SAALT Condemns President Trump’s Tweets as “Unconscionable and Un-American”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) con­demns Pres­i­dent Trump’s appalling and irre­spon­si­ble actions in retweet­ing unver­i­fied videos por­tray­ing Mus­lims com­mit­ting vio­lence. The videos were titled: “Mus­lim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutch­es!”, “Mus­lim Destroys a Stat­ue of Vir­gin Mary!” and “Islamist mob push­es teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” The President’s tweets will only serve to active­ly incite vio­lence against com­mu­ni­ties in his own nation at a time when Mus­lims and those per­ceived to be Mus­lim face his­toric lev­els of vio­lence. This is not only uncon­scionable, it is un-Amer­i­can and deeply dis­turb­ing.

In response, Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT, released the fol­low­ing state­ment:

“The President’s incen­di­ary and irre­spon­si­ble tweets this morn­ing will con­tin­ue to cre­ate an atmos­phere of hatred, fear, and sus­pi­cion of our com­mu­ni­ties. The source of the President’s retweets is an ultra­na­tion­al­ist British par­ty leader who has been pre­vi­ous­ly charged with “reli­gious aggra­vat­ed harass­ment.” In response to the President’s tweets, David Duke, for­mer head of the Ku Klux Klan stat­ed, “Thank God for Trump! That’s why we love him!”
The actions and mes­sage sent across by the Pres­i­dent must be con­demned and renounced imme­di­ate­ly.

Hate remains sharply on the rise in the Unit­ed States. Accord­ing to the FBI’s 2016 hate crimes sta­tis­tics, anti-Mus­lim hate crimes increased by 19%, anti-Hin­du hate crimes increased by 100%, and anti-Sikh hate crimes increased by 17%. Accord­ing to PEW, assaults against Mus­lims have sur­passed lev­els reached in the after­math of the 9/11 attacks.

Since the elec­tion, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed over 205 inci­dents of hate vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­cans, a 58% increase from the year pri­or. Due to under­re­port­ing, these inci­dents are just a frac­tion of the vio­lence our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to face.

As a result of Islam­o­pho­bic fed­er­al poli­cies such as the Mus­lim Ban and the President’s seman­tic stam­pedes on twit­ter, our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to suf­fer injus­tices at the hands of white suprema­cists and anti-Mus­lim hate groups nation­wide.

We must demand bet­ter from our Pres­i­dent and democ­ra­cy. The Unit­ed States was found­ed on the prin­ci­ples of reli­gious free­dom, and our lead­ers must pro­mote rather than coun­ter­act these val­ues. SAALT oppos­es this administration’s acute­ly anti-Mus­lim rhetoric and poli­cies, and will con­tin­ue to demand dig­ni­ty and full inclu­sion for all com­mu­ni­ties.”

***
South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) is a nation­al, non­par­ti­san, non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that fights for racial jus­tice and advo­cates for the civ­il rights of all South Asians in the Unit­ed States. Our ulti­mate vision is dig­ni­ty and full inclu­sion for all.

CONTACT: Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org

Two-Day Mobilization Demanding Passage of a Clean DREAM Act Brings Hundreds of Our Communities to Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — Over the next two days, more than 120 Asian Amer­i­can and Pacif­ic Islander (AAPI) immi­grant youth and allies from over 15 states will con­vene at the U.S. Capi­tol to demand the pas­sage of a clean DREAM Act by Decem­ber 8. After the ter­mi­na­tion of DACA on Sep­tem­ber 5, eigh­teen AAPI orga­ni­za­tions came togeth­er to form the AAPI immi­grant rights orga­niz­ing table to orga­nize and advo­cate for a clean DREAM Act.

The con­ven­ing will open on Novem­ber 15 with a press con­fer­ence and a ral­ly fol­lowed by over 30 meet­ings with leg­is­la­tors on both sides of the aisle, urg­ing them to sup­port a clean DREAM Act that cre­ates a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for immi­grant youth with­out harm­ing oth­er mem­bers of the immi­grant com­mu­ni­ty.

