A young Muslim woman has written an eloquent response to Donald Trump's support for a system tracking Muslims in America, saying if he walked in her shoes, "you can see that I am not any less human than you are."
Marwa Balkar, 22, from Corona, California, took to Facebook on Nov. 20 to address the notion of Muslims potentially having to carry special IDs supported by the Republican presidential hopeful, saying she had an idea for what the badge would look like: a peace sign.
"I am not easily identifiable as a Muslim just by looking at me, so my new badge will let me display proudly who I am,'' she wrote in the post, which has been shared more than 100,000 times.
"I chose the peace sign because it represents my Islam. The one that taught me to oppose injustice and yearn for unity. The one that taught me that killing one innocent life is equivalent to killing humanity."
When Balkar initially saw Trump's comments, she didn't feel she could just sit back and say nothing.
"Initially, the first thing I thought of when I heard was, 'Donald Trump is at it again,' but then I was like, 'Wait a minute, just because Donald Trump says it doesn't mean it's OK,''' Balkar told TODAY.com. "I started simmering. All these extremists are not me. That's not my religion. I'm tired people claiming to do these horrific attacks in the name of Islam."
Balkar, who was born in the U.S. to first-generation Syrian immigrants, can still remember being bullied at her elementary school in Washington state after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. She has received messages from other Muslim children fearful of the same thing happening after Trump's comments.
"There's a difference between disapproving in something and spreading hate, and when in you're in such a big position of power and what you use with it is to spread hate, I find that so cowardly,'' she said. "You have so much potential to change the world, and he uses it to trash not only Muslims, but the black community and the Hispanic community. All he does is trash people."
Balkar also took on Trump's suggestions that there should be more surveillance of Muslims and certain mosques, which came after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris by members of ISIS.
"I heard you want to track us as well,'' she wrote. "Great! You can come with me on my Cancer Awareness walks at the local middle school, or you can follow me to work where it's my job to create happiness.
“Maybe then you'll see that me being Muslim doesn't make me any less American than you are."
The overwhelming response to Balkar's message has led her to start the hashtag #FightWithPeace.
"It's been amazing and shocking in a good way,'' she said. "In my mind I thought the whole world and America had this dark view of Muslims, but a lot of the positive feedback I've been getting is from non-Muslims, which is so exciting."
She thanked her supporters in a follow-up post on Monday.
"You have proven to the world that no matter what what country you're from, what your religious beliefs are, or what your race is, we can all COEXIST.”
Balkar said she has not heard any response from the Trump campaign.
"Of course not, there's nothing for them to say,'' she said. "You can't dig yourself out of a hole like that. He is part of the spread of Islamophobia. He should'be be allowed to be where he is in life with a mindset like that. Not in 2015 in America.''
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