“To all students, staff, and faculty of the Islamic faith at R-MC:
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” I can no longer remain silent and thereby betray you while politicians in this country like Donald Trump (and Ben Carson, and others) insult your noble faith and by extension, insult, demean, and threaten you. I can only imagine the anxiety, the discomfort, even the fear that some of you must be feeling these days when you hear such high-profile people spout their vile bigotry and ignorance, especially if no one around you steps up and denounces such talk. So I want you to know that these bigots do not speak for me. Quite the opposite: I welcome you here at R-MC. You study here, you teach here, you work here. You are part of our community. More than that, you are all personally welcome in my office if you ever want or need a friendly place to go. I’ve got your back.
As an historian, I know all too well the lesson of what happens when the “good people” say nothing, do nothing, when this or that group of people are singled out, vilified, demonized, and persecuted. We can never let that happen again. I am sure that I speak for many, many others at this college when I say to each and every one of you, “Donald Trump does not speak for me; you are welcome here.”
At this holiday season when so many people in this country hope and wish for peace, allow me to extend to you the traditional Islamic greeting, “al-salam alaykum” (السلام عليكم) – “peace be upon you.”
Michael R. Fischbach, Ph.D.”