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) has the priv­i­lege of facil­i­tat­ing the pres­ence of two South Asian DREAM­ers, Chi­rayu Patel and Ruchir, at the mobi­liza­tions to dri­ve home the mes­sage that our com­mu­ni­ties have a strong stake in the pas­sage of a clean DREAM Act.

Chi­rayu Patel arrived in the U.S. on a visa at the age of 11 and has tried to resolve his sta­tus since 1994. He has paid his tax­es, grad­u­at­ed from col­lege, and received DACA sta­tus in 2012. He is an out­spo­ken activists and has con­tin­u­al­ly asked pol­i­cy­mak­ers to exer­cise their pow­er and influ­ence to pass a clean DREAM Act as soon as pos­si­ble.

Ruchir has been work­ing in Sil­i­con Val­ley for over 13 years, at com­pa­nies large and small, sup­port­ing their I.T. infra­struc­ture in var­i­ous capac­i­ties and con­tribut­ing to Amer­i­ca’s econ­o­my. With the pro­tec­tion of DACA, he was able to get a bach­e­lors degree that allowed him to pro­vide for his fam­i­ly.

When the first DREAM Act was intro­duced 16 years ago, it was inspired by an Asian Amer­i­can stu­dent barred from attend­ing a pres­ti­gious music col­lege due to her immi­gra­tion sta­tus. Today almost 17,000 AAPIs have ben­e­fit­ted from the DACA pro­gram with South Korea, Chi­na, India and the Philip­pines among the top coun­tries of ori­gin of AAPI DACA-eli­gi­ble pop­u­la­tions.

It is the moral respon­si­bil­i­ty of Con­gress and the demands of a major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans to ensure that a clean DREAM Act is passed before the end of the year and is attached to the spend­ing bill to be vot­ed on Decem­ber 8. Every day we wait, more and more immi­grant youth fall out of sta­tus, los­ing their abil­i­ty to work, attain a high­er edu­ca­tion, and pro­tec­tion from depor­ta­tion.

Mobi­liza­tion led by the undoc­u­ment­ed com­mu­ni­ty is what won DACA in the first place. Togeth­er, we will not stop until a clean DREAM Act is passed and until all 11 mil­lion undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants have a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship.

For more infor­ma­tion, go to aapidream.org.

***
Par­tic­i­pat­ing groups include: 18MillionRising • Asian Amer­i­can Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tion Fund (AALDEF) • Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Jus­tice • Asso­ci­a­tion of Asian Pacif­ic Com­mu­ni­ty Health Orga­ni­za­tions (AAPCHO) • Asian Pacif­ic Amer­i­can Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO • ASPIRE • HANA Cen­ter • Kore­an Resource Cen­ter • NAKASEC • Nation­al Asian Pacif­ic Amer­i­can Wom­en’s Forum (NAPAWF) • Nation­al Coun­cil of Asian Pacif­ic Amer­i­cans (NCAPA) • Nation­al Fed­er­a­tion of Fil­ipino Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tions (NaF­FAA) • OCA — Asian Pacif­ic Amer­i­can Advo­cates • OCA-Asian Pacif­ic Amer­i­can Advo­cates Greater Seat­tle • RAISE (Rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing Asian Amer­i­can Immi­grant Sto­ries on the East Coast) • South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) • South­east Asia Resource Action Cen­ter (SEARAC) • The Office of Philadel­phia City Coun­cilmem­ber Helen Gym • UPLIFT

Con­tact: Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org

Hate remains on the rise, according to the FBI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Hate remains on the rise, accord­ing to the FBI’s 2016 hate crimes sta­tis­tics released this week. Since 2015, anti-Mus­lim hate crimes increased by 19%, anti-Hin­du hate crimes increased by 100%, and anti-Sikh hate crimes increased by 17%. These surges are on top of the his­toric spike in hate crimes report­ed in the FBI’s 2015 data, now mark­ing the high­est lev­els of vio­lence aimed at our com­mu­ni­ties since the year after 9/11. Trag­i­cal­ly, hate has become the new nor­mal for our com­mu­ni­ties.

