Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

11 Nov, 2016

Arab, Muslim, Jewish rights groups unite to confront Trump’s anti-Muslim agenda

Bangkok – Of all the areas of uncertainty plaguing the incoming Trump Administration, perhaps the most worrisome is the future of its relations with the Islamic world. Given the slew of anti-Muslim statements made by Mr. Trump during his election campaign, and the warm words he has exchanged within days of his victory with two well-known anti-Muslim incumbent heads of government, the Prime Ministers of Israel and India, there is every reason to believe that some major problems lie ahead, with serious implications for the travel & tourism industry worldwide.

Islamic, Arab-American and other like-minded rights groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace have issued statements denouncing the “racist, sexist, hateful, anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant sentiment” that characterised the U.S. election campaign. While waiting to see how the Trump Administration converts the President-elect’s words into action, there is an emerging resolve to confront any assault on civil liberties and the humanitarian values that have long enshrined the American psyche – the same “freedom-and-democracy” values that former President George W. Bush Jr attacked Iraq and Afghanistan supposedly to protect.

Mr. Trump’s comments have been recorded in the 9th Observatory Report on Islamophobia just issued by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In the foreword, former OIC Secretary-General Iyad bin Amin Madani warns that more trouble lies ahead. He writes: “I wish to bring into the serious attention of decision-makers in the Islamic world that the most dangerous stage of Islamophobia has begun through institutionalization of hate toward Muslims in the heart of national policies, laws and school curriculum of some countries to poison the mind of innocent children in order to insure the continuity of hatred against Muslims through generations.”

Muslim groups in the U.S. are now actively tracking the post-election anti-Muslim attacks and comments.

On 11/10/2016, the Council on American-Islamic-Relations (CAIR), which claims to be the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., called on Mr. Trump to repudiate alleged attacks on Muslim students at universities in Louisiana and California reportedly by some of his supporters.

A Muslim student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was attacked two men, one of whom was wearing a hat emblazoned with “Trump.” In California, a student who was wearing an Islamic head scarf (hijab) was confronted by two men who made comments about President-elect Trump and Muslims.

SEE: Police Investigate Attacks on Muslim Students at Universities (NY Times)

A Rash of Racist Attacks Have Broken Out in the US After Donald Trump’s Victory

Other reports of anti-Muslim incidents involving apparent Trump supporters surfaced nationwide, including “Trump” graffiti on a Muslim prayer room at a New York University, and a reported attack on a Muslim woman in New Mexico by a Trump supporter.

SEE: Just Two Days After Trump’s Election, Reports of Anti-Islam Attacks Spike

“If President-elect Trump truly wishes to be the leader of all Americans, he must begin unifying the nation by repudiating the type of bigotry generated by his campaign for the White House,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Unless Mr. Trump speaks out forcefully against hate attacks by his supporters, they will take his silence as tacit endorsement of their actions.”

CAIR-NJ: South Brunswick Board of Education Member Targeted by Anti-Islamic Graffiti

CAIR is also calling on khatibs (Islamic prayer leaders) and imams (Islamic religious leaders) to address requests from community leaders and parents for guidance on how to address post-election anxieties and concerns during their Friday khutbas (sermons) for the normal congregational prayers (jummah).

To assist those preparing to offer sermons for the Friday prayers, CAIR is offering an initial outline prepared by Sh. Omar Suleiman, president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research in Texas. CAIR is also preparing a more comprehensive community toolkit to be released at a later date.

CAIR is urging the community to refocus and strengthen Muslim organizations that protect the rights and interests of American Muslims.

CAIR-NJ Asks Feds to Probe Hate Graffiti Targeting Muslim BOE Candidate’s Signs

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate hate graffiti left on the campaign lawn signs of South Brunswick Board of Education member and successful candidate for re-election, Azra Baig.

Campaign lawn signs positioned in the vicinity of South Brunswick High School were defaced with phrases such as “Rag Head”, “ISIS”, and “ISIS sympathizer.” Six different lawn signs were defaced between September 26 and October 21. South Brunswick Police have been conducting an investigation, but no arrests have been made.

