Muslim Ban 3.0: A Racist Attack on Religious Liberty

Muslim Ban 3.0: A Racist Attack on Religious Liberty January 27, 2020

As the 2020 election season begins, President Trump’s evangelical endorsers are touting his record on religious freedom to shore up his support among their base. Their strained reading of the issue — for example, citing the First Amendment to justify denying adoption services, health care and public accommodations to LGBTQ families — stands in stark contrast to the simple moral clarity of the gravest threat to religious freedom in the United States today: the Trump administration’s discrimination against Muslims on the basis of their faith.

As I write, the Trump administration is reportedly working on dramatically expanding the Muslim Ban policy, which currently bars Iranian, Libyan, Somali, Syrian and Yemeni people from entering the United States, as well as North Koreans and Venezuelans. We don’t yet know how many additional countries will be added to the list, but advocates expect it to be long. Such a policy would be nothing less than a racist attack on religious freedom, joining a hall of shame alongside the quota systems that excluded Catholic and Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the 1920s. Whether one is directly affected by the ban or not, we are all less free and less safe when banning people because of their religion or ethnicity is even in the realm of political possibility.

Let’s be clear about the truth here. While the administration invokes national security to justify the ban, that’s a paper-thin pretext for discrimination. Early in the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Trump called for “a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country.” Within one week of taking office, he banned entry from seven Muslim-majority countries. When that was struck down as unconstitutional, the administration replaced two of them with non-Muslim majority countries.We can’t let his enablers get away with un-ringing the bell of bigotry.

It’s noteworthy, and likely no coincidence, that the ban expansion plans are under way on the eve of the 3rd anniversary of Executive Order 13769 — the original Muslim Ban, which President Trump issued on January 27th, 2017.

What followed E.O. 13769 was a spontaneous and historic outpouring of resistance to the administration’s bigotry and authoritarianism. Within 24 hours of the Muslim ban’s announcement, thousands of people from all backgrounds showed up at major airports to protest, to provide aid to stranded Muslim travelers, and to show the world that the Statue of Liberty’s torch still burned. The airports were the scene of the crime. Green card holders with families in the U.S. were detained. Reports of denials of access to legal counsel circulated. It was chaos.

Sign: Jews Against the Muslim BanAs a pastor who leads a multi-faith network of faith leaders, I was pleased to see Jewish and Christian symbols and garb among the airport crowds. “Jews against the Muslim ban,” read one sign at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC. Interfaith unity in the face of President Trump’s attacks was crucial. Leaving our Muslim family to fend for themselves against discrimination would have been not only an assault on human dignity, but a failure to defend religious freedom.

We need that same spirit of urgency and solidarity, that same commitment to equality and religious liberty, today. The Muslim Ban has devastated families, leaving married couples stranded in different countries for years on end. People have missed the birth of new children and the passing away of elderly family members. Careers and dreams have been derailed. Expanding the ban would increase the suffering of Muslims and flout the Constitution.

When I dialogue with leaders of minority faiths, I hear over and over again that fully inclusive interfaith support is critical to preventing demonization and the denial of religious freedom. I can’t help but ask where Trump-supporting evangelical operatives are. The silence from the Religious Right when Muslims are targets of collective suspicion and collective punishment validates the most hard-hitting charges that they want theocracy — especially when viewed in contrast to their vocal support of policies that carve out special rights to discrimination. Advocating religious freedom only for oneself isn’t a defense of liberty at all, it’s an assertion of privilege.

If and when the Trump administration tries to expand the Muslim ban, I pray that my Muslim neighbors are supported by the full breadth of the faith community. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus asks the disciples “who is my neighbor?” The answer is not the adherent of one’s own faith, it is the person who shows compassion. Let us be true neighbors by joining together in true defense of religious liberty.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Patrick

    trump defenders and supporters are now known as aiders and abettors.

  • Rainbow Warrior

    They’ve been that since 2016

  • fractal

    Fundamentalists of any religion are strikingly alike in values.
    No wonder they don’t get along.

  • Lauren Greene

    Extremists of any religion are a scourge upon humanity.

  • I wish my name was Fred

    We don’t want our kids ran over with trucks at Christmas time, like what happened in Germany two years ago. We also don’t want priest’s throats cut like what happened in France a few years ago.

  • Equality and religious freedom are our bedrock values.

  • J_Bob

    Don’t forget the multible religious believers by ISIS.

  • Guru Prasad Pal

    Bekal Utsahi Best Ghazals Collection | 3 selected ghazals of beckle enthusiasts who carve out truth and love
    https://www.hindishayarih.in/2020/02/bekal-utsahi-best-ghazals-collection-3.html

  • Julie Richards

    Reading this article gives me some hope that we aren’t all ignorant and closed minded. I have hope…even if it is small at the present moment.

  • Pennybird

    Trump and his minions are swimming against a tidal wave of diversity and will ultimately be defeated in there futile attempts to keep us a white majority, male led autocracy. As fast and easy as it has been to dismantle what America stands for, we can also rebuild once he’s out of office. Which better be soon because we’ve got a lot of rebuilding ahead of us as it is.

    We’ve proved it before: America is better than some of the trash generated within our borders

  • Chorbais Dichault

    Oh no, no, no, Fred… you must know and accept and confess and teach others that such thoughts are RAAAAACIST thoughtycrimes and that’s the Unpardonable Sin and death is preferable to being a rayciss. Your “white-skin privilege” demands expiation, and without the shedding of blood (by the Islamic freedom fighters the West constantly oppresses) there is no remission of Western sinfulness. You need to get your mind right.

