Study finds US ‘Muslim ban’ led to decrease in healthcare access

When the controversial US ‘Muslim Ban’ was signed in 2017, Muslim visits to emergency departments and appointments decreased – highlighting a connection between immigration rhetoric and healthcare access

When it comes to immigration policy, the rhetoric around a minority targeted by the change can also impact those who are already citizens in the US. Non-citizens and citizens who were harmed by the ‘Muslim ban’ are both equally important, but in this Minneapolis-based study researchers looked at how openly negative representation of a group can lead to that community fearing interactions with authorities. Even healthcare professionals.

In 2017, healthcare visits from Muslims with heritage in the countries banned from entering the US by Executive Order decreased. This included people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The decrease in healthcare access ranged from primary care appointments to emergency room trips.

This decreased notably followed an already marked increase in visits, which began in November 2016 following an election season characterised by significant anti-immigrant rhetoric.

‘Immigration policies’ impact ‘people living here in the US’

“It’s clear that U.S. immigration policies can have significant effects on the health of people living here in the U.S.,” said Dr Elizabeth Samuels, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School.

“In this case, we saw a rise in emergency department visits among people from nations targeted in the ban as well as a rise in missed appointments from people from Muslim majority countries not named in the ban. I think that that’s indicative of the kind of rippling health effects these types of policies can have.”

The authors believe that changes in healthcare access reflect elevated stress levels, due to an increasingly anti-Muslim climate in the US.

FULL ARTICLE FROM OPENACCESSGOV.ORG

Drawing from two worlds, immigrant dads share their experiences for Father’s Day

or immigrant men, fathering is drawn from two worlds – a mix of their upbringings in their home countries and lives in the United States.

Sharing lessons from their own lives are ways fathers connect with their children. For immigrant dads, that can mean sharing their journey to the U.S. and their earlier experiences back home.

About 1 in 14 Pennsylvania residents was an immigrant as of August, according to American Immigration Council.  And 8.98% of Bucks County residents were born outside the U.S. as of 2018, according to Data USA. 

Immigrant fathers juggle assimilating into American culture while passing along the traditions and values of their home countries to their children.

We spoke to three Bucks County dads about what it means to be an immigrant father in 2021, and to their children about what their dads mean to them.

Passing along ‘nuggets’ of culture

Perkasie resident Fabio Sciarrino was 8 years old when he emigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1986. Coming from a lower middle-class background in Sicily, his parents moved for better opportunities for education and employment.

Fabio Sciarrino and his children (from left) Lorenzo, 4, Cristian, 11, Giuliana, 7, and Matteo, 4, in their Perkasie home on Saturday, June 12, 2021.

“The understanding was, we’re all coming here collectively and individually to find better opportunities for ourselves,” Sciarrino said.

His family moved to Montgomery County, where Sciarrino attended school and faced prejudice. His principal at the time suggested he learn English separately from other students because “she was afraid that I would be a negative influence” if students heard his accent.

Sciarrino went on to be the first in his family to graduate from college and become an attorney – a job he didn’t think he’d have the opportunity to do as his parents and siblings worked in blue collar jobs.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE COURIER TIMES (BUCKS COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA)

Supreme Court to rule on FBI’s move to block Muslim civil rights suit

The case involves the FBI’s use of an informant who posed as a convert to Islam after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and attended mosques in California.

June 7, 2021, 12:25 PM EDTBy Pete Williams

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to take up the federal government’s claim that allowing a civil rights lawsuit filed by Muslims in California to proceed would reveal secrets that could damage national security.

The case involves the FBI’s use of an informant who posed as a convert to Islam after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and attended mosques for more than a year in Orange County. According to the lawsuit, he struck up conversations and attended meetings and lectures, sometimes secretly recording them.

The effort “explicitly targeted Muslims because of their religion,” violating their religious freedom, a lawyer for the Muslims told the Supreme Court.

“The explicit purpose of this operation was to gather information on Muslims in Orange County — not terrorists, spies, or even ordinary criminals, but Muslims,” they said.

