“Democracy is in the blood of the Muslims who look upon complete equality of mankind, and believe in fraternity, equality, and liberty.”― Muhammad Ali Jinnah

In these times, our hearts are heavy. We are a community in mourning. We have been in mourning for our allies as their communities have suffered the consequences of a racism that continues to be embedded in our social fabric. We are in mourning most recently for the crimes against our own community borne of that same racism that shows its face in the form of islamophobia against the innocence of a teenage girl during the holiest of months. When there should have been peace, there was instead violence. Where there should have been children, there is now tragedy. Our hearts grieve for Nabra Hassanen, who was murdered in Virginia on one of the last ten holy nights of Ramadan.

In times like this it’s easy to feel isolated. Fortunately, leaders in Congress have spoken out. As a community, we need to applaud Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and Democratic Congressman Don Beyer. Immediately after this awful tragedy they released public statements and personally assured their Muslim American constituents about their commitment to support us.

Even if you are not from Virginia, we must applaud and thank our federal elected officials who have given their support. It’s crucial that our pain and our needs as a community are recognized as a first step to preventing tragedies like this in the future. Please take three minutes to send a quick note to thank our congressmen and congresswomen and ask that they encourage their fellow members of Congress to take a stand.

Here’s a sample thank you for you to start off with:

Dear Representative,

I am a Pakistani American (parent/teenager/recent college grad/etc) living in (HOMETOWN).

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for your leadership issuing a statement after the tragic death of Nabra Hassanen. This awful crime affected my family and me in a very personal way. Your words instantly and publicly denouncing this crime do make a difference. Please encourage your colleagues on Capitol Hill to engage with Muslim Americans.

We love this country and love the Constitution. We value the wisdom the great Virginian Thomas Jefferson who wrote, “I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”

Thank you for your commitment to religious liberty and engaging with our community during these troubling times.

You can email Congresswoman Comstock and send Congressman Don Meyer a message through Facebook.

Photo by Deena Elmaghrabi, Standing Against Violence: National Vigil #JusticeForNabra, Union Square, New York City