First Person: Latina Muslim Reflects On Her Faith, President Trump’s Policies
It's time for another installment of first-person. The face of the Muslim community is changing as Islam continues to expand. It's becoming the fastest the desk growing religion in the world. Today we hear from a woman living her life at the intersection of two communities both of which have been the target of President Trump's executive actions because [ speaking in a foreign language ] I am a Mexican-American I was born here in San Diego and I am Muslim. My mother was born and raised in Mexico and my dad is from Tijuana I grew up Catholic. The majority of my family was practicing Catholic. As a young girl I remember going to churches and looking at that crosses and all of these things hanging on the wall and seeing all these sayings and not understanding what all this means and having these questions and not having them answered. Questions like why -- if Jesus is God why is God up there and not form or how could one human being pay for everyone's sins. Or what likes the [ speaking in a foreign language ] I never understood that. I still don't like -- but I feel like Islam answered everything that I didn't understand. My first introduction to Islam was actually a friend that this person became very dear to me and I wanted to explore more about the faith. [music] I once saw a friend of mine praying and seen the way she prostrated and came back up and then prostrated back down and then all the way to the floor and then remained there and seeing how deep she was in her prayer I felt like I was in a whole different world is like she's worshiping something bigger and it was clear to me that it was just a one God. When I first told my mom that I am a Muslim and the following a different faith. I don't think that she realized about first Reporter: I had to repeat it again and took a moment until she said that's her final answer was if that's what you want is your choice. Even though she did not agree with it. One thing that I reflected on it now. Marsh -- now she I am seeing more curiosity of why I chose this place instead of judging the for but I think with time she started opening up and asking questions but I wish I could see more of it. The anti-Muslim and also the Mexican border wall -- being Mexican and also being Muslim and hearing all of this in the news media and hearing what President Trump is saying and also building a wall it is so heartbreaking. But I think it is also a great opportunity. A great opportunity for our community to take a stand and it is something that I am also -- that I need to do as well. I am speaking for myself when I say to other signs saying for myself. We need to work harder let's not let these doubts and fears and we cannot give any more excuses. We have to act now. Now I actually have to step outside the door and face the world and defend my face by wearing it. So I have had and do sometimes have when I where I am defending my face. I'm a peaceful activist and I am a peaceful Muslim. So Mr. President Trump if you are listening Islam is not what you said is and I invite you to come to the Islamic Center of San Diego and available to talk to you about Islam but it is not what you say it is because it is hurting our youth and we are America. We are all America. We are all America. This was produced by Marissa with assistance from Emily. You can find more episodes in this series in a podcast go to KPBS.org/podcast.
Mayte Gutierrez, 25, is a member of two communities at the intersection of President Trump’s executive actions. She is both Latina and Muslim.
"Being Mexican and also being Muslim and hearing what President Trump is saying about banning Muslims and building a wall it's so heartbreaking," Gutierrez, who was born in San Diego and works at the Islamic Center of San Diego, said. "I think it's also a great opportunity for our community to take a stand. We have to act now, now is the time."
As part of our First Person series, Gutierrez talks about how she found Islam and what she would say to President Trump about her religion.