Surviving America

In December 2015, Donald Trump, the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States in 2016 made a tendentious statement after US citizen Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people in San Bernardino on December 2, 2015. He said that he will do the “Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” if he were elected as president.


At that time, I thought that Trump’s nomination for President of the United States was only a joke from Republicans. Come on, how come that a real estate tycoon (that became reality show star, later) without no military and government experience, could be the next president of USA?


Furthermore, at his presidential campaign, Trump also made some controversial statements and promises, from prosecuting Hillary Clinton (his election rival), building a wall along the border between (United States of) America and Mexico, lifting coal production limit, to banning the muslims entering America.


Yes, muslims, like me, you, and the halal kebab seller in New York.


Halal Kebab Seller in New York

Halal Kebab Seller in New York


Unfortunately, Republicans were not joking, so were the Americans who voted for Trump at the election. On November 8, 2016, The Republican Party nominee, businessman Donald Trump from New York, and his running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, defeated the Democratic Party nominee, former Secretary of State and former Senator Hillary Clinton from New York, and her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.


With that result, Donald Trump along with his slogan “Make America Great Again” was elected to be the next President of The USA, and expected to take office as the 45th President on January 20, 2017. Yes, it was not a joke.


So, how about his promises? Specifically, how about muslims’ chance to enter America? Does it mean that America will not be a “Liberty Country” anymore? 

Liberty Statue

Liberty Statue, just in case you are asking.

When I told my friends that I will go to America in September 2014, I got many responses from them. Some of them said that going to America will not be easy because I have Islamic name, some of them told me that they are afraid of my safety because of the criminality rate there, but the good part was, many of them supported me to go there and they also introduced me to Indonesians who live in America.

I have friend in Boston.” “You can contact my friend in New York.” “You can stay in my cousin’s house in Chicago.” were few of some supporting responses. Chill out guys, because, first, I had to deal with the American visa.

Getting the American visa for Indonesian people was quite tricky, because we have to pay the visa fee first, before dealing with the long queue at the embassy. And yes, you can not ask your money back, if your visa is rejected.

I was little bit nervous when I got my turn to give the visa documents to the immigration officer. Finally after queuing for three hours, I was here, at the American Embassy.

American flag

American flags near Wall Street, New York.

So, what’s your name?” An officer that looks like Matt Damon greeted me from his desk.

My name is.. Aa..arif, Sir.” I was stuttering.

And, why do you want to go to America?” He looked deeply into my eyes, without love desire, to be exact.

I bowed, before looking at him with shy, “I won blog competition.

That was just the beginning; my story in America will start soon after Matt Damon gave me a letter to take my visa in four working days.



They said that going to America will not be easy if you have Islamic name or come from Islamic country, especially after the 9/11 tragedy. Yes, I know that Indonesia is not literally an Islamic country, but we have the largest number of muslim citizens among all countries in the world. The good ones and the Santoso ones.

I was arriving at JFK airport, queuing in the immigration line, before an officer took and examined my green passport, the Indonesian passport.

“Mr. Muhammad Arif Rahman?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Follow me.” She put my passport into a green transparent plastic folder, and escorted me to a small room in the corner of arrival hall. A small room full of police officers in blue uniform.

Days before I went to America were an exciting ones. I always love making itinerary −searching accommodations, planning daily activities, booking transportation mode, etc., and I want my itinerary to be as perfect as Dian Sastrowardoyo.

In New York, you can meet my friend Tenny.” Nuri, my friend, told me. “If she is not busy, maybe she can walk you around New York.

New York

Subway in New York

Oh, really? That will be nice.”

Shortly, Nuri introduced me to Tenny, using social media.

On the other day, I met my other friend, Nindya. I was looking for her help, arranging my trip in New York, since she was there before. She helped me picking the most suitable room on airbnb, following to my budget.

So, what is your plan after New York?

Probably going to Washington DC, Peoria to attend the main event, then going back to Indonesia from Chicago.



Night at Chicago

Yes, Chicago.” She looked like thinking about something, “Why?

Uhm, actually, I have cousin in Chicago.

” … And?”

You can stay in my cousin’s house in Chicago.

