CAIR Condemns Trump’s Latest ‘Racist and Xenophobic’ Attack on Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned President Trump’s “racist and xenophobic” national origin-based attack targeting Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in which he claimed that one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress is not part of “our country.” 

During a rally yesterday in Pennsylvania, Trump claimed, “How did you do where you came from? How is your country doing? She is telling us how to run our country.” Omar, who emigrated to the U.S. from Somalia as a child, is an American citizen and an elected member of Congress. 

Morning Joe: ‘Rarely Do You See Bigotry as Explicit As’ Trump’s ‘Fascist’ and Autocratic Rally Last Night 

In a statement, CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert S. McCaw said:

“No one should be surprised that President Trump has once again engaged in a racist and xenophobic attack on Representative Ilhan Omar, but everyone should continue to feel outraged by these disgusting remarks. 

“Donald Trump’s attacks on Representative Omar are particularly reprehensible given that she has shown far more respect for American ideals of justice and equality than the man who has spent four years trampling on the Constitution.

“All members of Congress must repudiate President Trump’s latest hateful remarks, and the U.S. Capitol Police should take steps to protect Rep. Omar from people who may be radicalized by the President’s persistent attacks on her.”


There’s a social pandemic poisoning Europe: hatred of Muslims

arely does the EU act so swiftly. Less than four months since the killing of George Floyd in police custody and the Black Lives Matter campaign that spilled into Europe and galvanised continent-wide protests, the EU is appointing its first ever anti-racism coordinator. This brilliant idea will make little sense, however, if anti-Muslim hatred is not part of their portfolio. Because instead of building a “truly anti-racist union”, as the president of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen, would wish, we have so far built an anti-Muslim one.

Prejudice against Muslims exists in every corner of Europe. Not only do we collectively devalue and discriminate against Europeans who follow Islam, but the incidence of violence against Muslims is increasing.

We have known since the refugee and migration crisis of 2015 and the jihadist terrorist attacks in France, Spain and Germany that Muslims suffer from an exceptionally bad reputation in our societies. In 2019, research conducted for the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Religion Monitor yet again confirmed widespread mistrust towards Muslims across Europe. In Germany and Switzerland, every second respondent said they perceived Islam as a threat. In the UK, two in five share this perception. In Spain and France, about 60% think Islam is incompatible with the “west”. In Austria, one in three doesn’t want to have Muslim neighbours.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) confirms these findings in its most recent paper on the rise and meaning of hate crimes against Muslims. So does Europe’s police coordinating body Europol: in 2019, far-right terrorism soared.


Supporting Arab Muslim Students in the Classroom

By Larry Ferlazzo on September 27, 2020 10:12 PM

(This is the first post in a multipart series.)

The new question-of-the-week is:

What are important considerations that educators should keep in mind when teaching Arab and Muslim students?

Issues of race, culture, and ethnicity are critical for us educators to keep in the forefront of our minds. 

And, when we think of who we’re teaching, the needs of Arab and Muslim students are perhaps not considered as much as they should be…

Today, series guest-editor Dr. Sawsan Jaber “kicks off” a multipart series responding to this question.  Dr. Jaber, along with contributors Abeer Shinnawi and Dr. Nina Shoman-Dajani,  also were guests on my 10-minute BAM! Radio Show. You can also find a list of, and links to, previous shows here.

Stories from the Front Lines: Experiences of Arab and Muslim Students in American Classrooms—Introduction

Dr. Sawsan Jaber, a global educator of 20 years in the U.S. and abroad, currently serves as a high school English teacher in Illinois.  She is an Our Voice Academy board director, the founder of Education Unfiltered Consulting, and a founding member of the Arab American Education Network. Sawsan is a proud Palestinian American.  You can find her on Twitter @SJEducate. Find Us: Twitter: @EducatorsArab  Email:

According to recent research,  there has been heightened anti-Muslim racism, also known as Islamophobia. This increase has resulted in many Arab American and Muslim American students in schools where they are not the majority feeling that they either want to mask their identity by assimilating or that they cannot learn because they are not socially accepted. Studies show that Arab American adolescents are victims of discrimination by their teachers and classmates. Focus groups with students have magnified Arab reports of their faith and culture being scrutinized and adversely viewed by students and teachers, resulting in feelings of defensiveness and demotivation.

The lack of understanding of students’ intersectionality and cultural identities leads to their disempowerment, limiting their access to an equitable educational experience in comparison with their white peers (Jaber, 2019). Research has highlighted that this is the plight of many students of color across the United States; however, research has also highlighted that Arab and Muslim students are more of a target of systematic oppression and inequality due to the current political climate, which began its shift after 9/11.


Young Muslims Challenge Traditional Stereotypes

Young Muslims like Humaira Akram are using social media to show the Islamic culture’s younger side.   

“Gen Z Muslims have changed or progressed Muslim culture in today’s society by being more vocal, using their social media platforms to advocate for justice and being open-minded,” said Akram, a student at Brooklyn College in New York. 

