Anti-Muslim, Anti-Refugee Rhetoric Poses a Big Threat to Our Communities

58cc424b2c00003b00fef053By Mohamed Abdulkadir Ali

Wednesday saw a significant blow to the Trump administration’s attempts to institute a Muslim ban. A Federal Judge in Hawaii struck down a revised travel ban, saying it was driven by “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus” as evidenced by comments made by the administration and Trump himself. As a Somali-American living and working in a large refugee community, this animus has long been apparent and has deeply affected me and those in my community.

Since the launch of his presidential campaign two years ago, Donald Trump seemed to have a particularly virulent animus toward us Somalis. In stops in Minneapolis, and Lewiston, all home to large Somali refugee populations, he referred to Somalis as a “disaster” to the communities they moved to, as a dangerous threat to their neighbors, and as potential terrorists. This was underscored by repeated calls to prevent Muslims from entering the country, warnings of the dangers of Muslim refugees, and denunciations of Islam as an enemy of America.  Many in our community called it hate.

Why does he hate us” was an often repeated question.

When the executive order was announced in January, it was clear to many of us that its creation was driven by this hatred.  Statements of securing our nation and preventing a terrorist threat, many of them baseless, could not cloak that this order was an amalgamation of Trump’s unique brand of cheap jingoism, xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia.  We were being targeted, because of our nationality, of the color of our skin, and of our religion. When the second version of the order was released, despite attempts to “water down” language targeting Muslims, it could not sterilize the intent. Two years of anti-Muslim speeches and rhetoric are well documented and videos of him railing against refugees and Muslims can be easily found on Youtube.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

 

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Trump’s talk — ‘Muslim ban,’ ‘Islam hates us’ — comes back to bite him in court again

trump-immigrationGoing into the latest court battle over President Trump’s revised travel ban, government lawyers were well aware that the administration’s incendiary — many say bigoted — rhetoric about Muslims would be a liability.

Before the initial executive order was even issued, opponents had pulled together a list of public statements by Trump and his surrogates calling for a “Muslim ban” and blaming Islam for the nation’s problems. The states that challenged the order in court did the same, saying the remarks were evidence that the administration intended to discriminate against Muslims.

In response, the government’s lawyers asked a federal judge to, effectively, look the other way. Instead of focusing on Trump’s past remarks, they argued, the judge should only consider the plain language of the revised order in deciding whether it violated the Constitution.

But in his blistering opinion Wednesday freezing the new travel ban, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson said statements by Trump and his senior advisers were precisely what called its legality into question.

“These plainly-worded statements, made in the months leading up to and contemporaneous with the signing of the Executive Order, and, in many cases, made by the Executive himself, betray the Executive Order’s stated secular purpose,” Watson wrote.

FULL ARTICLE AND VIDEO FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

Standing With Our Muslim Neighbors: How You Can Be An Ally

RallySign_RefugeesMuslims-2Americans United partnered with the Bridge Initiative yesterday to host a Facebook Live discussion, “Standing With Our Muslim Neighbors.”

As reports continue that President Donald J. Trump any day could issue a new executive order restricting Muslim immigration and that anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate groups are increasing, we wanted to offer some practical suggestions on how you can be a good ally to the Muslim community.

“We know that Islamophobia has been extremely visible since the Muslim ban was announced,” said Erin Hagen, AU’s field associate, who emceed the discussion. “But [it] has long been present in the United States, and we really have a lot of work ahead of us to fight back against it.”

Kristin Garrity Şekerci, a research fellow with Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, offered several resources for how non-Muslims can learn more about Islam and how they can support the Muslim community.

“For me, I think the most important thing you can do and the best place to start is education, education, education,” said Sekerci.

Şekerci recommended reviewing the statistics on hate crimes against Muslims to understand the prejudice they face and looking to organizations that offer resources for combatting Islamophobia. Among them is the Bridge Initiative, which is based at Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding; it combines research into Islamophobia with methods for addressing prejudice against the religion.

Other resources she suggested include South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT); Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC); the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU); the Center for American Progress; and the FBI’s Hate Crimes division.

Beyond that, Şekerci said getting to know Muslims is key: “You’re more likely to have more favorable views about Islam and Muslims if you know a Muslim personally.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM AMERICANS UNITED WEBSITE 

Trump could learn a thing or two about freedom and democracy from Islam

TOPIX_Trump_Travel_Ban_Protest_48816.jpg-e3483From his hateful tweets and provocative rhetoric to his “new” executive order banning Muslims and refugees all over again, President Trump is driven by the idea that Islam is a threat to what makes us American.

Trump has declared that “Islam hates us.” “There is,” he says, “an unbelievable hatred.” Stephen K. Bannon, one of his chief advisers, claims that “we are in an outright war against … Islam” and doubts whether“Muslims that are shariah-adherent can actually be part of a society where you have the rule of law and … are a democratic republic.” He believes Islam is “much darker” than Nazism and seems to agree with HUD Secretary Ben Carson that “Islam is a religion of domination.”