For more than two hours, I was stranded inside a small room in the corner of arrival hall JFK airport. Inside, while many police officers −that remind me of NYPD serial− go back and forth in front of me. At a time, they handcuffed two Chinese people, out of the room, and the other time, they called people who have Islamic names.

Islamic name, like Muhammad Arif Rahman. Me.

One hour later, I was called to answer some questions from the police in front of me. The opening movie of My Name is Khan, suddenly appeared on my mind, the scene when Khan get interrogated when entering America.

So, what makes you come to America?

I won a blog competition.” I gave him the invitation letter from my bag “From Caterpillar.

Caterpillar Building SS

Me at Caterpillar Building SS

Hmm ..” He typed some data on his computer, before handing me my passport again.

Welcome to America.”

New York

Yellow Taxi in New York

With help from Nuri, I met Tenny in New York. She was holding an umbrella with her boyfriend, Ali, when I met her under Manhattan Bridge. It was raining cats and dogs that night but they were so kind, “No worries.” Said Tenny, before accompanying me to take some photographs around New York, taking me for a dinner, and also escorting me to the famous Times Square area.

The other days, I met Sepsha, another friend that I was acquainted in Komodo Island. She was on duty from Radio of Republic Indonesia, to cover the news from America. Then, she joined my trip to Washington DC, and became a good travel mate for days.

When I was in Chicago for my last days in America, Kiki (Nindya’s cousin) picked me up with her husband, Ivan and her two children. They let me stay at their beautiful house, took me for a city tour, and made me Indonesian food. It was little bit odd, when I was thousand miles away from Indonesia, but I have a delicious “Nasi Goreng” for breakfast.

Thank God, I met these people who helped me to get a feel of America, to survive America, and the most important thing, to make me feel at home.

After the election day, Trump made some adjustments to his promises, including the promise that was related to muslims’ live. Trump initially promised to ban all Muslims entering the US, but switched to “extreme vetting” after he became the party’s presidential candidate.

Now, Trump has replaced the policy with one suspending visas “to any place where adequate screening cannot occur, until proven and effective vetting mechanisms can be put into place”. Probably it is a slow progress, but still, slow progress is a progress as well.

In the future, I hope you can make America great again, without disrespecting other races, nationalities, and religions. Because, all lives, matter.


Chicago, and if you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me.

Dear Mr. Trump,

Just in case you are asking, my name is Muhammad Arif Rahman, I am a traveler, and I am not a terrorist.

PS: I hope I can survive America again.


Stone-Eater Added May 18, 2017 - 4:04pm
The problem is not Trump. The problem is religion in general. Because be it Christian or Muslim religion, each one thinks it's the only true one. And unfortunately there's too many people around which have no own personality but are guided by those religions - be it by education since early age or by entering a religion because they need external guidance to get their life in order.
But they don't see that BOTH religions are, and were ever since, used for OTHER reasons. Be it economic or strategic ones.
When you starve, you don't give a shit if it's halal, pork or beef, it it's Friday for fish or ramadan.
Think about that.
Religions were created out of ignorance of early peoples and some then found out that it can be used to control and manipulate. And it works up to today.
In fact, we don't need religions anymore. We THEORETICALLY have the capability to live in peace with each other.
Stone-Eater Added May 18, 2017 - 4:05pm
BTW: My wife is Muslim, and I'm atheist without religion. Married for 21 years.
Stone-Eater Added May 18, 2017 - 4:07pm
...and it works. Live and let live.
Stone-Eater Added May 18, 2017 - 4:09pm
BTW2: It's the MEDIA. THEY create the hate and prejudice. I guarantee you: Get a Muslim and a Christian eye to eye for a discussion on a table. Finally they'll find out that they're not at all different. They only express it differently.
Billy Roper Added May 18, 2017 - 4:13pm
There's a specific group which controls the media. Some people think that (((group))) is a religion, but they aren't, they are an ethnicity. They work to destabilize Muslim countries then send the refugees into the U.S. and Europe to undermine the homogeneity of their populations so they will be camouflaged.
Stone-Eater Added May 18, 2017 - 4:18pm
I agree, but see my comment on your latest article.
Thomas Sutrina Added May 18, 2017 - 4:42pm
Muhammad Arif Rhman, the supreme court standards since the first supreme court is violated by the actions of today's activist liberal Obama appointed judges.  "Under the leadership of John Marshall, “the great chief justice,” the early Supreme Court declined to look beyond the words of the law to the personal intentions of its authors.

