The following letter to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump was first published in the "2016 Year End Edition" of the Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) newsletter. WAMM is a non-profit organization dedicated to dismantling systems of militarism and global oppression. For over 30 years it has been one of the most active and influential justice and peace groups in the Midwest.
Dear Mr. Donald Trump,
Warm greetings from Iraq! Though I became an American citizen and lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for 30 years, I returned to my native Iraq to work for peace after my adopted country attacked my original home in 2003.
My family and I would like to invite you and your family to visit us in Iraq for as long as you would like. We, and many other Iraqi families, will be delighted to have you as honored guests at our homes. Guest visits as part of our exchange program (Muslim Peacemaker Teams) have been ongoing between citizens of Najaf and of Minneapolis since the two officially became "sister cities" in July 2009.
The purpose of your visit will be educational in nature and focused on learning about Arab-Islamic culture and will include opportunities to visit major Iraq historical cities including Babylon and holy cities such as Karbala and Baghdad. You will learn about Hammurabi, who wrote the first code of law, and visit the countryside in the south where the wheel was invented by an Iraqi woman thousands of years ago. You will also personally witness how Iraq has continued to be destroyed by the continuing U.S. military presence since 2003.
We will show you how ISIS is smuggling our oil out of Iraq and who is laundering it into the funds supporting the terrorism which threatens us all.
I'm not rich, but my family and I are renting a house in Najaf where I was born. It's small, cozy and full of love. You will stay with us and share what we have. There are other Iraqi families in addition to ours who would love to have you spend time with them as well.
When you (as an “infidel”) meet me (as a “terrorist”) at my home in Najaf, I assure you that you will find we are all brothers and sisters sharing the same bread and the same universe together. You will even learn that our peoples, also including those who are Jews, all share the Old Testament as the core foundation of our respective religions. We share more values in common than differences. We are all "people of the Book."
Certainly, your visit will help tremendously in countering the ongoing negative stereotypes about Muslims and will serve to discredit those who promote Islamophobia in America. We fear what we do not understand, and the visit we offer will deepen your insight into, and enlighten your perceptions regarding the part of the world we call home.
In return, should you accept our offer to visit Najaf, I promise you that our family will, if it pleases you, visit with you in the U.S. -- even in your Atlantic City or Vegas where we would spend some money having fun despite the fact that our faith as Muslims bans us from entering “Sin City.” We will break the rules to exchange visits. So if you can provide your own transportation to come to Iraq, we will gladly cover the cost of everything else.
I know you're busy preparing to move into the White House so, understandably, if you can't make it at the present time, our offer will remain open for you to visit us at any time you choose.
Mr. Trump, I guarantee that you will fall in love with Arab-Islamic culture. Aside from some superficial cultural differences, our people and their desires are really little different than yours and you will quickly feel at home among us, even grow to love us. The resolution of all conflicts begins with an open mind and productive discussions. We can think of no man better than you to extend the offer of this opportunity to. Please give it thoughtful consideration.
Muslim Peacemaker Teams, Najaf, Iraq
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
• Saying "No" to Endless U.S. Wars
• You, O Comforter, Are Ever Near . . .
• Quote of the Day – September 7, 2015
• The Tenth Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq
• Steve Clemens: "If We Wish to Stand with the Holy Innocents, We Must Stand in Opposition to Empire"
Image: The Sami and Suad Rasouli family. (Photo via WAMM)