By Dina El-Rifai
I’m a Muslim woman and a social justice advocate.
I’m terrified, heartbroken, and outraged by Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban.” As I watched administrative chaos and rapidly organized protests unfold at airports all over America, I was overwhelmed with messages from friends fearing they’d never be able to see their loved ones again.
Though the executive order doesn’t use these exact words, this is no doubt a Muslim ban.
It’s not just that the countries Trump wants to prohibit immigration from — Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Somalia — are majority-Muslim. It’s that religious minorities (i.e. anyone who isn’t Muslim) from those countries will be prioritized for entry into the U.S.
Refugees, immigrants, and Muslims are human beings — regardless of their age, status, skills, or nation of origin. Many Americans realize this, which is why thousands have turned up at protests to speak out against the ban.
But while they mean well, non-Muslim opponents of the ban still have to be careful not to repeat dangerous stereotypes when pushing back against this extreme action.
For instance, you may have heard that Trump’s order left off the Muslim-majority countries where President Trump has business deals — some of which, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, happen to be where individuals who’ve carried out violent attacks hailed from.
All of that’s true, of course, and there’s value in pointing out Trump’s unprecedented conflicts of interest.
But in reality, Muslims in these countries are the primary victims of extremist violence there. And suggesting that Trump should ban those countries too only encourages broadening the Muslim ban, not ending it.
Another common argument I’ve heard is that Muslim refugees and immigrants strengthen national security by acting as police informants and joining the military, and that this ban could break the bonds of trust that enable those partnerships.
It’s true that Muslims are leading providers of tips to law enforcement agencies investigating “terrorism.” But it’s not like all Muslims are somehow connected to or aware of extremist plots. We’re ordinary people, and we shouldn’t have to be “useful” to law enforcement to deserve fundamental rights.
The narrative link between Islam and violence is used to justify military intervention abroad, which in turn is used to justify suspicion of Muslims at home. Muslims are seen as potential “terrorists,” to the point that the word is popularly linked with Islam — despite repeated horrific acts committed by white men in the U.S. in the name of Christianity or white nationalism.
This stereotyping feeds into increased hate crimes and harassment, as well as profiling and government surveillance of Muslims.
Sadly, Donald Trump isn’t the first president to make things worse for Muslims.
The Obama administration’s wars were often justified through the demonization and dehumanization of Muslims. So were its expansion of the drone program, unwarranted surveillance, militarization of our borders and policing, and record-breaking numbers of deportations.
Trump’s latest action is reminiscent of past immigration bans, and the implications of where we could go from here are terrifying. Scary precedents include the ban on immigration from Asia and the great national shame of Japanese internment.
Only by acknowledging the history of these systems and policies — systems that existed long before Trump took office — can we understand how to resist them today.
Trump’s Muslim ban has already been widely applied, and we can’t ignore the threat of it growing. I, and so many Muslims, recognize this undeniable possibility. We’re not safe. We’re targets here and abroad.
So I’d ask this of my friends and neighbors: Don’t reinforce ideas that paint us as inherently violent and undermine our humanity. Reach out to us, support us, uplift our voices and humanity.
Dina El-Rifai is a Policy Fellow at the American Friends Service Committee.
Ken Dodge says
In truth, temporary halts to immigration are not that uncommon. President Obama did it. President Bush did it. Famously, President Carter did it to Iran. Judging by the hue and cry, though, President Trump has started World War Three! House Speaker Paul Ryan explained the order well. He said: “The President has a responsibility to the security of this country…. I support the refugee resettlement program. We’re a generous country; it’s important. But we can be generous and watch our national security at the same time. We need to pause and we need to make sure that the vetting standards are up to snuff so we can guarantee the safety and security of our country.” President Trump told the press at the Pentagon, “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.”
Only a couple of hundred immigrants were briefly detained while their paperwork was confirmed. No one was detained permanently. However, thousands were inconvenienced. Some grievously. Not by the government or by immigration reviews, but by the protestors who shut down airports and streets. Even New York City taxi drivers (who are mostly immigrants, some illegal) got in on the action. For more than an hour, they refused to pick up passengers at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.
The United Nations, the U.S. Congress, and other countries have recognized that there is a Christian genocide occurring in Syria. But President Obama appeared to refuse to allow any Christians to escape the carnage and come to the U.S. In fact, in 2016, 11,000 Syrian refugees were allowed into the United States, but that 11,000 included only 56 Christians!
