A Muslim doctor caring for Trump's America

Dr Ayaz Virji talks to Carvell Wallace about activism, faith and forgiveness.

    Three years ago, Dr Ayaz Virji moved his family to Dawson, Minnesota, a rural farming community only about 32km away from the state's border with South Dakota. As far as the people of Dawson know, the Virjis are the first Muslim family to ever live there.

    Dr Virji felt welcome in his new home, where he became the top doctor at the local hospital. But then the 2016 election happened, and he woke up on November 9 to the fact that nearly 60 percent of his neighbours had voted for Donald Trump. He was angry, but he also decided to act - not because he wanted to, but because he had to.

    "After every lecture that I did, I said this is the last one," said Dr Virji. "I don't want to do this any more. I didn't come to Dawson, Minnesota to teach people about Islam. It's a very ... it's a very personal thing to me. I don't want to go talk about it."

    He started giving talks on Islam to rural Minnesotans in community centres and church basements. Then, he started getting invited to speak in bigger venues; he was profiled in the Washington Post, and now he is working on a book.

    Dr Virji sits down to talk with host Carvell Wallace on episode 3 of Closer Than They Appear. They talk about activism, faith and practising forgiveness when you feel profoundly wronged by your community.

    You can hear this conversation in the 3rd episode of Closer Than They Appear, the debut show from Al Jazeera's new podcast studio, Jetty.

    Over the course of seven episodes, host Carvell Wallace decides that the best way to move forward is to turn and face the dark moments in America's history - and in his own. Along the way, he brings on guests for thoughtful conversations about what it means to be an American, what Americans are fighting for, and what's next for him and for all of us.

    Catch up by listening to episode 1, featuring Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, who joined Wallace to discuss what it means to be black men in America, fatherhood in the time of Trump, and maintaining grace in the face of adversity.

    You can listen to this episode in the player above and subscribe to Jetty on Apple Podcasts or find us on your favourite podcast player.

    Watch Jetty on Facebook Watch

    Follow the show on Twitter @closershow

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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