Akram and others say they think many non-Muslims see violence and sexism as stereotypes. But younger Muslims are eager to move beyond that, she said.  

Sabina Hanan answers comments and questions about Islam and the Muslim culture on social media.
Sabina Hanan answers comments and questions about Islam and the Muslim culture on social media. This photo is from her Instagram account.

“They are eager to learn and succeed, while speaking up against misconceptions and raising awareness for future generations, speaking up against injustice, and using their voice to make a change,” Akram said.  

The conservative religious regimes in Iran and Saudi Arabia compel women to wear head coverings and keep them subservient to men. In other Islamic countries such as Afghanistan, head covering is a cultural practice rather than mandated by law.

Other Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia, Turkey and Syria, have made greater strides in women’s rights, with more women attending university and holding senior government positions. Afghanistan’s parliament, according to Human Rights Watch, “has a higher percentage of women than does the U.S. Congress.”


How the Trump Administration Has Harmed Faith Communities

How the Trump Administration Has Harmed Faith Communities

Getty/John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe

Black clergy members stand with other attendees during a Mass for racial healing on Castle Island in South Boston on June 13, 2020.

  • OVERVIEWPeople of faith have suffered under the Trump administration’s attacks on civil rights, religious freedom, and health and economic well-being.

See also: Connecting the Dots: How the Trump Administration Misuses Religious Freedom To Create a License To Discriminate” by Maggie Siddiqi, Kurt Mueller, Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, and Sharita Gruberg

Introduction and summary

There is a commonly held but misleading perception in U.S. public discourse that the Trump administration’s policies have been largely favorable to faith communities. This is based on the administration’s narrow understanding of religion and public policy—one that privileges the concerns of a select group of conservative white Christians, mostly evangelical, who by no means represent all of America’s faithful. Rather, this subset has a narrow focus on policies that discriminate against LGBTQ people and stigmatize reproductive health services, including abortion, presenting a very skewed representation of religious Americans’ public policy concerns. While the Trump administration purports to help this narrow band of religious Americans, the reality is that many of its policies have harmed all religious communities—particularly religious minorities.

To understand the needs and concerns of all American faith communities, it is important to first understand the religious diversity of the nation. While 3 in 4 Americans identify with a religious tradition, only 15 percent identify as white evangelicals, according to the 2019 American Values Atlas Survey.1 Yet this small proportion of the population tends to garner a disproportionate share of attention concerning religion in the public discourse on national politics. Their concerns certainly dominate how the Trump administration’s impact on faith communities is perceived at large.


Public opinion polling reveals that even the so-called benefits of the Trump administration to those select faith groups crusading against reproductive and LGBTQ rights are rejected by majorities within faith communities other than white evangelicals. According to the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), majorities of white mainline Protestants and Black Protestants say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, as well as a plurality of Catholics.2 The vast majority of U.S. women of faith have used or currently use birth control.3 The PRRI also found that majorities of all major religious groups in the United States support government-backed health insurance programs covering contraceptives and supporting nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community.4


Muslims, atheists more likely to face religious discrimination in US

Muslims and atheists in the United States are more likely than those of Christian faiths to experience religious discrimination, according to new research led by the University of Washington.

In the study, which focused on public schools because they are government-run, community-facing institutions, the researchers tested responses to an individual’s expression of religious belief. In addition to finding greater bias against religious minorities, the researchers also saw that ardent expressions of faith, regardless of religious tradition, were more prone to discrimination.

“The U.S. is becoming a much more culturally diverse society than in the past, and the rate of change is happening very swiftly. So we wanted to ask: How are our public institutions keeping up? Can they provide equal accommodations and protection under the law?” said Steve Pfaff, a University of Washington professor of sociology and lead author of the study, which published Aug. 30 in Public Administration Review.

Religious bias may be a very serious problem, but it has been studied less than other types of discrimination, such as race- or gender-based discrimination, Pfaff added.

“Schools bear this enormous responsibility and perform this important service, and one thing that’s changing quickly, among the population, is religion. So how are schools handling all that change?” he said.

Pfaff points to national statistics that reflect the change: The percentage of Americans who identify as “unchurched” has increased from 16% to 23% in the past decade; the percentage of Americans who identify as Muslim, while small, is expected to double to 2%, by 2050.


Non-Muslims who live close to Muslims are less likely to be Islamophobic, study shows

The most recent Islamophobia in Australia report shows Muslims continue to be the targets of hostility and violence.

The September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 propelled them to this unenviable position. More recently, Islamic State has reinforced Western fears of and antipathy towards Islam and Muslims.

Our new study finds non-Muslim Australians living in areas with high numbers of Muslims are less Islamophobic than the general populations of Sydney and Melbourne. This suggests living side-by-side could be an antidote to Islamophobia.

What is Islamophobia?

Islamophobia refers to indiscriminate negative attitudes or emotions directed at Islam or Muslims.