Meanwhile, the Left and the globalists who want to overwhelm the United States with migrants are trying a new strategy to defeat the President’s attempts to secure the sovereignty of the nation. They are labeling this attempt to stem the incoming flow of potential terrorists as “Islamophobia.” The opponents know they don’t have a leg to stand on in opposing the President’s legal authority or his wisdom, so they’re trying to invoke their ominous ally of “political correctness” to distract Americans from the real issue. Or to shame them into silence. Think Islam is an oppressive political ideology that deprives women, children, gays, and non-Muslims of their rights and, often, their lives? Then you’re a “hater!” Even if you’re an intelligent, sensitive, thoughtful person who only wants the best for your family and community, question Islam and the Left labels you a “hater.” Once again, who wants to be a “hater?”
When will a law be passed that bans the entire Trump family from the U.S…?
Richard Smith says
First off, please quote the exact verbiage from the Executive Order where it states Muslin’s are the only ones banned temporarily from these 7 countries? I read the EO and it includes ALL people from those countries, not just one religion. Second, what about the millions of Muslin’s who are free to enter the country legally from the other 36 countries where they currently are living?
Get off of your soap box, read the Executive Order and quit spreading lies. It’s people like you who are dividing this country.
Muslim opposed to Muslim ban. What a shocker!
The Ghost of America says
I think it bears remembering that out of the 19 9/11 hijackers 15 were from saudi arabia, 2 were from the UAE, 1 from egypt, and 1 was from lebanon. None of these countries were placed on trump’s do not fly list.
Likewise, I think it bears remembering that from 1990 to today, domestic terrorism by pro-life groups, neo-nazis, and lone wolves account for the vast, vast majority of attacks claiming lives on US soil.
Common Sense says
Well said. Intelligent people understand.
Just as there is NO muslim ban as the temporary stop is for only a few predominantly muslim nations that are hot beds of islamists. There is also no “social justice” that is a code word of the left for getting whatever they want.
Sorry but most American citizens such as myself that indeed voted for Trump absolutely agree with the ban. You sore losers have to deal with it and move on.
Pierre Tristam says
Ws, a majority of your forefathers in Puritan Massachusetts also joyfully approved of the burning, drowning and, when no one was looking, raping of witches, not necessarily in that order. Thankfully the rest of us did not move on but eventually knocked a little sense in those somber mullahs’ ways, otherwise you and I would still be under those Christians’ Sharia law. So it was then. So it is now. It is written in American scripture. I sympathize with your merely doing your part. But don’t presume to ban us from doing ours. It’s unamerican. One ban at a time, anyway.
Also, take a look at the social media reaction to Trump telling female staffers to “dress like women”. . . Good Stuff! RESIST! RESIST! RESIST!
This is what Germany thinks of Trump’s Muslim ban:
Do not be influence by this site. It is anti American!
Ron, why give advice you’re not willing to follow? We have approved 44 of your comments over time–and those are the approved ones. Clearly, you love this site. Thanks.
Many, many of us stand firmly beside Muslims… and Jews, and Christians and Hindus and all other religions and ethnicities. Racism against one is an attack on all. Today, conservatives are trying to demonize Muslims and Mexicans. Tomorrow, maybe Jews and Germans. Who knows where their “America First” madness will take them.
Thank you for this.
I agree with what you say.
I think, Muslims have been put in a box and people do not understand their faith and culture and the fact that Muslims can blend in our country just like everyone else. They are believing the fear that media reports.
I am working with someone from Egypt who introduces himself as a Muslim whenever he meets someone.
It makes him feel and sound like everyone else to everyone he meets.
He said the Muslim community came out to march in JAX for the 1st time ever this week.
I think that is what is needed.
We reach out, and the Muslim communities reach out.
We are all the same.
Let’s get over this and go forward!
Mr Chris says
I’m confused. I wasn’t allowed to label terrorists as “radical muslims” because it was unfair to the religion. Now president Trumps executive order describes an enimy of the state, ignoring religeous affiliation only concentrating on geographic locations identified by the Obama administration. All of a sudden that can only mean muslims. You can’t have it both ways. I take all the protests against Trump as actually labeling ALL terrorists as being muslim.