Pete’s primer: Breaking down the 3 major upcoming SCOTUS decisions

MAY 28, 202103:23

The Justice Department moved to block the suit in federal court by asserting the state secrets privilege, which courts have recognized for more than a hundred years. Revealing evidence about whether any particular person was the subject of an FBI counter-terrorism investigation, “the reasons for any such investigation, and the particular sources and methods used” would harm national security, government lawyers said in their Supreme Court submission.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NBC NEWS

Muslim Americans on finding love as third-culture-kids-turned-adults

“Some Muslims are looking for that magical middle. How can you … find that halal love and have everything our society tells us — that it’s full of passion and you’ll find your soulmate?” one chaplain said.

May 28, 2021, 3:53 PM EDTBy Sakshi Venkatraman

When Mariam Mokhtar, 21, started taking karate classes for fun with her little brothers, she expected to get exercise and learn self-defense, not to meet her future husband. Mokhtar and Rai Shaw were both in high school at the time, and they became friends through the class.

“We were doing karate for years,” she said. “We’d see each other like every week, and, you know, it starts off as nothing, and then you become friends because you see them all the time. And then yeah, things just developed from there.”

A year after they met, he knew he wanted to marry her. She wasn’t so sure. 

“One day he was like, ‘I love you,’” Mokhtar said. “And I was like, ‘Uhhhh.’”

As a young woman hoping to find a partner one day, Mokhtar said she had always been searching for a middle ground between the traditions of their parents’ Muslim culture and the world of her non-Muslim peers. Western media and even Bollywood portray romance one way, but Muslim American couples and chaplains say the way they often meet, fall in love and eventually decide to get married are usually misunderstood or not told at all. 

“A lot of young Muslims are trying to navigate their story of love between traditional cultures that their parents may come from and their newly found American culture,” Imam Sohaib Sultan, a longtime chaplain at Princeton University who died in April, told NBC Asian America in February.

That made it hard for Mokhtar to be sure of what she wanted. Though she loved him too, they were so young and still had college ahead of them. And because of her faith, she didn’t really want to date in the way her non-Muslim peers did. 

FULL ARTICLE FROM NBC NEWS

NBC’s ‘Transplant’ Makes Audiences Reevaluate Muslims in Lead Roles

TRANSPLANT — “The Only Way Out Is Through” Episode 113 — Pictured: Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed — (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC)

hmad Meree didn’t feel represented onscreen, especially in North America. The Syrian actor and playwright is one of several changing the game with NBC and Sphere Media’s medical drama, “Transplant.” The series, which originally aired on Canada’s CTV, follows Syrian refugee Bashir Hamed (Hamza Haq) who comes to Canada and becomes an emergency room doctor.

“Transplant,” the recent honoree at the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Media Awards, has been a labor of love for its cast, series showrunner Joseph Kay, and production company Sphere Media. For executive producer Tara Woodbury, the series held a personal connection for her; her brother-in-law is a refugee who’d relocated to a new country. “I shared with him [Kay] a bit of my brother-in-law’s story and, at the same time, Canada was going through the process of trying to figure out how to help 40,000 Syrian refugees in a short amount of time,” Woodbury told IndieWire.

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For both Woodbury and Meree, there was a desire to change the perceptions of how Muslims, specifically Muslim men, were portrayed. Each mentioned that the depictions they had seen before tended to emphasize Muslim men as terrorists or religious zealots. The discussion of prayer, and how Bashir looks at religion, was a particular discussion topic for Meree when he was brought onto the show as a cultural consultant.

FULL ARTICLE FROM INDIE WIRE

Blatant Racism Against Muslims is Still With Us

By Nadine Naber | March 3, 2021

Sarah Ijaz joins the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder – RTSXY60

Shortly after his inauguration, President Joe Biden reversed former President’s Donald Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban, stating those actions are a stain on our national conscience.” This stance aligns with that of the tens of thousands of protesters who, at the time the first Muslim Travel Ban was enacted in January 2017, took to the streets and to airports across the country with slogans such as, “We are all Immigrants,” “Standing with Muslims against Islamophobia,” and “Stop Hatred against Muslims.” To be sure, the Muslim Travel Ban is a racist policy. It seeks to keep out or deport people perceived to be Muslim based upon the racist assumption that “they” are violent potential terrorist enemies of the U.S. nation. The ban was an executive order that prevented individuals from primarily Muslim countries, and later, from many African countries, from entering the United States.