In response to the ris­ing tide of vio­lence, Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), released the fol­low­ing state­ment:

“The FBI’s hate crimes sta­tis­tics under­line that vio­lence has become a fact of life for our com­mu­ni­ties. These inci­dents are just a frac­tion of the vio­lence our com­mu­ni­ties expe­ri­ence on a dai­ly basis. Accord­ing to FBI’s own esti­mates, for every one hate crime report­ed, five hate crimes go unre­port­ed. Enough is enough – the vio­lence must stop.

Trump, as a can­di­date and now as Pres­i­dent, has encour­aged and embold­ened hate vio­lence against our com­mu­ni­ties through his administration’s anti-Mus­lim, anti-immi­grant rhetoric and poli­cies. Since the elec­tion, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed over 205 inci­dents of hate vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­cans, a 58% increase from the year pri­or. From Mus­lim Bans to ter­mi­nat­ing DACA to sup­port of white suprema­cy, this administration’s rhetoric and divi­sive poli­cies are drag­ging our coun­try back­wards.

Our nation was found­ed on the prin­ci­ple that all peo­ple should enjoy the free­dom of reli­gion. Yet our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to live in fear based on the col­or of our skin, our nation of ori­gin, the ways we pray and the lan­guages we speak. Increas­ing lev­els of hate vio­lence don’t make Amer­i­ca great, they make Amer­i­cans afraid, and SAALT calls on all elect­ed and appoint­ed offi­cials, as well as law enforce­ment, to defend our country’s high­est val­ues of dig­ni­ty and full inclu­sion for all. We are stronger when we stand unit­ed and weak­er when we are divid­ed.”

***
South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) is a nation­al, non­par­ti­san, non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that fights for racial jus­tice and advo­cates for the civ­il rights of all South Asians in the Unit­ed States. Our ulti­mate vision is dig­ni­ty and full inclu­sion for all.

Con­tact: Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org

This Week In Hate: November 8- Hate Violence and Hate Rhetoric

Pre­pared by Rad­ha Modi

Over the past week, six new inci­dents of hate vio­lence occurred against South Asian, Mus­lim, and Mid­dle East­ern com­mu­ni­ties mark­ing the end of the first year of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. The lat­est num­bers in hate show over the past 12 months, there have been a total of 205 unique inci­dents of hate; a 58% increase from the pre­vi­ous year.   

There is a per­sis­tent increase in all cat­e­gories of hate vio­lence as shown in Fig­ure 2. Ver­bal and writ­ten threats are by far the most com­mon cat­e­go­ry of hate inci­dents with 83 occur­ring over the past year. Five of the six recent hate inci­dents involved writ­ten hate rhetoric or threats against mosques and local politi­cians.

For exam­ple, over the past week, numer­ous threats have been direct­ed towards a mosque in Pat­ter­son, NJ and a mosque in Pas­sa­ic, NJ. Fur­ther, hate-filled fliers were found in Hobo­ken, NJ with a pic­ture of Ravi Bhal­la, a local Sikh may­oral can­di­date, stat­ing Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town! A day pri­or, unknown per­pe­tra­tors sent mail­ers to Edi­son, NJ res­i­dents attack­ing local school board can­di­dates.