Yes, we certainly don’t need to play into Trump’s tiny hands, and while we’re at it, could we have a moment of silence for the victims of the Bowling Green Massacre. This terrible tragedy was so downplayed by the media, that we all seem to have forgotten it, it’s almost as if it never really happened.
Doug Jahn says
This is NOT a Muslim ban, we want people to enter our country, however they must be properly vetted. The countries in question all have terrorist ties.
Sorry! Go back to your countries! What you are doing to Europe is horrendous. Raping women and protesting for Allah. You need to stay away from the United States. We don’t want you here.
Ok looks like someone needs a class in Geography. If it were a “Muslim Ban” as the liberal media and far left Democraps are putting it, then why is Afgahnistan at the top of that list? Why isn’t Saudi Arabia on that list? EXACTLY!! Because it’s not a Muslim Ban!! Do your homework.
Tired of it says
You damn liberals just don’t get it. He is not banning all Muslims. He is only banning entry into this country to people from certain countries that have a history of terrorist activities and that is only until they can come up with a better methods of screening them. Wake up and listen!
When you put “terrorists” in quotes as if it were not real, you lost any credibility.
Why is this temporary stay so hard to understand, these countries have dysfunctional government with virtually no records that would support vetting to ensure we do not allow terrorists into our country, coupled with the fact that they are also hot beds of known terrorist activity throughout the world. Any sane and reasonable American citizen would support this until such time that we can ensure we know with certainty who they are. I don’t care if their Muslim jew Hindu etc..if your offended too bad, it’s our right to protect ourselves from people who want to destroy us.
Your Muslim neighbors at the Jacksonville Islamic Center of North East Florida (ICNEF) cordially invite you, our Non-Muslim friends, neighbors and coworkers to join us for a special evening where you will be offered a tour of our center, a chance to enjoy dinner on us as our guests, and a special presentation and discussion on Islam.
At this event, you will also have an opportunity to acquire literature on Islam at no cost and to participate in a friendly Q & A session to have your curiosities and concerns addressed.
Where exactly, are these “repeated horrific acts committed by white men in the U.S. in the name of Christianity or white nationalists” taking place? Sure, there are horrific acts of violence that occur here, but not much of it is committed in the name of Jesus or white nationalism. The fact is, it’s a foundation of Islam that you lie in furtherance of Islam; the above claim is an example of that. Now, I understand that not every Muslim advocates violence, just as I have eaten dozens of burgers during lent; not everyone is a strict adherent to every morsel of their religion’s dogma. So, how do you know the difference between someone who is genuinely fed up with the violence and one who is simply lying? The fact is, a recent poll shows that 51% of American Muslims believe Sharia law should be implemented in the United States, or Muslims in America should be able to be governed by separate Sharia law courts. A disturbing percentage believe violence against those who disparage Islam is acceptable. Couple all of this with some Islamists’ stated strategy of conquering the West through population growth and a gradual increase in political power, how is anyone supposed to not look at Islam with at least a degree of suspicion? After all, it was a Muslim doctor behind a recent plot to car bomb New York City, so a highly educated professional apparently is not exempt from engaging in this madness. In my opinion, Islam is not compatible with U.S. values, and the only way to be certain of one’s values is a complete renunciation of Islam.
Banning is not the same thing as vetting. The ban is supposed to stay in place only as long as it takes to get our vetting procedures clarified. The trouble with bans are that they are by their nature, discriminatory. And we have no idea who is in charge of the vetting and how long it will take to come up with a system of vetting that is both effective and fair. THOSE are the questions that everyone should be asking. Internal infighting and contradictory actions taken by all levels of our government are only going to have a negative effect on our safety, domestic stability and reputation abroad. At the current time we look like fools because we are acting like reactionaries–on both sides of the political spectrum. it is time we approach this issue like rational and reasonable adult human beings.
Actual Facts on “white men” being responsible for 64% of mass murders in the USA. . . this from CNN:
Since 1982, white people — almost exclusively white men — committed some 64% of the shootings.
The examples are infamous. Roof and the Charleston church massacre. Lanza and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Holmes and the slaughter inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater.
Black people committed close to 16% of the mass shooting, while Asians were responsible for around 9%. People identified as either Latino, Native American and unknown rounded out the study.
“If you look at the whole list, it turns out that whites and blacks are pretty proportionate to their population, very close,” said Dave Cullen, author of the book “Columbine,” which tells the story of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Harris and Klebold, the shooters there, were white.