In Fletcher v. Peck (1810), the court refused to say that a state law providing for the sale of public lands could be held invalid because of the corrupt motives of the legislators.

After all, Marshall pointed out, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a court to say how far such corruption had to extend in order to justify an invalidation of the law."

 Muhammad your at least more honest then the judges because you not suppose to understand the foundation of law.  So those judges should not consider, “Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”  They need only look at the words withing the legal document of Pres. Donald Trumps executive action.  That Muhammad is the point.

Second Muhammad the President is given the authority to restrict immigration or entry into the country.  And Presidents I believe stretching back to Adams have applied this power.  This is the first court action against such an executive action.  So Muhammad why has it taken 200 years for the first one to occur.  Touch much less time to call for the impeachment.  The president is not bound by the rights of aliens since under the law aliens not within the nation do not fall under the laws of the nation so have not protection under the law.   Until accepted into the nation an alien has not entered the nation while in the hands of the border agents even though their feet are on the soil of the nation.

Please explain why none of the above apply and also sight references with a legal background including constitutional.  
Dino Manalis Added May 18, 2017 - 4:47pm
We should only ban terrorists with better screening and intelligence.  Trump ought to encourage good Muslims to alert authorities when they see something suspicious.  We deserve to be safe and sound!
Mike Haluska Added May 18, 2017 - 5:11pm
Mr. Rahman - Welcome to America!
Now, if ONE Muslim Religious Leader actually came out in REPEATEDLY in public and UNCONDITIONALLY CONDEMNED the Islamic Terror Groups . . .  people in America might dial back the suspicion knob.
When the Irish Republican Army was terrorizing Britain with school bus bombings and assassinations, the Catholic Pope and Bishops deplored their actions and made sure nobody thought the Catholic Church condoned terror. 
Tamara Wilhite Added May 18, 2017 - 8:29pm
Thomas Sutrina Added May 18, 2017 - 9:07pm
Muhammad Arif Rhman, you have a B2B visa provided by Caterpillar, and you waited in a room until they got to you.  But once you came in front of an official you were let in to the country.  So you have not problem.  And Caterpillar can bring other people into America also with B2B visas. 
Muhammad Trump said that he was stopping those at the beginning or partially through the process developed by Obama that came from the countries Obama himself identified as having dysfunctional or infiltrated governments and could have terrorist seeking entry into America.  Now it is obvious that the vast majority of terrorism world wide is associated with Islam.  True or False?   The data says true.   He can restart it at any time and can let for example the immigrants in Australia come.
So let us look at Islam.  I start with, "New Year’s day [2015], Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a “religious revolution” in Islam that would displace violent jihad from the center of Muslim discourse.

“Is it possible that 1.6 billion people (Muslims worldwide) should want to kill the rest of the world’s population—that is, 7 billion people—so that they themselves may live?” he asked. “Impossible.”

Speaking to an audience of religious scholars celebrating the birth of Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, he called on the religious establishment to lead the fight for moderation in the Muslim world. “You imams (prayer leaders) are responsible before Allah. The entire world—I say it again, the entire world—is waiting for your next move because this umma (a word that can refer either to the Egyptian nation or the entire Muslim world) is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”
So what does Muslims themselves say in a Democratic country?  "Mr Phillips warns of a ‘life-and-death struggle for the soul of British Islam’.  Britain is in many ways a better place than it’s ever been – more prosperous, more diverse, more liberal.

He insists: ‘The reason why our fellow Britons seem so far out of line with mainstream opinion is that too many live in a different Britain to the rest of us.’  A fifth have not entered the home of a non-Muslim in the past year.
The poll found that 39 per cent of the 1,081 Muslim adult men and women questioned for the survey agreed that wives should always
obey their husbands.

One in three supports the right of a man to have more than one wife, even though it is illegal in the UK.