CAIR-LA: Muslim Americans Fearful of Trump Presidency

CAIR: Want to Move to Canada? Europe? Somewhere? Trump’s Impact Will Follow You (NY Times)

Asked about what he would tell a Muslim mother of three who was worried about her future in the United States, Ibrahim Hooper, a CAIR spokesman, said, “I don’t think leaving the country is what anyone would recommend. We’re Americans like all other Americans. We’re here, we’re not going anywhere, and we’re going to defend our rights and the rights of all Americans regardless of who’s in the highest office in the land.”

CAIR: Muslim Americans, Allies Urge Caution in Election Aftermath (NBC)

CAIR-NJ: Now Comes the Hard Part – Uniting America

Ahmed Al-Shehab, a Paramus-based management consultant and national board member of CAIR, said the new president needs to play a role in the national healing. “If it doesn’t start from the top, it’s going to be very difficult for anybody to come together,” Shehab said.

On 9 November, right after the election results were announced, CAIR issued a statement calling on Mr. Trump to respect the rights of all Americans and pledging to work with the new president to strengthen the nation.

WATCH: News Conference with U.S. Muslim, Interfaith Leaders Reacting to Election of Donald Trump as President

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said: “As citizens of this great nation, we accept the result of the democratic process that has bound us together as one nation. Regardless of who won or lost yesterday’s election, American Muslims are here to stay. We are not going anywhere, and will not be intimidated or marginalized. God willing, the American Muslim community will continue to mobilize to challenge bigotry, to uphold justice and to protect the freedoms and rights of all Americans. American Muslims will also increase outreach to their fellow citizens of other faiths and backgrounds to build bridges of mutual understanding and cooperation.

“We will hold the new president to the highest standard in defending the rights of all those residing in our nation, as guaranteed by the Constitution. America is strongest and best when all its communities, institutions and leaders are working together to build a better future for its people and for the world. We look forward to continuing to work with all of our federal, state and local leaders to achieve such a future.

“CAIR will continue to be a fearless and principled defender of the Muslim community, regardless of who leads our nation.

“To those in the American Muslim community who are fearful of the future, know that America is your home and you have the same rights and responsibilities as all other Americans. Rest assured that CAIR is here for you, your family and your children.

CAIR-NY Responds to Protests, Calls on City to Take the Lead in Defending Muslims’ Civil Rights in Wake of Trump Election

The New York chapter of CAIR responded to the recent series of anti-Trump protests, calling on New York City to take a leadership role in defending Muslims’ civil rights in the wake of Donald J. Trump’s election as President of the United States.

CAIR: American Muslims Will Not Be Intimidated (TIME)

TIME spoke with Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR, about Trump’s win and what’s next for Muslim Americans.

CAIR: ‘American Muslims Are Here to Stay’ (NBC)

CAIR: American Muslims Here to Stay (Reuters/Video)

CAIR-Cincinnati Calls on Trump to Respect Rights of All Americans

CAIR: For American Muslims – Shock, Fear and Resolve (CNN)

CAIR: Muslim-American Leaders React to Donald Trump’s Election (Newsweek)

CAIR-SFBA: Groups Targeted by Donald Trump Speak Out

CAIR-FL: Local Minority Leaders React to Trump Winning the Presidency

CAIR-Sacramento: Trump’s Election Sparks Fear in Some Immigrants

CAIR-NY: Latino and Muslim New Yorkers Say they Feel Threatened by Prospect of Trump Presidency

CAIR-CT: Vast Divide in How Norwalkers See Future Under Trump

CAIR-Dallas: DFW Latinos, Muslims Reflect on What Trump Win Might Mean for Them

CAIR-LA: O.C. Muslims Fear What Trump’s Rhetoric May Portend

CAIR-WA: Seattle Immigrants, Muslims Band Together as Trump Victory Unfolds

CAIR-Chicago: Muslim Girl From Oak Brook Writes Letter to Trump

Prior to Tuesday’s election, CAIR joined a coalition of interfaith and civic groups across the country in asking Americans of all faith, racial and political backgrounds to commit to working with each other after the election to build a more united country.

SEE: CAIR Joins National Interfaith, Civic Leaders in Calling on All Americans to Pledge to Work Together #OnNovember9

Video: CAIR Joins Campaign for National Unity #OnNovember9

In October, CAIR released the results of a nationwide survey of Muslim voters on the presidential election and on issues of concern to the Muslim community. The survey found that 85 percent of polled Muslim voters believed that Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. has increased in the past year. Thirty percent of respondents say they have experienced discrimination or profiling in the past year.

