Donia Al watan
BY: Nisreen Eadeh
With only one day left before President Trump’s second travel ban is implemented, Arab Americans have begun to rally online and plan protests. Since announcing the revised executive orders on March 7, activists and political commentators have urged that the new orders are just as discriminatory as the first and wrongfully target Muslim-majority nations under the guise of counterterrorism.
After the first ban, Arab Americans were on the forefront of airport protests, legal support, online activism, and contacting legislators. For “Muslim Ban 2.0,” Arab Americans show no sign of letting President Trump off the hook.
In Michigan, Yemeni Americans are ready to partner with Latino Americans once again to protest the new ban and ICE raids. In Illinois, the Arab American Action Network and Palestine Legal will be protesting in downtown Chicago beginning Thursday evening. In California, protestors will be at LAX airport to show support for incoming travelers, refugees, and immigrants. And across the nation, more than 18,000 students are signing petitions and staging demonstrations with Books Not Bombs, an organization started by The Syrian Consortium to help Syrian refugees access education.
These are just a few examples of the ways Arab Americans are getting involved to tell President Trump that his ban is anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, and they won’t tolerate its existence.
Trump campaigned on a Muslim ban, but quickly realized once he was in office that he could not openly implement an unconstitutional order. After federal judges unanimously blocked his first ban, he attempted to address some of the discriminatory issues in his second ban, which has the exact same goal. Federal judges and state governments, including Washington, Minnesota, California, Maryland, Oregon, New York, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, have already vowed to work against the new ban before it takes place on Thursday.
The states have sued the Trump administration for “an abuse of executive power” and “unconstitutional religious discrimination.”
Despite a lack of hard data proving that refugees and Muslim migrants are threats to national security, Trump is instating the ban anyway, provoking many to agree that his actions are done out of hate and fear-mongering, not genuine interest in the safety and well-being of all Americans.
Other Arab Americans who support the ban have stressed that they believe it is anti-Muslim, but agree that a better refugee vetting process is needed.
At the end of the day, though, bigotry is being used to propose legislation and dismantle facts about refugees and migrants – that’s a problem for all Arab Americans, no matter who you support.
As the Department of Homeland Security found, terrorist attacks are much more likely to be committed by those already living in the U.S. And as terrorism scholars have already proved, foreign-born Muslim perpetrators are the least likely to commit an act of terrorism in the U.S., but will get the most coverage from U.S. media; whereas, non-Muslim perpetrators are the most likely to commit an act of terror, but get the least amount of media coverage.
Data like this is missing from the administration’s conversation on national security, causing too many American citizens to falsely think that Muslims and Arabs are the biggest threats to their safety. It’s no wonder that hate crimes targeting the Arab American and Muslim communities take place when there’s disproportionate coverage and an administration ignoring hard evidence that counters its justifications for a Muslim ban.
In the past few weeks alone, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate crimes have been on the rise. While targeting Arab Americans, attackers have killed fellow Americans, burned businesses and mosques to the ground, and bullied children. All crimes reported so far have been perpetuated by white males, but have yet to be addressed by President Trump, further reinforcing the idea that it is his intention to demonize those of Middle Eastern and North African descent.
If “Muslim ban 2.0” sticks, Arab Americans should brace for more protests, as well as more bigotry and hate crimes.