But Trump and his administration could learn a thing or two about American values such as freedom and equality from the religion and people they so hate.

In Islam’s founding story, after Muhammad’s death, it was unclear who would lead the nascent Muslim community. Typically, succession disputes make for great drama. This one, however, was more C-SPAN than “Game of Thrones.” Rather than intrigue or bloodshed, the believers pursued democracy. Only by the people’s consent, they reckoned, could a ruler justly be named and a community freely governed. They chose Abu Bakr, one of Muhammad’s companions. His inauguration speech, according to one of Muhammad’s earliest biographers Ibn Ishaq, was brief (though we’re not sure how big the crowd was). It went something like this: “I’m no better than any of you. Only obey me if I do right. Otherwise, resist me. Loyalty means speaking truth. Flattery is treason. No human, but God alone is your lord.”

Abu Bakr sought to guard the people against domination by making himself accountable to them. The people obliged, securing their liberty. They could call him out at any time, and he had to listen. He even had to ask their permission for new clothes. His successor Umar carried the legacy forward. Publicly rebuked by a woman for overstepping the law, Umar responded: “That woman is right, and I am wrong! It seems that all people have deeper wisdom and insight than me.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

Don’t Be Fooled, Trump’s New Muslim Ban Is Still Illegal

06khera-smithWeb-master768President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries experienced nearly universal defeat in the federal courts. On Monday, he issued a revised version of that order, but it still suffers from a fundamental, and fatal, flaw: It constitutes unlawful religious discrimination.

On the surface, this revised order looks different from the first version. It explicitly exempts Iraq from the travel ban, thus reducing the number of affected countries to six, as well as lawful permanent residents (that is, green card holders) and people who have visas. It no longer categorically bars Syrian refugees or includes a religious test to determine which refugees may enter the country. And in a marked departure from the earlier order, it goes into effect in 10 days, so that the chaos that unfolded in airports around the world when the January order became effective presumably won’t happen again.

These changes are, no doubt, intended to address the due process concerns that led the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to affirm a lower-court ruling that put a hold on part of the original order. But while these changes are important, they do not fix the core problem with the executive order: The administration is waging an all-out assault on Islam and Muslims.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban 2.0’ is still the same flawed, un-American mess

gettyimages-578547204_1Trump Muslim ban take two!  Or you could call it a kinder, gentler Muslim ban.  But make no mistake:  It is a Muslim ban, no matter how much the Trump administration tries to wrap it in better legal reasoning, more docile language, and ribbon that screams national security.

Trump and his Muslim ban still have a huge uphill battle waiting for him simply because truth, reality, facts, his own quotes, and a country who yearns to uphold American values, are not on his side.

Let’s break down the difficulties Trump will face starting immediately:

 First and foremost, and incredibly damning, are the reports that intelligence analysts from Trump’s own DHS agency dispute Trump’s notion that these countries that are part of the ban pose a major threat to our national security.  They found scant evidence that citizens from these countries are a danger to us.

In fact, DHS found that additional vetting before entry won’t make us safer because most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists become radicalized after living in the U.S. for a number of years rather than being radicalized when they first arrive.

Second, there is still that pesky fact that, from 9/11 through today, no immigrant or refugee from the countries included in the Muslim ban has ever successfully perpetrated a terror attack on U.S. soil that resulted in any deaths of American citizens.

FULL ARTICLE FROM POLITICO

On being Muslim in Trump’s America

ct-muslims-islam-trump-religion-culture-perspe-001I am a Muslim. I do not pray. I do not fast during Ramadan. I drink alcohol and eat pork. I do not believe in God. But I identify as a Muslim. Islam is a large part of the world I grew up in; it is inseparable from home.

The world in which I grew up in Lebanon included practicing and nonpracticing Muslims. It also included many Christians. But my family is Muslim; so is our culture. Extended family celebrations often revolved around the Eids, for which we would buy new clothes and meet for elaborate lunches, the children excitedly hoping for money, the Eidiyya, from the grown-ups. During Ramadan, we met our cousins, many of whom fasted the whole month, for iftar, breaking the fast with them as soon as the muezzin finished his prayer.

When I think back on my grandmothers, I often remember them praying in a calm, naturally lit room in the back of the house. I would catch a glimpse of them through an open door, white translucent veils running down their shoulders, kneeling down on the prayer mat, murmuring words that intrigued me and that I longed to learn.

I never learned the prayers, but I listened to many stories from Islamic history told by my father, often refracted through the great Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun, whom my father liked to read and quote: deeds of the prophet, his relationship to his companions, the passing of political authority to the caliphs, the struggles that ensued. But I also learned the stories of the caliphs, and especially of the Shiite Imams Hassan and Hussein, at funerals, in which professional readers would recount them in a tearful voice, slowly rising up in pitch, until it turned into cries, sending the mourners into uncontrollable sobs.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE