A Pakistani Muslim family in Wisconsin was “in tears” when they read what was stamped on a one-dollar bill. However, despite claiming to be the victims of a “targeted” hate message, they have yet to call the police.
Atiya Hasan and her husband left behind Pakistan’s inequality, poverty, and the government’s religious persecution for American liberty in 1995. After settling in Wisconsin, the couple had four children, raising them with a mixture of Islamic tradition and American culture.
For decades, the Hasan family has enjoyed the tolerance and opulence that the United States has to offer anyone of any background. However, apparently, all it took to reduce their success to a heap of ashes was a distasteful 5-word message printed on a dollar bill.
Along with fear-mongering, the media have been effective in sowing division and breeding animosity between individuals, lumping people into groups and pitting them against one another. Disturbingly, they portray the most diverse and tolerant country in history as a bastion of racism, hate, and bigotry.
So, when the Hasan family received a hurtful message stamped on a one-dollar bill, the media were quick to show up at their doorstep, making a national headline of what otherwise would be a non-story. Unfortunately, reporters have trumped up an act of unkindness into a possible hate crime.
After Atiya Hasan asked her son to bring her some cash from her purse, the boy returned crying, according to WMUR. On the dollar bill was bold, black font, which read, “No Muslim Immigrants In USA!” The unmistakable message had been stamped right beside the face of President George Washington.
“He brought it to me and said, ‘Mom, look at this,'” she said. “It actually says, ‘No Muslim Immigrants in USA!’ My kids were in tears. They don’t know any other place. This is home to them. This is home to us.”
Atiya says that her children were all crying over the dollar bill’s unkind words, prompting them to explain that they were born on U.S. soil. Atiya and her husband, who are Muslim immigrants, quickly concluded that the bold message was intended for them, rejecting the possibility that the dollar had randomly made its way into their hands through circulation.
“I would think that they were targeting us,” she said.
Atiya’s 18-year-old daughter, Manal, quickly posted a photo of the dollar bill on social media, immediately garnering sympathy for her family. In her post, she explained a bit of her family’s migrant background and the suffering they endure on a daily basis in the most prosperous, freest nation on earth.
“This is the dollar my mom was handed today,” Manal wrote on social media. “My mom wears a headscarf and immigrated to the United States in 1995 We are a Muslim family you know. A family that has never once inflicted any intentional pain to another, that has never treated any other family without dignity and the utmost respect. You hear propaganda on the news all the time illustrating families like mine as hateful, as terrorists, as evil, but I can assure you that we are more afraid to be living in America than you are.What will you do to make people like me feel welcome in the country I call home? What will you do for communities like mine that struggle to find their place, that struggle to believe they are as entitled to this country as much as you are? This is our America. Are you sure it’s all that great? Speak up. Your silence is part of the problem.”
However, the entire community rushed to rally around the Hasan family, putting to bed Manal’s fears that America is a dangerous, intolerant nation. Many who had heard about the news story expressed their support and condolences, showcasing the incredible inclusivity that America embodies.
“My heart burned at that time, it just burned. I was sad and overwhelmed but also so angry,” she said. “I don’t know how I feel, I just know that it hurts.”
The Hasan family has refrained from reporting the incident to the police since they can neither prove that the message was intended for them specifically nor is there any real threat marked on the bill. For now, they can only relay their plight through obliging news and social media.
America is the most inclusive and most diverse country in the world. That is why immigrants continuously bypass dozens of other safe countries to flock to our borders in an effort to escape the poverty, persecution, and intolerance they suffer in their home countries.