Yet ending the Muslim Ban only scratches the surface of a much larger problem. If progressives really want to end anti-Muslim racism, we are going to need a more radical approach, that requires, as Angela Davis reminds us, “grasping things at the root.” The root cause of the Muslim Ban is anti-Muslim racism, which has many roots. Europeans perceived Islam and Muslims as a barbaric threat ever since its arrival in the 7th century. White Christian supremacist thought perceived “Islam” as a threat when Black people found within it liberatory possibilities in the context of the transatlantic slave trade and far beyond.  Contemporary anti-Muslim racism grew especially out of the post-Cold War period when the U.S. began launching its imperialist wars in the Arab region and growing its unconditional support for Israeli settler-colonialism. Out of this context, anti-Muslim racism, based on the idea that all Palestinians and Arabs are Muslim and all Muslims are potential terrorists, was institutionalized through domestic and global policies and the U.S. corporate media’s rhetoric. 

After the U.S. first confirmed its alliance with Israel in 1967,  U.S. government and media rhetoric portrayed Palestinians Arabs and Muslims as terrorist enemies.  At this time, the FBI began harassing and stifling the voices of Arab students and activists based upon this racist logic. In the 1980s, seven Palestinians and one Kenyan were placed into deportation proceedings for enacting free speech rights. Their case, referred to as the L.A. 8, revealed a secret plan to intern Arab Americans. The period of the first Iraq war brought President Bill  Clinton’s Omnibus Counterterrorism Bill, introduced by then-Sen. Joe Biden, granting the U.S. government the power to deport individuals based upon secret evidence. A form of racial profiling, the U.S. used this bill to target primarily Arab Muslim men. The post-9-11 era consolidated the racial profiling of people perceived to be Muslim in the U.S. through airport profilingsurveillance of Muslim communities, detention, deportations, special registration of immigrants, and much more. All along, the racist idea of the “Muslim terrorist enemy” has justified the war on terror abroad and legitimized the racial profiling of Muslims in the U.S. as an extension of this war. 

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHICAGO REPORTER

Muslims in America: A forgotten history

For more than 300 years, Muslims have influenced the story of the US – from the ‘founding fathers’ to blues music today.

By Sylviane A Diouf10 Feb 2021

In the summer of 1863, newspapers in North Carolina announced the death of “a venerable African”, referred to, in a paternalistic manner, as “Uncle Moreau”.

Omar ibn Said, a Muslim, was born in 1770 in Senegal and by the time of his death, he had been enslaved for 56 years. In 2021, Omar, an opera about his life, will premiere at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.KEEP READING‘Fascist storm troopers’: Racist police violence in 1940s AmericaKnow your history: Understanding racism in the USAnalysis: Toppling racist statues makes space for radical change

Muslims are usually thought of as 20th-century immigrants to the US, yet for well over three centuries, African Muslims like Omar were a familiar presence. They had grown up in Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria where Islam was known since the 8th century and spread in the early 1000s.

Estimates vary, but they were at least 900,000 out of the 12.5 million Africans taken to the Americas. Among the 400,000 Africans who spent their lives enslaved in the United States, tens of thousands were Muslims.

Though they were a minority among the enslaved population, Muslims were acknowledged like no other community. Slaveholders, travellers, journalists, scholars, diplomats, writers, priests and missionaries wrote about them. Founder of Georgia James Oglethorpe, Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State Henry Clay, author of the US national anthem Francis Scott Key, and portraitist of the Founding Fathers Charles W Peale were acquainted with some of them.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA

Legacy Of Travel Ban Will Be Hard For Biden To Erase

President-elect Biden has pledged to quickly end the Trump administration’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries. But immigrant advocates say the lasting effects of policy will be harder to undo.

