SAALT Joins Senator Cardin (D‑MD), Leaders For Roundtable To Address “Muslim Bans”


On March 20, 2017, South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al South Asian civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion, joined Sen­a­tor Ben Cardin (D‑MD) and orga­ni­za­tion­al lead­ers for a round­table dis­cus­sion on the dev­as­tat­ing impacts of Pres­i­dent Trump’s “Mus­lim Bans” and the impor­tant judi­cial rul­ings that have sti­fled their enact­ment.

The nation con­tin­ues to expe­ri­ence a blind­ing uptick in anti-Mus­lim, anti-immi­grant hate vio­lence, embold­ened by the Pres­i­den­t’s vir­tu­al­ly iden­ti­cal “Mus­lim Bans.” In two months our com­mu­ni­ties have expe­ri­enced dead­ly shoot­ings in Kansas and Wash­ing­ton State, arson and van­dal­ism of mosques, busi­ness­es, and homes nation­wide, and the heavy weight of fear and uncer­tain­ty expe­ri­enced by our com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try.

Rep­re­sent­ing SAALT at the round­table, Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Direc­tor of Nation­al Pol­i­cy and Advo­ca­cy, not­ed, “There is an acute rela­tion­ship between poli­cies and rhetoric that crim­i­nal­ize Mus­lim, Arab, and South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties and the hate vio­lence tar­get­ing these com­mu­ni­ties. While the judi­cia­ry dogged­ly blocks the Pres­i­den­t’s “Mus­lim Bans,” the dam­age con­tin­ues to be done as each week uncov­ers a new inven­to­ry of vic­tims of racial­ly moti­vat­ed attacks.”

The vio­lence cur­rent­ly fac­ing the nation is build­ing on the tox­ic momen­tum of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. SAALT’s lat­est report, “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial,” doc­u­ments over 200 instances of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric dur­ing this his­tor­i­cal­ly divi­sive elec­tion cycle, with 95% of inci­dents ani­mat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment and 1 out of 5 xeno­pho­bic com­ments ema­nat­ing from then-can­di­date Trump.

At the round­table, Sen­a­tor Cardin respond­ed to SAALT’s find­ings and the uptick in hate vio­lence nation­wide, stat­ing, “It starts with lead­er­ship. Pres­i­dent Trump’s com­ments as a can­di­date and a Pres­i­dent is just the oppo­site of what you need.”

The Pres­i­dent has tried to strate­gi­cal­ly dis­tance him­self from his own cam­paign rhetoric over recent weeks in hopes of push­ing through his “Mus­lim Ban 2.0,” but last week the Mary­land Fed­er­al Dis­trict Court was­n’t con­vinced. In its rul­ing U.S. Dis­trict Judge Theodore Chuang not­ed, “Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, the record also includes spe­cif­ic state­ments direct­ly estab­lish­ing that Trump intend­ed to effec­tu­ate a par­tial Mus­lim ban by ban­ning entry by cit­i­zens of spe­cif­ic pre­dom­i­nant­ly Mus­lim coun­tries deemed to be dan­ger­ous, as a means to avoid, for polit­i­cal rea­sons, an action explic­it­ly direct­ed at Mus­lims.”

2017 has been a ban­ner year for hate. What we’ve learned in these short months is that words mat­ter, words can be dead­ly, and words prop­er­ly mea­sured can be the key to jus­tice. SAALT is lis­ten­ing.

CONTACT:  Vivek Trive­di —