Just as soon as someone can point out which Muslims coming in to the US are terrorists, and which are not, we need to slow down until we figure out who is already here, and come up with a better vetting system…
Most reasonable people would have absolutely no problem with thoroughly vetting ALL refugees who desire to relocate to the USA. However, BANNING and VETTING are NOT the same thing!
The BAN was IMPOSED without any warning what so ever. . . creating complete and utter chaos! People with a “LEGAL” right to be here (green cards and legal visas) were treated as criminals and “detained” for many hours after paying thousand of dollars for tickets and flying for 10- 20 hours to arrive here. Some were even “deported”!
How would YOU like to be required to pay for an attorney, have every part of your life scrutinized for 18-24 months and then finally be awarded a “Legal Visa” to enter a country only to have the new “dictator” in power say you can’t come in simply because of where you were born???
Muslim ban or not. . . it is DISCRIMINATION pure and simple!!!!
Oh Yes! Although the majority of 911 attackers were from Saudi Arabia. . . that country is not on the “bad” list. Could it be to protect Trump’s very profitable business interests there? You bet ya!
If it is from CNN it has to be true.
Here’s just one of the “deportation” stories. . . which was certainly NOT caused by the protests:
When Sara Yarjani handed her passport to an immigration officer at Los Angeles airport she was sure she’d be waved through customs, as had happened before. Instead, 23 hours later, she was deported.
The 35-year-old Iranian graduate student became one of the first victims of the chaos unleashed by President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, from entering the United States.
Yarjani, who spoke with AFP by telephone late Monday from Vienna, where she is a permanent resident, said her ordeal began shortly after her plane landed Friday evening and — unbeknownst to her — Trump’s travel ban had kicked in.
“I had been on holiday in Canada to see my sister and then went to Austria and was coming back to resume classes,” said Yarjani, a student of holistic health at the California Institute for Human Science, located north of San Diego.
“I was not expecting to be stopped,” she said. “I had previously entered the country and was treated very well … and gone through customs within minutes.”
This time she quickly realized that it would be different, as the immigration officer took her passport and ushered her to a waiting area.
Two female officers who barked orders patted Yarjani down as she stood against a wall with her arms raised. She was told to remove her shawl, her jewelry and shoe laces, and was asked to hand over any cash as well as her cell phone — all of which were later returned.
Yarjani said after nearly four hours of waiting and questioning, during which she was allowed no phone calls, an officer compelled her to sign a form agreeing to deportation on grounds, he claimed, that her student visa was no longer valid.
– ‘Leave voluntarily or forcibly’ –
“The officer told me ‘you have two option– either you comply and agree to leave voluntarily … or you will forcibly be deported and face a ban of one to five years or longer of reentry to the US’,” she said.
“The way he was saying it was very threatening and I felt I had no choice.”
Yarjani said she became aware of the mayhem caused by Trump’s order when she was allowed, shortly after midnight, a quick call to her sister to let her know she was being deported.
“I arrived in LA at 8:35 pm Friday and left at 7:30 pm the next day,” she said.
Yarjani said as she was being escorted by two armed officers for her flight back to Europe, she was able to briefly check her phone and learned that a federal judge had temporarily blocked part of Trump’s executive order.
“I told one of the officers that a judge had ruled against the ban … and that I should not be put on the plane but all she said was ‘wowza’ while ordering me to keep walking,” Yarjani said.
She said now that she was back in Austria with her parents, she was still trying to come to terms with what had happened and considering her next move.
Yea and CNN is a real credible source. They’re all the other media outlets, they tell you what they want you to hear, not the truth!!
Phillip King says
In a televised interview Former Mayor Giuliani said, “WHEN HE (Donald) FIRST ANNOUNCED IT, HE SAID MUSLIM BAN. HE CALLED ME UP AND SAID PUT A COMMISSION TOGETHER AND SHOW ME THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT LEGALLY”.
He wanted a legal way of banning Muslims according to Giuliani. And apparently, the legal way of banning Muslims is to NOT say the word Muslim. Add an extra element of fear and there you have it… a new way of banning religion has been implemented. Next stop, Christianity!
As a local Christian, I am praying against religious stereotypes that allows government sanctions against. This is America, even satanic worshipers have a right to do so.
