Dear Donald Trump,
It's just not helpful.
Calling for and then standing by such an inflammatory and broad sweeping statement of "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" is simply irresponsible.
It's throwing out the baby with the bathwater. It's plainly Islamophobic and not in the best interest of America, at all.
It's an extremist response that actually resembles the kind of extreme positions that ISIS makes.
I would implore you to consider all the law-abiding and honorable Muslim immigrants that are here in the U.S. and contributing well to the health and betterment of American society and our economy. They came to the U.S. from many different nations. They are all over the United States, and so very, very many are wonderful people. It's simply incredibly short-sighted to call for that type of broad (and yet so narrow) moratorium.
Instead, I would invite you to spend some time with Muslims outside of America.
Particularly, I would recommend you visit those refugees that have recently been at the epicenter of this controversy.
Spend some time with the roughly 2.8-3.2 million refugees in Iraq caused by ISIS overrunning cities, towns, and villages in the past 18 months, forcing many families to drop everything and flee for their lives. Hear their stories. Sit with them and learn about their lives and their families.
While you are outlining essentially a ban on Muslims entering our country, and others are debating whether we can safely help Syrian refugees resettle here in the U.S., it’s a non-issue for me. There are millions suffering who are good people. They deserve our help. One way to help is to go to them!
I believe that so much I'm going to go to some of the people who have been displaced and who had to flee. These families are largely Muslim, and are refugees forced to flee by ISIS. My aim is to serve them. What better way to show American's care, and for me to show as a Christian and follower of Jesus that I care, than by going to the suffering and displaced to try and offer a bit of care and help?
So I'm going to Iraq in early 2016.
Perhaps you should consider such a visit as well?
I don't begin to imagine I can do anything grand or major. I do believe that I can bring encourage and hope, and hopefully some practical aid to a few.
I want to play with the children that have been forced out of their homes. I want to shake the hands and look into the eyes of father's trying to care for their families in refugee camps and let them know I have come because I care. I hope to sit with them, drink tea, and hear their stories. I hope to help move some from tents into apartments, to see them settled with a bed, a stove, and refrigerator.
I believe this can be valuable, and if we do this more it can make a positive difference in our world.
Mr. Trump, blocking all Muslims from entering America until "our country's representatives can figure out what is going on" is simply not in the best interest of America or of the world. Banning thousands because of the sins of a tiny fraction of a percent who have come is not right.
It's not about keeping out, it's really about reaching out. You make a difference by impacting others positively and that is why I'm going to Iraq!
You can read more about it here >> Why I'm going to Iraq
[Tweet " "It's not about keeping out, it's really about reaching out." via @mike_gingerich"]
Heck, if you've got some funds you want to donate towards my trip and supplies that we want to give to refugees and those being resettled in Iraq, that'd be a great first small step towards doing something positive. You can donate here.
I don't pretend to know your campaign strategy or your true end goal. I just know that this recent statement of yours is not helpful on so many levels. I think it would be so much better for you to go and visit some refugees that have had their world turned upside down by ISIS. I know you'll meet some great Muslims, some great PEOPLE.
I'm looking forward to going to Iraq. To go as a representative of the kind of America I believe in and want to help craft for my children. An America that is not closed and discriminatory but one that is welcoming, serving others, and adding value at home and across the world.
Will you join me?
Will you consider the negative impact of your words and choose another path? Will you go and visit refugees rather than demand we close our borders to all Muslims?
I pray you will.