#NoMuslimBanEver: 3 Reasons We Need You to Join This National Week Of Resistance

by Naureen Shah, Senior Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International USA

Amnesty International USA is joining numerous groups around the country for a national week of resistance against the Muslim ban, May 8–15.

The Trump administration is fighting to keep this bigoted Muslim ban alive, appealing decisions in Virginia and Washington courts this week. We need you to join the growing movement of resistance to show the courts and Congress that this ban is an outrage that cannot stand.

Find out how to take action in your community

Join Amnesty and our partners at the May 8 rally in Richmond

Share Your Story at the Twitter Town Hall on May 9 at 2 pm EST/11 am PST with the hashtag #NoMuslimBanEver

While the courts have blocked the ban, there are scores of people whose lives continue to be profoundly impacted by the Trump administration’s anti-human rights agenda.

Here are some of their stories — and three reasons why we’re fighting the Muslim ban this week, and for as long as it takes.

  1. Families Are in Limbo

Amnesty International is hearing from people directly impacted by the Muslim ban. One is Rabyaah Althaibani, a Yemeni-American journalist. She’s unable to reunite with her husband, who hasn’t been granted a visa. She describes him as a prominent liberal journalist. “He is a man who has sacrificed his own safety and security and dedicated his life to challenging extremist ideology,” she wrote.

And there are untold numbers of people like Amal Eltaib, a Whole Foods worker and refugee who resettled in the US after fleeing violence in Sudan. The executive order that bans Muslims also suspends the refugee admissions program until at least July. That step has sent shockwaves through refugee communities in the US, including people who fear their refugee status could be arbitrarily revoked.

“We thought now we’ve reached our dream,” Amal said, recounting how she found a home in the U.S. “For our kids, we had no more fear, just hope. Now, we all fear.”

2. Ordinary People Are Facing Down Hate and Bigotry

President Trump’s Muslim ban, and his rhetoric on the campaign trail, have emboldened people to act on hate and bigotry against Muslims. Just one example: At least 10 Islamic centers in five states reported receiving letters following Trump’s election stating Trump would “do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.”

And the last few months have seen scores of reported attacks and harassment of other communities. too: Jewish Americans, African Americans and LGBT individuals, among others. Check out Muslim Advocates’ #100DaysofHate for a sobering compilation.

This is no coincidence: When governments sanction hate, people act on it. That’s what decades of Amnesty International’s experience around the world shows.

Although we don’t know the scale of this apparent spike in hate-motivated harassment and violence, it’s clear that many people fear they could be targeted merely because of how they dress or what they look like — more than they did ever before in their lifetimes.

And the Muslim ban, as long as its on the books, will continue to have ugly effects. People will take the ban into their own hands and commit acts based on hate. The credo of this misguided vigilantism, inspired by Trump’s own rhetoric, is essentially that the country is under threat and “We” must do whatever we can to stop “Them” — Muslims, immigrants, transsexual individuals, and anyone else on the culture wars hit-list.

3. Immigrant Communities Are Under Attack

The Muslim ban is just part of the picture: This fight is about immigrant communities, too.

True, many pundits supporting the Muslim ban specifically want to rid the country of Muslims, who they dehumanize as inherently dangerous and suspicious. People who’ve made their careers off anti-Muslim hate — including some who are part of Trump’s White House — see Islam as the paramount threat to the country. But many of these same people also want to rid the country of immigrants generally. They are inflaming fears of losing white identity, and trying to remake the country accordingly.

In our work on the Muslim ban, I’ve heard people bristle at this characterization of Trump’s agenda as fueled by systematic bigotry against Muslims and immigrants. It’s true that many ordinary people support the Muslim ban; they aren’t career ideologues or would-be perpetrators of hate crimes.

But it’s is more complicated than that. Since Trump’s election, many commentators have argued that his campaign resonated with a struggling class of Americans who are genuinely losing out on the promise of economic prosperity and suffering from loss of community. Indeed, Trump’s campaign rhetoric suggested that banning Muslims and building a wall on the southern border wall would somehow lead to a better future.

Implicitly, Trump’s false promise was this: Sacrifice the ideals of equality and fairness for others, and you will realize those ideals for yourself.

The Muslim ban is symbolic of a larger agenda that would remake America. And here’s what is often missed: It makes that agenda more likely to be enacted. The ban is so viscerally awful that it tends to obscure other parts of Trump’s extreme agenda on refugees and immigrants. For example, Trump’s executive orders on border enforcement and immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States got far less media coverage than the Muslim ban. Yet they are tearing thousands of families apart and entrapping people who are fleeing violence and persecution.

People fleeing violence and persecution and those who came seeking a better life for their families are treated as criminals by immigration authorities and politicians. They are dehumanized by anti-immigrant forces now present in the highest levels of the U.S. government. The practices include racial profiling; the separation of families through indiscriminate raids; prolonged, arbitrary detention in jails and prisons; and the lack of due process in detention, including limited or no access to legal counsel, consular officials and health care.

The more Trump shocks our collective conscience, the more we react to the sting. We are right to resist the Muslim ban, but we must also fight the any and all parts of Trump’s agenda that threaten human rights. That is why #NoBanNoWallNoRaids is more than a hashtag: It is a pledge to fight the Trump administration whenever it pushes this agenda: To remake this country into one where only some people get rights and a path toward opportunity — while the rest of us are denied them.

Why Take Action Now?

Short answer: Because it’s working. Since the first ban was issued, Amnesty International has joined tens of thousands of activists across the country and the world in demonstrations against the Muslim ban. Hundreds of activists have made phone calls to their members of Congress.

The courts and Congress are responding: Most of the courts have decided against the Trump administration; and 58 senators spoke out against the Muslim ban.

People like you have demanded your elected officials act, and they are. Just last week, Senator Leahy grilled FBI director James Comey on whether the Muslim ban will actually make us safer. It was a beautiful thing to watch:

Comey’s answer comes close to recognizing this reality: The Muslim ban isn’t about our safety. It drives suspicion and distrust, and it will make us less safe.

We can make #NoMuslimBanEver a reality, one phone call, email and demonstration at at time. Eventually the Trump administration, faced with this sustained public outrage, will realize this issue is a political loser and that they should stop defending this bigoted ban in the courts.

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