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Human Rights Trump Oppression: Over 800 New Yorkers stand in solidarity with refugees and Muslims

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The following press release was sent out by the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Solidarity Network:

On Thursday Dec 10, 2015 over 800 members from the Arab community, Muslim community and human rights activists of New York City came together in solidarity for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to say no to the harmful racism, Islamophobia, Arabphobia, and Xenophobia towards the refugee community. People of all different faiths and backgrounds joined the rally, simultaneously there was a banner drop at the Trump Towers.

This gathering was in reaction to the recent hearing that took place on November 19, 2015 when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015 or the American SAFE Act of 2015 (H.R. 4038). This bill would make it harder for refugees to enter the U.S. by requiring background checks by not just the Department of Homeland Security but also the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Director of National Intelligence. Since the aftermath of 9/11 – increased “security” has only left the Muslim/Arab community in fear of government officials. Ella Wind, from Middle East North Africa (MENA) Solidarity Network, said “The screening process for refugees is already so incredibly lengthy and thorough. It’s not uncommon to hear of refugees and asylum seekers being killed or harmed before they can arrive safely in the United States.”

“I’ve been in this country for over 20 years fighting for asylum from my country – Senegal. I am a Muslim, an asylum seeker, and have been in the US since 1995 and started the process in 1990. We have to continue to fight just to remain in this country to be together with our families. It shouldn’t be difficult for refugees and asylum-seekers to resettle in other countries,” said Fatoumata, member of Families for Freedom and mother of six U.S. citizen children.

“The ban of Syrian and Iraqi refugees is violence,” explained Jamila Hammami, Executive Director of Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP). “This sort of hate in America is a systemic issue; it is tied up in Islamophobia, Xenophobia, Arabphobia, and anti-Blackness in our society. This is an insidious illness that is at the core of our society that has long been in existence. We must fight and resist U.S. imperialism, colonialism, and war disguised as “fighting terror” abroad in the East, otherwise we will continue to have candidates and policy makers advocating for internment camps; which already exist statewide with 250 immigration detention centers facilities that holds 34,000 immigrants seeking safety nationally.”

As a community, we recognize that the United States is complicit in the human rights abuses across the Middle East and North Africa. We also recognize that the Assad dictatorship is responsible for the vast majority of civilian deaths in Syria, and is engaged in documented torture and imprisonment of tens of thousands of its citizens. We stand in solidarity with the popular movements which rise up against any repressive government. We also recognize that the United States bears primary responsibility for the deteriorating situation in Iraq dating back to the 1990s Gulf Wars and exacerbated by the global ‘War on Terror.’ All of this has contributed to the recent influx of Syrian and Iraqi refugees that have entered and are trying to enter into the United States.

Mirna Haidar, a refugee from Lebanon since 2010 and Lead Organizer of Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) rallies up the crowd with her personal experience as a refugee.

Mirna Haidar, a refugee from Lebanon since 2010 and Lead Organizer of Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) rallies up the crowd with her personal experience as a refugee.

“I fled persecution from my home country Lebanon to seek asylum and became refugee in the United States in 2010. I thought I would live without fear in this land, but little did I know about the discrimination that welcomed me once here. When Trump and his supporters are not held accountable for the hate crimes that are increasing in my community in direct correlation with their hate speech, I feel as vulnerable and as fearful for my life as I did back home.” said Lead Organizer Mirna Haidar from the Arab American Association of New York.

At present, the U.S. government has agreed to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. This is not enough. We demand that the U.S. government accept more refugees from Syria and Iraq without intense background checks and to provide adequate resources and social services to these newly resettled refugees. Further, we demand that the U.S. and all other governments cease their interventions in the Middle East and North Africa and their support of human rights abuses by repressive regimes.

Most recently Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican party said in a statement that “Muslims should not be allowed to enter the United States”. This statement reflects on the current climate of rising Islamophobia in the country, promoted by politicians, which negatively affects the opportunities for refugees, immigrants, and Muslims in the United States. We see statements like these as detrimental and discriminatory hate speech that is unacceptable, especially from political candidates running for the U.S. presidency.

“Standing against Trump’s fascism also means opposing airstrikes and ground troops as solutions to the many crises in the Middle East” said Ali Issa of War Resisters League, “banning Muslims is just a natural extension of U.S. wars waged in the Muslim world, which treat people there as less than human. The people’s movements of Iraq and Syria are the only real solution to dictatorship, fundamentalism and racism, and our task is to back their struggles against all odds.”