Twenty-three per cent support the introduction of sharia law.
Fifty-two per cent of the Muslims surveyed did not believe that homosexuality should be legal, and even more opposed gay marriage. [Sharia law is obviously not in agreement with British law.]

Almost half thought it was unacceptable for a gay or lesbian to teach their children.

And young Muslims were found to be nearly as far removed from the rest of British society as their elders.

Mr Phillips says most Muslims in this ‘nation-within-a-nation’ reject violence in defence of their faith.  But 4 per cent, equivalent to 100,000 British Muslims, had sympathy for those who used violent ends to defend Islam.
But for some of our fellow citizens, we’re heading in entirely the wrong direction. So much so that some of them would rather live under a wholly different system.

Indeed, a significant minority of Britain’s three million Muslims consider us a nation of such low morals that they would rather live more separately from their non-Muslim countrymen, preferably
under sharia law.
One of the reasons they like Britain is freedom to practise their religion as they see fit."
Understand the problem of Islam in a western country. "Matthew 22:21, in which Christ is quoted as saying: ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.’ This notion was confirmed by the experience of the first Christians; its later development was shaped and in a sense even imposed by the subsequent history of Christendom. The persecutions endured by the early Church made it clear that a separation between the two was possible. ... For Muslims of the classical age, God was Caesar, and the sovereign—caliph or sultan—was merely his viceregent on earth. This was more than a simple legal fiction. For Muslims the state was God’s state, the army God’s army, and, of course, the enemy was God’s enemy. Of more
practical importance, the law was God’s law, and in principle there
Thomas Sutrina Added May 18, 2017 - 9:09pm
Understand the problem of Islam in a western country. "Matthew 22:21, in which Christ is quoted as saying: ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.’ This notion was confirmed by the experience of the first Christians; its later development was shaped and in a sense even imposed by the subsequent history of Christendom. The persecutions endured by the early Church made it clear that a separation between the two was possible. ... For Muslims of the classical age, God was Caesar, and the sovereign—caliph or sultan—was merely his viceregent on earth. This was more than a simple legal fiction. For Muslims the state was God’s state, the army God’s army, and, of course, the enemy was God’s enemy. Of more
practical importance, the law was God’s law, and in principle there could be no other. The question of separating church and state did not arise, since there was no church, as an autonomous institution, to be separated. Church and state were one and the same."  Thus The Constitution and the laws are of no consequence.  So a Muslim is not coming to this country to be part of the melting pot.  They are oil put in water. And continually separate from the water and create their own volume, Dar al-Islam—the "house of Islam" or "house of submission" to God.  And the water is Dar al-Harb, or
"house of war"—those who are at war with God.  Muslims have believed themselves to have a "manifest destiny." Since God must
win in the end, the Dar al-Harb must be brought under the control of Muslim government and made part of the Dar al-Islam.  "Jihad is a religious obligation. It forms part of the duties that the believer must fulfill; it is Islam’s normal path to expansion."
The response of the Muslim community world wide and the hijackers of 9/11.  "If the terrorists were so far outside the mainstream, why did Muslims all over the world burst into joyful, spontaneous celebrations when the hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Why are Islamic governments afraid to show "too much" public support for the war
against terrorism? Further, why are all the governments that covertly support terrorism centered in the Muslim world? ...
The Quran says, “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way, God is forgiving and Merciful.” (Surah 9:5) First from 1894 to 1896 and then from 1915 to 1920 the Ottoman Empire the last to day Islamic empire Caliphate (God's Government) deported and murdered 1.5M Christian Armenians. A genocide topped by Hitler with the help of Islamic followers assistance in the Middle East."
Tamara Wilhite Added May 22, 2017 - 5:36pm
A survey has revealed more than a quarter of Muslims in France follow hardline Islam and almost half support Sharia law.

It also unearthed that more than 14 per cent of 15 to 25-year-olds believe Islamic Sharia law carries more weight than that of their place of residence.
Thomas Sutrina Added May 22, 2017 - 6:48pm
No surprise that John G. has his own agenda.  War on humanity.  I present the facts.  Their own words and John turns it into may war .  Are you nuts.