For Immediate Release
CAIR Issues Statement on Trump's Planned 'Muslim Ban' Executive Orders
WASHINGTON - The Council on American-Islamic-Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today issued a statement in reaction to executive orders expected to be signed by President Donald Trump restricting immigration from a number of Middle Eastern and African countries.
WATCH: Full CAIR News Conference
President Trump is also expected to temporarily bar most refugees from entry to the United States and block visas from being issued to citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
SEE: Trump Executive Order: Muslim countries Are the Target of Upcoming Immigration Ban
Donald Trump is About to Enact a Severe Immigration Crackdown. Here's What You Need to Know.
During a news conference this afternoon at its Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington, D.C., CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
[NOTE: Other news conference participants included Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the National Council of Churches. Nihad Awad's prepared text may be published by media outlets as an editorial.]
"Make no mistake – whatever language is used in President Trump's executive orders on refugees, immigration and visa programs – Muslims are the sole targets of these orders.
"These orders are a disturbing confirmation of Islamophobic and un-American policy proposals made during the presidential election campaign.
"Never before in our country's history have we purposely - as a matter of policy - imposed a ban on immigrants or refugees on the basis of religion, or imposed a religious litmus test on those coming to this nation.
"Ideological and religious questioning imposed on our government agencies by Islamophobes – many of whom are now in policy-making positions - will not make us safer and will instead send a very negative message that Muslims are not welcome in America.
"One of our nation's darkest moments was during World War II when we turned away Jewish refugees seeking our protection. We cannot allow religious bigotry to affect our willingness and ability to welcome those fleeing violence and persecution.
"Refugees coming to America are the most vetted of all those entering our country. They go through multiple levels of screening by multiple national security agencies before they can enter, and before they are even selected as refugees.
"These orders will have an adverse impact on American Muslim families trying to connect with visiting relatives from overseas and parents seeking medical treatment. The orders will tarnish our image in the Muslim world, making us seem uncaring and hard-hearted.
"This ban does not make our country safer. Instead, it serves to stigmatizes Muslim refugees and the entire American Muslim community. It will hand a propaganda tool to our enemies who promote the false narrative of an American war on Islam.
"We have already seen an unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim bigotry in recent months. The negative perceptions and association created by these orders will very likely cause a further increase in hate crimes, discrimination and bigotry against ordinary law-abiding American Muslims.
"The ban on travelers from Muslim-majority and Middle Eastern nations, as well as the construction of a multi-billion-dollar monument to racism on our border with Mexico and the appropriation of sacred Native-American lands, flies in the face of the American values of religious and ethnic inclusion that we all hold dear.
"We must address the issue of terrorism based on evidence and hard data, not based on faith, race or national origin.
"It is encouraging to see that while some national leaders pander to fear and intolerance, many local elected officials and leaders are standing up for their neighbors of all faiths and backgrounds by rejecting Islamophobia and racism.
As we saw more than a million people in this country and around the world marching for justice last Saturday, we will – God willing - see millions more join the movement for human rights and equality.
"We are always strongest as a nation when we stand together in defense of the Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees."
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members who believe their rights have been violated to contact local police and CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.