In accordance with the latest false narrative that terrorism is affiliated with the Islamic religion, President Donald Trump has reinstated his request for a Muslim-based travel ban by relegating the decision to the Supreme Court.
The ban includes the 90-day termination of Muslim immigration from six countries—Yemen, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Libya—as well as a 120-day halt to the U.S. refugee program. Suspension would also apply to current Muslim U.S. residents who are out of the country at the time of the ban’s institution.
Declaring the ban to be unconstitutional in alignment with the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom to practice and express religion, federal court judges of California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington previously objected to the ban and prevented its enactment. Despite Trump’s prior discriminatory comments stating “Islam hates us” and accusing U.S. Muslims of protecting terrorists, his administration’s current justification for the ban is that it will provide time for the enhancement of immigrant screening procedures to more accurately filter out terrorist threats from entering the country.
However, the idea of temporarily or definitively banning people of Islamic faith is a dangerous notion to perpetuate; this unjustified concept feeds misinformed hate speech and discriminatory rhetoric and actions among both politicians and common citizens, taints an entire religion based in peaceful worship and is inaccurately based on the vast majority of terrorist attacks within the Western hemisphere in recent years have been committed by non-Muslim individuals or groups.
While all aspects of banning Muslim people is discriminatory, it is particularly unclear as to why the U.S. would ban immigrants to the refugee program. Most refugees entering the United States are fleeing terrorism, war and displacement from their home countries.
“In fact, it’s very rare, if ever, that refugees coming from situations of war, of violence, of violations of human rights, perpetrate crimes of terrorism,” Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said in an interview with William Brangham of PBS NewsHour. “It is not they who do that. It is other people. In fact, those people do not bring terror. Refugees flee from terror.”
Grandi’s expression is supported moreover by recent data on the state of terrorism in the United States in relation to the religion of terrorists. Although 50% of Americans claim that Muslims are “violent,” and 58% believe Muslims are “fanatical,” a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that 94% of terrorist attacks between 1980 and 2005 in the United States had perpetrators affiliated with non-Muslim religions—and a separate report detailed that, between 2006 and 2010, less than 1% of terrorists in Europe declared ties to Islam. While it is inaccurate and irresponsible to entertain conversations crafting an innate relationship between Islam and terrorism, one must especially acknowledge that Muslims hold a very minimal role in the current scope of terrorist attacks over the past several decades in order to even consider such a notion.
White supremacists have killed more people in the past week than refugee terrorists from Trump travel ban countries…in the last 40 years pic.twitter.com/tSPy9wFwiV
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) May 27, 2017
Moreover, while we live in a world that will continue to overlook such statistics and respect a president of this country whose only response to his supporters’ hate speech against minorities was “Stop it”—and who has had a record of inspiring discriminatory rhetoric of his own—feeding a narrative that Islam is connected to terrorism, which the federal government would display and endorse on a national level with a Muslim ban, will serve to produce negative and hateful responses by the American public; and it already has with an 87.5% increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes since Trump’s election in November.
Ultimately, in the wake of the resurgence of Trump’s discriminatory yet influential Muslim ban, we must serve to remind our peers of the truth through promoting how Islam is a peaceful religion that has no true connection to terrorism; as soon as a terrorist commits a tragedy and declares their ties to Islam, that “tie” dies. Leaders, clerics and scriptures of the Muslim faith have stated themselves that Islam is a religion rooted in nonviolence and have displayed that mentality in activism against terrorist groups. As citizens of this country, it is our job to listen to and protect our Muslim brothers and sisters, not alienate them and misconstrue them as an enemy.