On 11 November, the American-Anti Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) issued a statement headlined: “Civil Rights Under a Trump Administration”. It said:

“As the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States sinks in, we need to urgently assess how civil rights and liberties in this country will be affected. Unfortunately, the rhetoric of the campaign season that many viewed as full of hate, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment, requires us to be more vigilant and on alert to defend our community.

“ADC’s mission to protect the civil rights and liberties of all communities does not waiver or change based on election results. Regardless of who is in the White House, ADC will be steadfast in our commitment to social justice, and achieving our purpose and mission.

“We share and understand the frustration of many within our community on the impact of President-elect Trump campaign rhetoric materializing into actual policy. Indeed, over the past few days we have documented an increase in hate crime and discrimination targeting Arabs, Muslims, Hispanics and other communities of color.

“The enormities of the challenges we face with the incoming administration are real. There should be no doubt — ADC is committed to defend the civil rights of all Americans.  We are ready and vigilant to confront each and every case against our community’s civil, political and human rights.  We will monitor each Presidential appointment in the new administration, and more importantly, monitor their actions when it comes to civil rights.  We will seek to influence and educate those officials.  We will recognize those work to secure and protect the civil rights and liberties, and challenge those who do not.

“More importantly, we will continue to organize and empower our community. We must effectively organize among ourselves, and work with our coalition partners. As a grassroots organization, our success is predicated on the involvement of our members.”

Another statement was issued on 10 November by Farhana Khera, President and Executive Director of Muslim Advocates. It said:  

Last night was extraordinarily painful and difficult.

It was difficult because some of the ugliest forms of hate and bigotry emerged from the shadows during this election cycle.  Unprecedented levels of misogyny, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racism in modern U.S. history were promoted and stoked.  Hate crimes against American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim skyrocketed.  Most disturbingly, the policies proposed by candidates in this election cycle – from banning Muslims, to building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, to locking up the press and political opponents – threaten the very core of our nation’s democracy.

Many of us, including myself, are hurting this morning.  That’s understandable.  The country we all love feels like it’s desperately moving in the wrong direction.

But, at Muslim Advocates, we are not ready to call it quits.  Because for every ugly act we saw in the last year, there were at least two that gave us hope about the fundamental decency of countless Americans.

We’re also not kidding ourselves.  We know that our work in the next few years will be challenging and will require us to think our strategies anew.

But we also know this: we must continue to fight for the soul of our nation.  That begins with Americans of all faiths and backgrounds coming together and re-doubling our efforts to reject hate and bigotry in all its forms.

I want to personally tell you that Muslim Advocates will be using every resource and legal tool available to ensure that the rights of all Americans are protected.  Now, more than ever, we must ensure our judiciary plays its role as a vital check on the executive and legislative branches.

Today, I’ll be reaching out to our allies to hear from them and to plan our next important steps.  While this is a difficult and painful time, know that we at Muslim Advocates stand shoulder to shoulder with people of good will.  We will never waver in our defense of the values that have truly made America great.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let us know that the arc of the moral universe is long. With your support, we will continue to bend it toward justice. With you at our sides, we remain steadfast in our belief that we will prevail.  Because we must.”

Another statement was issued on 10 November by Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace. She said:

This isn’t the email I expected to send you.

The email I expected to send would have talked about taking President-elect Hillary Clinton to task on human rights and human dignity in Israel/Palestine.

But today is a different day. It is a frightening time where our communities have only ourselves to hold onto. And even with President-elect Trump, propelled into office by a wave of racist, sexist, hateful, anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant sentiment, I am feeling more grateful than ever for the power and community of Jewish Voice for Peace.

I know that some of the wisest, most experienced, most determined people on earth are walking around today, feeling a similar way.

I know that in the next weeks and months we will link arms and build power and face this challenge here, while continuing our work alongside our Palestinian allies and friends facing death, detention, bombs, exile, apartheid, and demolition of their homes.

So, even though this is a bleak and uncertain time, you should know, as I do, that you aren’t alone and we haven’t lost because we are just starting to build and win.”