Religious discrimination, particularly against Muslim Americans, has become one of the first battlegrounds of the Trump era. Indivisible: Conejo’s Issue Action Team is organizing its opposition to Trump’s attempted Muslim ban, and threats of a Muslim registry, on multiple fronts:
- Monitoring the Trump administration’s continued efforts to impose a ban on entry into the US for refugees and other individuals from seven predominantly Muslim nations, including war-torn Syria. Also, monitoring congressional and judicial responses to those efforts.
- Encouraging our members of Congress to co-sponsor and support H.R. 489, the No Religious Registry Act of 2017, which seeks to prohibit the Trump administration from creating such a registry “for the purposes of classifying or surveilling certain United States persons and other individuals on the basis of religious affiliation.”
- Tracking the past and current anti-Semitic actions of Trump advisor Steve Bannon and other administration officials, in the wake of the rhetoric of Trump’s inaugural address and the deletion of any mention of Jewish deaths from the administration’s Holocaust Remembrance Day message.
- Collaborating with, and offering support to, other local and national advocacy groups that track anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, and other discriminatory actions, both inside government and among private individuals.
- Engaging in public education and advocacy efforts via forums such as letters to the editor and social media on religious-discrimination issues.
Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency featured a number of overt appeals to anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiment, empowering a subculture of White Nationalists. His initial calls to impose a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States from abroad had to be adjusted when their unconstitutionality was pointed out. Nevertheless, one of his first acts as president was to institute a ban on refugees, immigration and visits from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
Trump’s statements about refugees, and the US government’s ability to vet them before allowing them into the country, repeatedly contained outright falsehoods and overtly anti-Muslim sentiments. His calls for “extreme vetting” ignored the fact that US vetting processes are already the most stringent in the free world, and that the US accepts only a small fraction of the number of refugees admitted by European and other free nations.
His top advisor, Steve Bannon, was previously editor at Breitbart News, a notoriously anti-Semitic outlet. Bannon’s (and other advisors’) work for Trump frequently has carried the taint of anti-Semitism, from the re-tweeting of a political meme featuring a Jewish star to Trump’s “America First” slogan to the deletion of references to Jewish victims from the Holocaust Remembrance Day statement. Trump’s candidacy, nomination and election have created a spike in hate crimes committed against Jews as well as Muslims and other religious minorities.