The whole problem is religion: Mans attempt to explain the unexplainable or Why are we here.
@ Sherry says:
February 4, 2017 at 12:40 pm
Also, take a look at the social media reaction to Trump telling female staffers to “dress like women”. . . Good Stuff! RESIST! RESIST! RESIST!
OK take a look at what your post calls to look at ~
“If you’re going to be a public person for him, whether it’s a lawyer or representing him in meetings, then you need to have a certain look,” one source told Axios. “That look ― at least for any male ― you have to be sharply dressed.”
The source added that Trump really has one simple directive for his female staffers: “dress like women.”
“Even if you’re in jeans, you need to look neat and orderly,”
OMG how can anyone expect THIER employees to be dressed “sharply and or neat and orderly”
Phillip King says
In my humble opinion, it is not “Religion”, but man’s insatiable appetite for power at the expense and contrary to religious beliefs. An atheist may not agree to why we are here, but I believe most can agree as to why we are not. We are not here to dominate or oppress one another by way of faith or fear. It doesn’t require religion to cooperate with common decency.
February 5, 2017 at 5:21 pm
Actual Facts on “white men” being responsible for 64% of mass murders in the USA. . . this from CNN:”
Your last word “CNN” says it all. The Clinton News Network has lied over and over and made up facts when it suits them.
MR G says
GOD BLESS PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR REVERSING O’SCUMBAGS POLICIES KEEP THEM ALL OUT WE DONT NEED ANYMORE PARASITES HERE COLLECTING EVERYTHING FREE & TO RAPE N MURDER AMERICANS….. GO TRUMP GO !!!!!!!!
The scumbag of a president we unfortunately are stuck with has no idea what he’s doing.He is so overwhelmed with the job, that not even a month into the presidency, he’s already taken a vacation.So much for all that talk during the election about how much more “stamina” he had than Hillary. Poor baby, somebody please change his diaper.Just like him,it’s full of shit.
Nancy N. says
The hate and bigotry in many of these comments is appalling. I’m wondering how many of these commenters actually even know any Muslims? It’s easy to fear and hate what you don’t know.
This immigration order was a bigoted and poorly justified act by our new administration that has done nothing but fuel the hate and recruiting of groups like ISIS and cut us off from the assistance of crucial intelligence allies in the Middle East. It’s endangered us, not made us safer. Not to mention that it’s inhumane and yes, unChristian for those who claim to care about that.
The threat of terror attacks is not an abstract one to me. I just got back from spending a week in Europe on business. While there, I took a side trip to Paris, and spent some time at the Louvre. I exited the museum through the underground mall attached to it. A week (to the day) later, on the same steps I walked down to exit the museum, an apparent terrorist attacked a soldier trying to prevent him from entering the museum, at almost the exact time of day that I was at that location. A quirk of a week kept me from being present for that incident.
As startling as that would seem to be…it’s not enough to make me condemn all Muslims. No more than I would condemn all white Christians for the attacks committed by the extremists of that religion.
Those of you “FOX “brainwashed” who disparage CNN. . . please give us all “PROOF POSITIVE” that CNN “has lied over and over”! We’re Waiting!!!
Here’s raw data and analysis on school shootings.. . . which shows over 70% committed by white males:
Richard Smith says
@ Sherry, there wouldn’t have been any temporary ban on these 7 countries if our Federal Government would have done their jobs correctly and thoroughly in conjunction with the government from each of these countries supplying the necessary information to properly vet each person wanting to enter the US.
Entering this country is a privilege NOT a right. Plus you have to provide all of the information required BEFORE attempting to enter the US not after you get here.
This TEMPORARY ban was needed so that OUR government could get their ducks in a row making sure that the vetting process for each individual was correct and thorough.
If Obama would have done HIS job in mandating that our vetting process be verified as thorough and accurate, all of this would have been a moot point.
The Ghost of America says
Goddamn I can’t wait to see the weeping and wailing when he wrecks the social security system.
Oh Yes. . .I broke a nail today and it’s all President Obama’s fault!
There is a HUGE difference between “temporarily” stopping people from getting visas while in another country. . . and creating a BAN on people with LEGALLY VALID green cards and visas while they are “IN THE AIR” flying to the USA!
Will the travel ban go beyond 90 days and be extended to other Muslim countries as well? Hell Yes . . . and somehow that will be blamed on President Obama as well!