NOEL KING, HOST:

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign a bunch of executive orders when he takes office tomorrow, including one rolling back the so-called travel ban on immigrants from majority-Muslim countries. But that policy’s legacy won’t be easy to erase. Here’s NPR’s Joel Rose.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: After fleeing civil war in Syria, Haitham Dalati and his wife made it to the U.S. in early 2017. They hoped their daughter and her family would soon follow. But when I talked to Haitham Dalati a year later, the rest of the family was still stuck in Lebanon.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

HAITHAM DALATI: This is so horrible for us. So I don’t know now whether America is good or bad.

ROSE: Dalati and his wife got into the U.S. during a brief window when the first version of President Trump’s travel ban was put on hold. In the months that followed, legal battles raged until the Supreme Court ultimately upheld a slimmed-down version of the ban. It wasn’t until November of last year, though, that Dalati’s daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren were finally allowed in as refugees.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Non-English language spoken).

ROSE: The family hugged and wept at the airport gate in Pennsylvania. When we spoke again this month, Dalati said he sees America with new eyes.

DALATI: Much better than before when my daughter is with me with her children and husband. Really, it’s another America.

FULL TRANSCRIPT AND AUDIO INTERVIEW FROM NPR FOUND HERE

Supreme Court says Muslims placed on no-fly list can sue FBI agents for damages

  • The Supreme Court ruled in favor of three Muslim men who said they were placed or kept on the government’s no-fly list in retaliation for refusing to serve as terrorism informants for the FBI.
  • The court wrote in a unanimous opinion that the men may sue individual FBI agents for money damages under a federal law protecting religious exercise.
  • Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act “permits litigants, when appropriate, to obtain money damages against federal officials in their individual capacities.”

The SupremeCourt ruled Thursday in favor of three Muslim men who say they were placed or kept on the government’s no-fly list in retaliation for refusing to serve as terrorism informants for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The court wrote in a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Clarence Thomas that Muhammad Tanvir, Jameel Algibhah and Naveed Shinwari may sue individual FBI agents for money damages under a federal law protecting religious exercise.

Thomas wrote in the brief opinion that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act “permits litigants, when appropriate, to obtain money damages against federal officials in their individual capacities.” Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the newest member of the court, did not participate in the case.

The case was one of four decided on Thursday morning, among the first decisions in the current term, which will end over the summer. All of the cases were decided unanimously. The court did not take any action on two Republican challenges before it concerning the 2020 election, including Texas’ effort to overturn President Donald Trump’s loss in four battleground states.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CNBC.COM

The Power of Storytelling: Creating a New Future for American Muslims

By Wajahat Ali

In 7th-century Arabia, the storyteller was valued more than the swordsman. The audience sat on the floor surrounding the gifted orator as he captivated the eager listeners with beautiful poetry narrating their history. In the 21st century, the art form may have evolved to include motion pictures, TV shows, theater productions, novels, and standup comedy, but they all serve the same function: storytelling.

Ideas and principles are most effectively communicated and transmitted when they are couched in a narrative. Stories, whether they concern the etiquette and biography of prophets or the trials and tribulations of America’s founding fathers, inform and influence a cultural citizenry of its values and identity.

Stories of the Prophet Muhammad most effectively communicate the Quran’s eloquent exhortation to tolerate and embrace diversity: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise [each other])” (49:13).  The Prophet’s cordial diplomacy and communication with the Christian, Abyssinian King yielded one of the first alliances of the young Muslim community. Furthermore, the Prophet displayed unconditional love for his diverse companions, who comprised the gamut of Arab society including former slaves, orphans, widows, wealthy dignitaries, and non-Arabs. 

Similarly, the story of a biracial man with an Arabic name and a Kenyan father elected to the highest office in the land reminds the world that indeed America can live up to its cherished principles of freedom and racial equality, and her citizens are capable of reflecting a magnanimous and egalitarian spirit bereft of prejudice.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS