). The heckler had no method of discovering that i was born and raised in Philadelphia to a family members whose history in this country is as old as the country itself. He to be unaware of mine family’s contributions to both building and also defending our great country. Tiny did he know that my family, perhaps like his, includes teachers, college administrators, lawyers, nurses, writers, transportation workers, and several members that the armed Services (one that whom to be awarded a Presidential Unit Citation because that his organization during human being War II).

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I would certainly have delighted in the opportunity to communicate the heckler and also share v him mine experiences as a senior Trial attorney in the justice Department’s Civil rights Division, front to arriving at the executive Office the the President. Maybe he may have been interested in a situation I brought on instead of of a jail guard that was sexually harassed by his female supervisor. Or, a Muslim woman that was denied a spiritual accommodation to go on Hajj. I could have likewise related my work-related in advocating because that the civil liberties of college police police officers who wished to observe their faith while at job-related by attract beards. Or, he might have uncovered comfort in knowing around my occupational on a disparate impact case that assisted improve the Fire department of brand-new York by ending decades of employment based discrimination practices versus Latinos and African Americans. Muslim americans have and continue to carry out support to this nation in so plenty of arenas.