    /sarc (a tag always needed, even when it seems the point is plain enough)

  • I wish my name was Fred

    Yes and i’m also a raaacist because i don’t walk around at night in the inner city. Funny how common sense can be turned on people.

  • mike malzahn

    very true. so how many muslims do you consider to be fundamentalists?

  • mike malzahn

    lol, talk about painting with a broad brush. i didn’t vote for trump the first time, but will this time. i was against his ban when it came out and still am, but this is a small issue.

  • mike malzahn

    “Let us be true neighbors by joining together in true defense of religious liberty.” does the author ever comment here? if, what do you think of the indonesian 2006 [so-called] religious harmony act?

  • mike malzahn
  • Patrick

    That’s one of the wonderful things about this country, you can vote for whoever you please.

  • mike malzahn

    true. although some will attack you for voting for trump, and i mean literally. so what exactly are trump supporters aiding and abetting that you don’t like [other than the travel ban]? market highs? record [low]unemployment rates?

  • Patrick

    Abuse of power – requesting a foreign govt. to announce an investigation of Biden regarding Burisma. It was clear that he did not need or want an actual investigation, just an announcement of one. It bothered him not a whit for his first 3 years in office, but once Biden showed strength in the presidential race, all of a sudden this is worth investigating? A man who has numerous bankruptcies and marriages is suddenly concerned about corruption??? That’s utterly laughable!
    But given the state of the economy and the unemployment rate, he could likely run his campaign on those two issues alone and win.

  • Emily Elizabeth Windsor-Cragg

    Religious liberty is one thing. The Right to believe what you feel is correct and RIGHT, is one thing. But claiming that your God’s teachings INCLUDE ANTI-SOCIAL and Criminal behavior, is another thing. The Quran TEACHES behaviors :: taqiyya, which is treachery; jizzya, which is protection tax racketeering; jihad, which is divide and conquer domination over others. These are not civil behavios–not anywhere. These are Mafia behaviors of a NONMORAL so-called “God.” And no society has to put up with such bad behavior from its citizens–not to even mention–abuse of women and little girls. But I don’t know the official Quranic terms for those behaviors.

  • mike malzahn

    so rainbow warrior is wrong in saying it has been since 2016. it started with the release of this ukraine phone call?

    let me ask you this, if biden wasn’t running for president, would the phone call have been alright?

  • Patrick

    Can’t speak for rainbow warrior, I’ll let others speak for themselves. And no, I don’t think Biden running for prez has any bearing on the appropriateness of the phone call. If any investigation needed to be done, it should have been through our own Justice Department. No favors needed to be asked of another nation.

  • mike malzahn

    how does our justice department investigate a ukrainian company?

  • mike malzahn

    i’m no asking you to speak for rainbow warrior. i’m asking you your opinion of his comment.

  • Patrick

    They don’t, they investigate the Bidens, which is what trump asked of Zelensky.

  • mike malzahn

    lol. right but you have to investigate the ukrainians to see what they got, if anything out of the bidens.

    you do understand how influence pedaling goes?

  • Patrick

    Influence pedaling? Here’s a couple of examples that may fit; “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you find those emails” followed shortly by the release of thousands of an opponent’s emails. Or perhaps this; “I need you to do us a favor . . . “ followed by the withholding of already committed aid. A couple of examples among a multitude of possibilities.

  • mike malzahn

    ““Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you find those emails”” that is not influence pedaling. what influence could he pedal as a candid?

    yes, the second one is influence pedaling.

    you are yet to answer my question. why is that?

    here is another one [i’m sure you won’t answer], why was it ok for biden to brag about withholding aid to the Ukraine?

    and again, how does the department of justice in america investigate a ukrainian company?

  • mike malzahn

    lol. but you have to investigate the company in order to investigate the biden.

  • Patrick

    Obviously much took place prior to and after trump’s statement to Russia regarding the emails. His statement was a small sample within a larger event of influence pedaling. You don’t see it as influence pedaling, I do.
    So be it.
    Regarding the trump’s requested investigation of the Bidens; it was not a request to investigate a Ukrainian company. So the same request could have and should have been made to our own Justice Department.
    Hopefully this is now clear enough. If not . . . you’ll have to take it up elsewhere.

  • mike malzahn

    asking he russians to release Hilary’s emails [if they had them] is not influence pedaling by definition.

    “investigation of the Bidens; it was not a request to investigate a Ukrainian company” you have to do both. you can’t investigate the biden’s without investigating the company. of course you would involve the justice department as well, but you also need the ukrainians to cooperate.

  • mike malzahn

    in case you missed it: [cause you know, cnn and msnbc probably didn’t cover it]

    https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2020/02/08/police-van-drives-through-republican-partys-voter-registration-tent/

  • How many xtians to you consider to be fundamentalists. Still spreading Islamophobia what mike?

  • mike malzahn

    to your first quesiton [the one without the quesiton mark]. 300 million.

    as to your second sentence, i don’t know what you mean to ask, or if that is supposed to be a statement?

    so how many muslims do you consider to be fundamentalists?

  • no muslims who I have known have shown that streak until my ex-wife who I have seen you interact with… Lenna.

  • mike malzahn

    you are lenna’s ex husband? where does she live [just a general location like city].

    are the salafi fundamentalist?

    how about the indonesians who circumcise their little girls, or demand a virginity test of women wanting to join the military? or is it the national police?

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/nov/18/female-genital-mutilation-circumcision-indonesia

    https://time.com/3883558/indonesia-virginity-tests/

    looks like both the milirtary and police. or to marry a high ranking officer. is this fundamentalism in your book?

    so you aren’t going to answer my original question?