On World Refugee Day, Muslim family recalls warmer welcome in decades past

srebrenicaDURHAM, N.C. (RNS) — Long before President Trump’s travel ban, barring entry to the U.S. from several mostly Muslim countries, and before millions of Syrians and Iraqis fleeing civil war began flooding Europe and trickling into the U.S., there was another wave of Muslim migration to this county.

Almasa Bass was among them.

She and about 130,000 other Bosnian Muslims, known as Bosniaks, settled in the U.S. as a result of the bloody conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Arriving in Washington state as a teenager alongside her parents and her younger sister, Bass started life anew — learning a new language and a new culture and adopting a new national identity.

On World Refugee Day (June 20), established by the United Nations to draw attention to the plights of the world’s 68.5 million displaced people (about 25 million are refugees), Bass is grateful to President Clinton and the U.S. for providing her family refuge and a home.

But she looks around with sadness at the difference 20-plus years have wrought.

“When we came here we felt welcomed. We never felt any vitriol, and to this day I never felt any animosity because of who I am,” said Bass, 41, who now lives in Durham, N.C., with her husband and 8-year-old son.

Trump has slashed the total number of refugees who will be admitted into the U.S., from 110,000 in fiscal 2017 — a bar set by former President Obama — to 45,000 in fiscal 2018, which started in October.

He has pushed for a crackdown on asylum seekers, a reduction in immigrant visas and the construction of a border wall. His “zero-tolerance” policy calls for criminal prosecution of all those caught illegally crossing the border. And in recent weeks he separated parents and children at the border.

It’s part of a larger post-World War II rethinking about refugees and other migrants happening not only in the United States but across Europe, too, said Niklaus Steiner, director of the Center for Global Initiatives at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION NEWS SERVICE 

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Islam is an American religion too, Mr. President

la-1528926282-7g54hgucfx-snap-imageThursday night is Eid, when followers of Islam gather together with friends and neighbors to celebrate the end of Ramadan, a month of daily fasting.

Since 1996, when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton began the tradition, the White House has hosted an “iftar” — the daily fast-breaking dinner — during Ramadan. It has been a staple of both Republican and Democratic administrations, an opportunity to celebrate Ramadan with the American Muslim community, the leaders of its civic groups, its imams, its writers, artists and entertainers.

But not in the Trump administration. President Trump, whose animosity towards Islam and the Muslim community is well documented, didn’t host an iftar at all last year. This year, he honored the tradition with a dinner on June 6. But the representatives of American Muslim groups were not invited to the White House. Instead of community and religious leaders from across the United States, the guests included foreign ambassadors and dignitaries from Muslim-majority countries. It was as if the president hosted a White House Seder but with no American Jews invited.

In his remarks at the dinner, Trump avoided Ramadan’s devotional message of reflection and sacrifice. He used the occasion to reminisce about his visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he received a hero’s welcome and made deals that have fomented more enmity in the region, particularly between Iran and the Saudis.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE LA TIMES 

How Trump stirred controversy in Nigeria

Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari became the first president from sub-Saharan Africa to visit Donald Trump’s White House on Monday. But even after they neatly avoided Mr Trump’s alleged comments about “shithole” African countries, the US president managed to stir controversy in Nigeria, writes the BBC’s Stephanie Hegarty from Lagos.

_101115295_beb3e7c1-df0f-4f9a-9f4b-c307cc84940dPerhaps warning bells rang when Mr Trump started off asking Mr Buhari how he was getting on with “that Boca Haram”, a reference to militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

But then again, maybe that slip of the tongue was predictable.

Less so was what he said next, as the former reality television star weighed in on the conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria’s Middle Belt – or the way in which he would frame it.

“We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria,” Mr Trump said. “We are going to be working on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen.”

‘Genocide’?

The US president showed little understanding of a very complicated and intensely politicised crisis – one which has a battle between nomadic cattle herders and settled farmer over access to land and grazing rights at its centre.

But perhaps it should not come as any surprise. Mr Trump has always been quick to jump to the defence of Christians in conflicts such as Syria and Iraq and comments like this play well to his base among Evangelical Christians in the US.

But his point of view also plays into popular feeling among some Nigerian Christian groups.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BBC 

The blue Muslim wave: American Muslims launch political campaigns, hope to deliver ‘sweet justice’ to Trump

Fayaz Nawabi has never met President Trump. But he credits the president with convincing him to run for office.

Nawabi, a 31-year-old candidate for San Diego City Council, supports almost everything that Trump opposes: He is pro-affordable housing, pro-environment, pro-immigrant and pro-refugee. That makes him part of the blue wave of new liberal candidates spurred to run by Trump’s election and policies.

But Nawabi is also part of a notable subset: the blue Muslim wave.

Although their number seems small, the candidacies mark an unprecedented rise for the nation’s diverse Muslim community that typically has been underrepresented in American politics.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

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.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

Islam in America

Ten years ago, Rageh Omaar embarked on a unique journey across the United States to reveal the truly surprising, counter-intuitive, and little-known world of Islam in America.

From the major conurbations of New York City and Chicago, to the small town hinterlands of Texas and the west, Al Jazeera pulled together the history of Islam in the US and painted a vivid portrait of a vibrant, diverse and growing group of followers of Islam that is unlike any Muslim community in the world.

Since then, much has changed globally, with the rise of ISIL, and in the US, with the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of “the free world”. Among the numerous controversial decisions that have come to pass under the Trump administration is what has come to be known as the Muslim travel ban – a law temporarily barring entry to the US for travellers from six different Muslim-majority countries.

FULL ARTICLE  FROM AL JAZEERA  (VIDEO LINK ABOVE) 

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.

FULL ARTICLE FROM GLOBAL RESEARCH