by Naureen Shah, senior director of campaigns at Amnesty International USA
On Wednesday, October 18, the third version of the Muslim ban goes into full effect.
This is no “pause,” as its proponents first said. It’s quietly become an indefinite ban. And though we cheer our allies in court, the Supreme Court’s recent decisions make it clear this fight must continue on the streets and through us. Here’s how:
1. Join Protests Nationwide
We’ll be joining dozens of groups at Lafayette Square in Washington DC on October 18, the #NoMuslimBanEver Day of Action.
Before joining in any protests that could potentially put you at risk, get prepared with our protest safety tips.
2. Act for Mustafa*
The Muslim ban affects real people. Just one example: We talked to dozens of Yemenis who left everything behind to come to the US, and are now stuck in Malaysia for months. Though they won an opportunity an opportunity to immigrate to the US through the Diversity Visa Program, they’ve since been told their visas are in administrative processing, or that their applications have been denied.
“We are stuck in Malaysia and we don’t know what to do,” Mustafa told us. Mustafa and many like him escaped dangerous countries where bombs are falling. Take action for Mustafa.
We can’t let this cruel ban trap Mustafa and countless others.
*a pseudonym was used to protect his identity
3. Spread the Word About the Refugee Crisis
As conflicts rage and millions of people lose their homes, the US is closing its doors to refugees. The Muslim ban introduced last January was also a ban on refugees from all over the world.
In all the debates, this gets lost: Refugees are seeking safety and a reprieve from fear — they’re asking what any of us would, if we were in their shoes.
Challenging the vilification of refugees starts with us. There are so many ways, but here’s one:
Hold a film screening on the refugee crisis with 8 Borders 8 Days. Use this facilitation guide. People need to understand the crisis facing the world’s refugees. It will take all of us to spread this message: #IWelcome Refugees.
4. Challenge Your Elected Officials To Act
Most of the time, your elected officials are hearing from people who vilify immigrants and refugees — even though historically, both parties have supported welcoming refugees. Make your voice heard:
- Write a personal letter to your member of Congress; share it with us, so we can feature it.
- Share the facts about who refugees are and how businesses thrive thanks to refugees, and ramp up awareness through tabling and events. To request swag for use at events, email email@example.com.
- Learn about how you can introduce resolutions in your community with this toolkit.
5. Make Your Campus A Welcoming One
Get prominent school figures (the principal, dean, president, board, alumni association, etc.) to make a public statement or issue a resolution welcoming refugees. President Trump and our elected officials need to hear from a multitude of voices and community influencers — such as your school heads — that banning people and slashing refugee admissions is not the America we believe in
This work should happen throughout the year, not just around October 18. Our student activist toolkit details how:
· Start by requesting meetings with school leaders and figureheads to inform them about the attack on refugee rights.
· Share Amnesty materials, and urge them to take a public stance. This is a relationship-building process; start with a meeting request, and keep returning. Persistence is key here.
· Ramp up campus awareness so that your school head and other school leaders will see that students across the campus want this, too. Some tactics to consider:
· Organize a teach-in or solidarity action, such as a vigil;
· Submit an op-ed or letter to the editor to your school and community newspaper;
· Meet with the editorial board of your newspaper to ask them to write an editorial supporting refugee rights.
6. Know How To Respond If You Face Problems
We aren’t expecting chaos at the airports* but we do have concerns that people will continue to face inappropriate questions about their religious and political beliefs; inappropriate searches of yourself and your possessions; and even temporary detention at airports. Before you head to the airport, you can consult this Know Your Rights guide from the ACLU.
If you are affected or believe your rights have been violated, contact a lawyer. If you face improper questioning at the airport, here is what Muslim Advocates recommends:
- Politely object, saying that you do not consent to an improper search (but do not under any circumstances resist physically);
- Ask to speak with a supervisor to express your objection;
- Keep a record of the agents’ names and badge ID numbers and what transpired; and
- Report the incident to Muslim Advocates using this secure online form.
* On October 18, the ban goes into effect for those who were previously not affected because they had a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the U.S. The ban does not apply to lawful permanent residents, dual nationals who travel on the passport of a country that’s not on the list, and people with visas and other travel documents that are valid on the effective date of the order.
7. Show Up in Solidarity
As human rights activists working in solidarity with marginalized communities, we must show up in a respectful and responsible way. Reach out to local Muslim and Arab community organizers to find out how you can show up as an Ally. Our 10 tips for showing up in solidarity.
8. Talk to your friends and family about hate.
Ever since President Trump issued the Muslim ban, we’ve seen a reported rise in hate-based violence, harassment and discrimination. This new ban is a moment for us to engage our families, neighborhoods and social circles in a conversation about this tide of hate: Why each of us has a responsibility to speak out when it happens — whether it’s a casual slur or couched as a political opinion. Use our Reality Check on Anti-Muslim Hate. For thoughts on how to navigate tough conversations with your personal circles, and your community, download our guide