Australians typically know very little about Muslims and their faith. As a result, they tend to lump together this vastly diverse group as backward, gender-oppressive and violent.

Read more: Islamophobic attacks mostly happen in public. Here’s what you can do if you see it or experience it

The “religious visibility” of some Muslims exacerbates this issue. We see Muslim women wearing hijabs or face veils, and quickly – as well as wrongly – conclude all Muslims are traditional and far too serious about their religion for our modern and secular standards.

Just like any other large population group, Muslims come from a variety of ethno-cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. As sociologist Riaz Hassan noted in 2018, 37% of Australian Muslims are born here, and the rest come from 183 different countries.


A Minnesota scholar shows how we could find common ground with, and through, Shia Islam

Polarity is palpable at the present time. Whatever the causes, large swaths of American society are deeply alienated from one another. The issue does not matter: pandemic, racial equity, education or the upcoming presidential election. Whatever the result of that election, we are at risk of facing an even deeper divide in our society. It is likely that people will die as tensions and violence escalate. The reality is, they already have.

There is no shortage of problems we face. Each prioritizes them in an individual way, but I place our inability to conduct civil discourse high on the list. How can we talk to one another — without fear of irreparably alienating the other or even provoking violence? Is it possible that we together can gather evidence, interrogate it, identify critical issues, envision possibilities and their consequences, and reach solutions?

If anything, sheer necessity leads me to hope we can. If not, our future as a functional democracy is shrouded in darkness.

While contemplating this darkness, I recently had a remarkable encounter with empathy. I stumbled upon it in a new book on Middle Eastern politics: “Shia Islam and Politics: Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon,” by Jon Armajani, professor in the Peace Studies Department at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Minnesota.

The book documents the relationship between religion and politics across Middle Eastern history, with particular attention to the Islamic sect of Shi’ism.

Shia Islam is practiced by most people in Iran and Iraq and by many in Lebanon. It is the religion of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Also central to the investigation is the United States’ relationship to these nations.


Russell Moore: American Christians must know about China’s Uighurs

Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is trying to educate Christians about the cultural and demographic genocide that China is perpetrating against its Muslim population.

Why it matters: “If no one in the world is going to notice that someone is gone, then the CCP can do whatever it wants,” says Moore.

What’s happening: In addition to a webinar with Uighur activists he held last week on the issue, Moore has written about repression of the Uighurs for the Wall Street Journal, has tweeted frequently about it and is working with U.S. officials on the issue.

His immediate goal is simply to spread awareness among Christians, Moore told Axios in an interview.

  • “Churches have been very receptive and alarmed that they did not know sooner that this was happening. That’s what I hear most often, is people asking why they didn’t know that this was taking place,” said Moore, adding that Uighurs have seemed “invisible” to many Americans.
  • “And I think their invisibility is what empowers the CCP to continue their actions. If no one in the world is going to notice that someone is gone, then the CCP can do whatever it wants.”

Background: Southern Baptists are the largest evangelical Christian group in the U.S., a group that has overwhelmingly supported President Trump despite the president’s history of statements and policies targeting Muslims.

  • In the past few months, the Trump administration has levied sanctions on numerous CCP officials over human rights violations against Muslims. The sanctions have brought praise from human rights activists but also accusations of hypocrisy due to the Trump administration’s discriminatory policies targeting Muslims


I’m a Muslim and Arab American. Will I Ever Be an Equal Citizen?

By Laila Lalami

“Go back home!” the note said.

As it happened, I was already home, curled up on the sofa and scrolling through notifications on my mobile phone. Earlier that day, I tweeted a snapshot of a handwritten index card someone handed me at a lecture I gave in upstate New York in 2016, asking me what advice I would give to young Muslim Americans who did not feel safe in their communities after that year’s election. I wasn’t sure I had much advice for how to handle that feeling, because at times I struggled with it myself. Perhaps, I thought, others on social media might have something useful to contribute. Instead, a stranger gave that short, blunt reply: “Go where you feel safe. Go back home!”

The sentiment wasn’t new to me. I’d heard it before, and not just from online trolls who believed they had the supreme right to decide who belongs in the United States. Last year, I recoiled in alarm when I watched footage of a protester in the crowd outside a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, yelling at Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan to go back to her country. Tlaib was part of a congressional delegation visiting the detention facility to learn more about the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers under the Trump administration’s family-separation policy. When the representative came out to speak with reporters, someone shouted at her, “We don’t want Muslims here!” That same xenophobic impulse finds its voice each time the president fires another salvo in his ongoing conflict with Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. In the last few months, he has called her “a horrible woman who hates our country” and a “hate-filled, America-bashing socialist.”

Moments like these serve as a reminder to Muslims that our belonging in the United States is not secure but conditional: At the slightest sign of political disagreement, some Americans are eager to deny or revoke our citizenship. Whether we are immigrants, refugees or natural-born citizens, ordinary constituents or members of Congress, we continue to be seen as unwanted latecomers in a “Judeo-Christian nation.”