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.”

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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