Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick to replace Tillerson, has long worried Muslim advocates

TUITMLZBUEYO3NSHTPOQTLFWSEMike Pompeo, the former Kansas lawmaker and CIA director President Trump unveiled Tuesday as his pick to run the State Department, has long worried Muslims and human rights groups for his sweeping statements about Islam.

There have been rumors for months that Trump would do what he did Tuesday — fire Rex Tillerson and replace him with Pompeo — and Muslim leaders and their allies have expressed concern about Pompeo’s singling out of and suspicious posture toward Muslim Americans. Pompeo has been honored by and has appeared with U.S. advocacy groups that have criticized Islam.

After the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, Pompeo — then a member of Congress — falsely accused American Muslim organizations of not condemning terrorism. Despite a steady stream of such condemnations since the Sept. 11 attacks — including many in the hours after the Boston attacks — Pompeo accused American Muslims of being “potentially complicit.” On the House floor, weeks after the Boston attacks, he said condemnations hadn’t been sufficient. “It casts doubt on the commitment to peace by adherents of the Muslim faith.”



Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump

pence_0US President Donald Trump received another setback last week when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Richmond, Virginia, ruled against the latest version of his Muslim ban. In its ruling, the court stated that the ban is “unconstitutionally tainted with animus towards Islam” and that its central purpose is “to exclude Muslims from the United States.” Despite the ruling, “Muslim Ban 3.0” will remain in effect while the Supreme Court considers the case. 

The decision by the Fourth Circuit has been cautiously welcomed by Muslims, many of whom have endured prolonged separation from their loved ones as a result of the ban.The Muslim ban has always been a reactionary gimmick aimed at shoring up the most backward elements of Trump’s political base and whipping up anti-Muslim hysteria in the country.  It was clearly designed to reinforce the bogus notion that Muslim-Americans and Muslim immigrants constitute a unique threat to “national security.”

The consistent, calculated attempt by Trump and his supporters to portray ordinary Muslims as potential security threats has had a devastating impact on Muslim-Americans, contributing to an increase in hate crimes against Muslims and fostering a general climate of fear and uncertainty within the community.  There are also indications that the government is planning a further crackdown on the democratic rights of Muslims, with increased surveillance of Muslim communities in the works. Indeed, reports from around the country this month demonstrate how the US is increasingly becoming hostile territory for Muslims.


US court says Trump travel ban unlawfully discriminates against Muslims

Trump Travel Ban

Muslim and civil rights groups and their supporters gather at a rally against what they call a “Muslim ban” in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries violates the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday in another legal setback for the policy.

The Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on a 9-4 vote, became the second federal appeals court to rule against the ban, finding that the Republican president’s own words demonstrated that bias against Muslims was the basis of the policy.

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the ban, put in place by Trump with a presidential proclamation in September, to go into effect while litigation challenging it continues.

The 4th Circuit ruling went further than the earlier decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found the ban violated federal immigration law but did not address the question of whether it also violated the Constitution. The Supreme Court already has said it will consider both issues in deciding the legality of the ban in the coming months.

The justices are due in April to hear arguments over the ban and issue a ruling by the end of June.


Trump’s Travel Ban Attacks The Very Idea Of America, But Muslims Are Fighting Back

5a6b46e32d00004900942e29As a newly arrived immigrant from Syria in the late ’80s, I took English as a Second Language classes in middle school. One of our teachers, Mrs. Wolf, would often tell us that America is a melting pot of people, where everyone has the same right to live in peace and pursue prosperity and happiness.

In graduate school, where I studied U.S. foreign policy, a professor stressed that what made the United States more powerful than a rising China was not military or economic might, but its character as a nation. It was, he lectured, the shared commitment to values and ideals that led to our clout.

Then I became a U.S. diplomat, a job in which reverence for and defense of these values were a necessary part of my day-to-day work. In negotiations with foreign counterparts, often representatives of authoritarian regimes, it was clear to all that I was representing not only the American people, but the principles of democracy and liberties that we cherish.

From awestruck child arriving in this great country to adult who had the privilege of representing it abroad, it was drilled into me, in both words and deeds: America is as much an idea as it is a place.

On the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s travel ban ― and the tumultuousracistxenophobic leadership we’ve seen since ― it’s clear that this idea, a pluralistic society driven by equality, is under considerable threat.


Interfaith demonstrators form human chain around Muslims in prayer as they protest Trump travel ban

muslims-pray-washington-square-park-protestFaith groups protested on Friday against ongoing efforts by the Trump administration to institute a ban on travel by residents of a number of Muslim-majority countries.

The demonstration in New York’s Washington Square Park took place a year after Donald Trump‘s first executive order setting out the ban, which has been blocked by the courts.

The US Supreme Court has agreed to decide the legality of the latest version of Mr Trump’s ban, which affects residents from six countries instead of the original seven.

It pits an administration that considers the restrictions necessary for Americans’ security against challengers who claim it is illegally aimed at Muslims and stems from Mr Trump’s campaign call for a “complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the US.

The policy blocks entry into the US of most people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.


One year after the travel ban, I am not your American Muslim

Imam Omar Suleiman is the founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and an adjunct professor of Islamic studies in the graduate liberal studies program at Southern Methodist University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

633056120.0.jpgDallas (CNN)The last detainee at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was Jesus. Not the one that Christians and Muslims revere, but a 33-year-old man named Issa (“Jesus,” in Arabic), who once was a military contractor for the US Army in his native Iraq.

I know, because I was there at the airport that day — January 29 — nearly a year ago.
Of all the detainees held over those few tumultuous days, this one evoked the most sympathy and shame. How could a handicapped man named after possibly the most famous refugee in history, who served this country in war, now be turned away from that same country in the name of “security”?

An American Muslim imam reflects on Trump’s first year in office

Mr Donald Trump’s inauguration took place on a Friday, the weekly holy day for Muslims. I’d been dreading it: We would have a new president, one who had threatened to shut down mosques and bar Muslims from entering the country. I knew I had to say something to make people feel better about it.

I’m an imam at the Islamic Institute of Orange County. The members of my congregation here were worried: How would their lives change? Would Mr Trump follow through on his promises?

ST_20180122_NYTTRUMP_3704520As I prepared myself to head to the mosque that morning, I recalled the sermon I gave three days after the election. In November, the community was panicking. People regularly asked: “Sheikh Mustafa, is it time we leave this country?” One friend from the mosque told me sadly: “I can’t live anywhere else.” I told him that a Muslim prepares for the worst but hopes and prays for the best.

Islam teaches us that life is a test of obedience to God and I counselled my community to view Mr Trump’s election as a test of our patience: God wanted to see if we would endure this challenge, or fall into complaining and despair. Islam and the Quran teach us that when we encounter a challenge, we should try to benefit from it. The election, I hoped, could lead us to strive to be better as individuals and to improve society.

Just a few hours after Mr Trump was inaugurated, I stood before a crowd of about 2,000 Muslims from all walks of life, young and old, native-born Americans and immigrants from some two dozen countries.

I reminded them that being a Muslim is about good character. We Muslims shouldn’t allow harsh words to get under our skin. We must not insult people who insult us because of our religion – and we must always be on our best behaviour.