Earlier this month, federal judges in Seattle, WA suspended President Trump’s travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries, stating that it violated a Constitutional clause which prohibits religious discrimination. American leaders and world leaders alike voiced their objections to the ban along with all those who protested online, at airports, in the streets, and with their wallets.
In last Thursday’s press conference, Trump stated his intention to roll out another similar travel ban.
I want to add my voice to counter-terrorism experts and others who have argued that banning, shunning, threatening, discriminating against, or harming Muslims not only violates basic human rights, but actively hurts our efforts to fight violent extremism.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright:
“…it endangers our troops in the field because that has made it much more difficult for them to operate and to have people to work with. It also disrupts our counterterrorism and national security partnerships because countries do not wish to cooperate with us. And then it really helps ISIL’s propaganda effort and really serves as a recruitment message.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer:
“Taking in immigrants and refugees is not only humanitarian but has also boosted our economy and created jobs decade after decade. This is one of the most backward and nasty executive orders that the president has issued.”
President of Interfaith Youth Core Eboo Patel:
“I’m standing in a building right now where I am looking up at the Sears Tower, which was designed by Fazlur Rahman Khan… What if we had barred Russians from America because of the Cold War? Who would have invented Google?”
Google, after setting up a $4 million crisis fund for employees and others affected by the travel ban:
“We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US… We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.”
And I will repeat what I wrote in Huffington Post back in 2015:
“Trump plays into the hands of ISIS and in effect serves as their greatest collaborator by preaching that America should deny Muslims their freedom of mind — their freedom of speech, their freedom of association, and their religious liberty — all of which are protected under the First Amendment.”
We need all of our fellow Americans, including Muslims and immigrants to feel connected to our larger society. Let’s not marginalize them or make them feel like they don’t belong here. They do! America thrives because we are a nation of immigrants, and we learn new things from each other.
There are larger undue influence issues at play with these travel bans: Us vs. Them thinking, scapegoat blaming, using fear and anger to manipulate, deliberate misinformation, and more. I am deeply concerned about these totalitarian tactics as well as the human rights issues, and alarmed that the President of the United States is trying to insist on measures that will hurt our national security.
Families, whether Muslim or otherwise, need help and resources if they’re watching a loved one getting radicalized. We cannot afford to push Muslims away with bigoted speech and policy. We’re all in this together.
For more information, please read this BBC article on the travel ban.
You can also check out the ACLU’s tips on how to protect yourself against discrimination if you are a Muslim or an immigrant.