Mondoweiss Editors

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13 Responses

  1. Kathleen on December 11, 2015, 12:28 pm

    Trump is clearly a bigot and has tapped into a tremendous amount of anger and hatred towards our Reps and the main stream media. As an activist I am far more concerned about a proven warmonger like Hillary Clinton who is far more responsible via her vote for the 2002 Iraq war resolution, push for military intervention in Libya, arming unknown rebels in Syria fomenting the civil war there and all of the deadly and destructive consequences of her votes and push for interventions. She is far more responsible for the deaths, injuries and displacement of people in Iraq, Syria than Trump who stood against the invasion of Iraq.

    Clinton recently said that Trump’s comments about Muslims were “shameful, wrong and dangerous” well yes they are. However Clinton’s war votes, warmongering foreign policy decisions promoted by her as Secretary of State are far more “shameful, wrong and dangerous” Far more

  2. JLewisDickerson on December 11, 2015, 2:59 pm

    THANK GOD (I GUESS HE’S TO BLAME) TRUMP STILL HAS AT LEAST ONE DEFENDER:

    “Pat Robertson Defends Donald Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban”
    By Brian Tashman, rightwingwatch.org, 12/9/2015

    Alluding to a bogus poll issued by an anti-Muslim group which alleged that large swathes of Muslim-Americans oppose the U.S. Constitution, televangelist Pat Robertson came to the defense of Donald Trump today over the GOP presidential candidate’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration. Trump also cited the unscientific survey to justify his call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

    Robertson, who yesterday said that Islam should not be considered a religion but rather a military system that is “intent on dominating and killing you,” warned that Muslim immigrants may bring Sharia law to the U.S., which would lead to the stoning of gay people, spousal abuse and the severing of the hands of criminals.

    “Donald Trump said something about keeping people who have those views out of this country and he has been excoriated all over the world,” he lamented.

    SOURCE – http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/pat-robertson-defends-donald-trumps-muslim-immigration-ban

    RWW News: Pat Robertson Defends Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban

  3. Kay24 on December 12, 2015, 1:02 am

    For years islamaphobes backed by millions of dollars have waged an anti Muslim campaign in this nation. From Gaffney led protests where a Mosque was going to be built, to filthy anti Muslim posters by some ugly bigoted people, there has been a drip drip of deliberate anti Muslim propaganda by unknown elements, whose main intention is to poison naive American minds.
    An article did say that many of these anonymous backers were wealthy zionists. No surprise.

    Now that violent extremists have begun to terrorize various nations, it played right into the hands of the islamaphobes, who must be gleeful that their campaign is looking credible for some people, after all didn’t they warn Americans that all Muslims are dangerous? Now we have the evangelical extremists and the republican bigots making too much noise about all Muslims, making this an ugly environment for innocent American Muslims. This is not a good time in America, and it will only lead to an ugly time in American history, and it will also show the rest of the world that despite what we have boasted about, the US is one of the most prejudiced and bigoted nations in the world – at least according to our media. I am presently overseas, and I see a stark difference in the way this anti Muslim sentiment is being played out.
    It is not sensationalized nor is Trump given so much of unnecessary coverage.

    The bottom line is, all this anti Muslim BS is really adding to the ugly image we already have.
    It is really embarrassing, to say the least.

    People are not surprised that the nation that bombs Muslim nations are also anti Muslim within the country.

  4. Scott on December 12, 2015, 11:12 am

    Just to let everyone here know, when Trump gets elected, if it’s necessary I will hide you.

    • Eva Smagacz on December 12, 2015, 11:22 am

      If Trump were to get elected, there will be a long queue of minorities requiring bolt-holes.

      • Scott on December 12, 2015, 11:47 am

        Only have room for mondoweissers.

  5. lysias on December 14, 2015, 12:40 pm

    I wonder how often this has happened and is going to happen.

    French teacher invented Aubervilliers school attack:

    A teacher at a French preschool who said he had been stabbed by a man shouting “Islamic State” has admitted he made the story up, prosecutors say.

    • talknic on December 14, 2015, 8:30 pm

      One also wonders how much Palestinian terrorism was committed by Israeli criminal factions slaughtering each other

  6. lysias on December 14, 2015, 12:57 pm

    I guess this means it wasn’t terrorism: NBC News: Parents of Accused Mosque Arsonist Carl Dial Describe Him as Loner:

    The parents of a 23-year-old charged with a hate crime for an arson fire at a California mosque described their son as a loner who might have some type of mental issue, but said if he committed the crime he will have to face the consequences.

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