 

The increase in ver­bal and writ­ten assaults points to a grow­ing trend of sanc­tioned and nor­mal­ized hate rhetoric that is xeno­pho­bic and Islam­o­pho­bic by elect­ed offi­cials includ­ing Don­ald Trump. The rise in state-spon­sored implic­it or explic­it hate rhetoric is encour­ag­ing the tar­get­ing of those per­ceived to be for­eign and Mus­lim as well as oth­er mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. For instance, after the truck attack of bik­ers by Say­ful­lo Saipov, Pres­i­dent Trump tweet­ed out alarmist mes­sages that sup­port­ed his tar­get­ing of Mus­lim immi­grants: “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our coun­try after defeat­ing them in the Mid­dle East and else­where. Enough!”, “I have just ordered Home­land Secu­ri­ty to step up our already Extreme Vet­ting Pro­gram. Being polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect is fine, but not for this!, andCHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some peo­ple come in, and they bring their whole fam­i­ly with them, who can be tru­ly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!”. In com­par­i­son, Trump has yet to call out the extrem­ism of white shoot­ers in Las Vegas, NV and Suther­land Springs, TX. These tweets, undoubt­ed­ly, are meant to encour­age anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ments and nativist fears in the U.S.

 

THIS WEEK IN HATE: November 1- Continued Increase in Hate Violence

Pre­pared by Rad­ha Modi

As of Novem­ber 1, 2017, there have been 199 doc­u­ment­ed inci­dents of hate vio­lence against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, South Asian, Arab, or Mid­dle East­ern. Most notably, hate vio­lence this year has increased by 53% com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

The three cat­e­gories of hate vio­lence, phys­i­cal vio­lence, verbal/written threats, and prop­er­ty dam­age, have all sur­passed the totals from the year before the elec­tion as well. Ver­bal and writ­ten threats and hate­ful rhetoric are the most com­mon type of vio­lence with 78 doc­u­ment­ed inci­dents occur­ring since Novem­ber 8, 2016. A recent inci­dent of ver­bal assault occurred against a Mus­lim stu­dent, Fay Alwat­tari, at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cincin­nati by his music pro­fes­sor. The pro­fes­sor respond­ed to Alwattari’s assign­ment with a bar­rage of incen­di­ary com­ments such as: “The U.S. President’s first sworn duty is to pro­tect Amer­i­ca from ene­mies, and the great­est threat to our free­dom is not the Pres­i­dent, it is rad­i­cal Islam. Review this list of Islam­ic ter­ror­ist attacks and then tell me about your hurt feel­ings.” Uni­ver­si­ty of Cincin­nati is inves­ti­gat­ing the professor’s prob­lem­at­ic behav­ior. In addi­tion to ver­bal assaults, inci­dents of phys­i­cal vio­lence also con­tin­ue to rise with three new inci­dents occur­ring in the past week includ­ing an attack on a Hin­du Tem­ple by an unknown sus­pect in Lex­ing­ton, KY. Cur­rent­ly, the total num­ber of phys­i­cal assaults for this year are 68 inci­dents. Final­ly, prop­er­ty dam­age often con­sist­ing of van­dal­ism com­pris­es the third cat­e­go­ry of hate inci­dents with 53 unique inci­dents occur­ring since Novem­ber 8, 2016.

Just this past week­end, a four foot cross wrapped in bacon was left at a mosque in Twin Falls, Ida­ho. Local law enforce­ment are inves­ti­gat­ing this inci­dent as a hate crime.

Con­sis­tent with the num­bers from last week, women who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, South Asian, Arab, or Mid­dle East­ern con­tin­ue to be the most com­mon tar­get of hate mak­ing up 29% of hate vio­lence in the SAALT data­base. Hate inci­dents against men, youth, and Mus­lim places of wor­ship come in sec­ond with com­pa­ra­ble per­cent­ages. Nine­teen per­cent of hate vio­lence is against youth, a slight increase from the pre­vi­ous week. On Octo­ber 25th, Christo­pher Beck­ham harassed two Mus­lim girls wear­ing hijabs com­ing off of a school bus and threat­ened their father with a knife. He told them to “go back to their coun­try” and that he would kill them when he got out of prison.