South Asian American Organizations Condemn Violence in Delhi

As mem­bers of South Asian orga­ni­za­tions in the U.S. that believe in the val­ues of dig­ni­ty, jus­tice and inclu­sion for all, we are hor­ri­fied by the vio­lence tar­get­ing Indi­an Mus­lims in Del­hi this week.  Since Sun­day, at least 40 peo­ple have been killed and hun­dreds more injured. We are struck by the heart wrench­ing footage of Mus­lims flee­ing their homes, stores and homes burnt to ash­es, the des­e­cra­tion of mosques and vio­lent attacks by mobs on Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties.

What is most alarm­ing is the role of the police in incit­ing the vio­lence and the speech of a local politi­cian from the Hin­du nation­al­ist BJP par­ty warn­ing pro­tes­tors of the bru­tal­i­ty  that would be unleashed on them if they failed to clear the streets before Trump’s vis­it. This is state sanc­tioned vio­lence, as chief offi­cers of the Del­hi police stood behind him in sol­i­dar­i­ty.

 As mem­bers of the Dias­po­ra we can­not be silent.

These events are hor­ri­fy­ing. And dis­turbing­ly, they are not entire­ly unex­pect­ed.  They come after a series of exclu­sion­ary and unjust actions tar­get­ing reli­gious and caste minori­ties and vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions, par­tic­u­lar­ly since the re-elec­tion of Modi. 

There have been wide scale protests through­out India since the gov­ern­ment passed the inher­ent­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry Cit­i­zen­ship Amend­ment Act, which active­ly cre­ates an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, reli­gion-based cri­te­ria to grant cit­i­zen­ship to select immi­grants and lays the legal foun­da­tion to denat­u­ral­ize mil­lions of Indi­an minori­ties, effec­tive­ly cre­at­ing the largest net­work of con­cen­tra­tion camps in the world. The CAA, in con­junc­tion with the Nation­al Reg­is­tra­tion of Cit­i­zens (NRC) list, effec­tive­ly ren­ders India’s 200 mil­lion Mus­lims state­less

In Kash­mir, Indi­a’s ongo­ing mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion has inten­si­fied since August 5th, when com­mu­ni­ca­tions were cut and the region was placed under an intense crack­down. The Indi­an state has effec­tive­ly silenced Kash­miris and detained thou­sands of peo­ple includ­ing minors and many Kash­miris fear a set­tler-colo­nial project that would change the demo­graph­ics of the region from a Mus­lim-major­i­ty state to a Hin­du-major­i­ty state.

And across the coun­try, there has been a surge in the num­ber of lynch­ings of minori­ties, most­ly Mus­lims, Dal­its and Chris­tians, under Modi’s lead­er­ship.

The Modi gov­ern­ment is imple­ment­ing a Hin­du nation­al­ist agen­da, known as Hin­dut­va, or right wing Hin­du nation­al­ism, which is root­ed in the alarm­ing notion that Hin­dus are racial­ly and cul­tur­al­ly supe­ri­or to oth­ers. Sim­i­lar to white suprema­cy, which South Asians (includ­ing Hin­dus) in the Unit­ed States con­tend reg­u­lar­ly with, Hin­dut­va threat­ens the rights, bod­ies, free­doms, and liveli­hoods of non-Hin­dus in India. 

These suprema­cist ide­olo­gies implic­it­ly and explic­it­ly sanc­tion hate — and put our com­mu­ni­ties in dan­ger- both in the U.S. and in the sub­con­ti­nent.  SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed more than 542 inci­dents of hate vio­lence in the U.S. tar­get­ing Mus­lims and those racial­ized as Mus­lim since Novem­ber 2015. 

The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in India, fueled by nation­al­ism and Hin­dut­va, has glob­al impli­ca­tions. Over the past five years there has been a dra­mat­ic increase in the num­ber of Indi­an nation­als seek­ing asy­lum in the U.S. Peo­ple seek­ing asy­lum from per­se­cu­tion range from Sikh polit­i­cal activists to reli­gious minori­ties to those fac­ing caste oppres­sion. The anti-Mus­lim mea­sures in India are a part of a tide of ris­ing Islam­o­pho­bia, and comes as the Trump Admin­is­ra­tion just expand­ed its own Mus­lim Ban.

As South Asian orga­ni­za­tions work­ing toward build­ing pow­er and capac­i­ty with our com­mu­ni­ties, we urge all South Asian Amer­i­cans to under­stand the con­nec­tions between white suprema­cy and Hin­dut­va, to unite around human rights, to sup­port poli­cies that uphold dig­ni­ty and inclu­sion for all, and to denounce hate vio­lence in all its forms.  

We urge South Asians to: ask their Mem­bers of Con­gress to join Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Bey­er, Raskin, Omar, Cas­tro, Tlaib, and Jaya­pal; and Sen­a­tors Sanders and War­ren in con­demn­ing the vio­lence tar­get­ing Indi­an Mus­lims, caste oppressed com­mu­ni­ties and Kash­miris (includ­ing co-spon­sor­ing House Res­o­lu­tion 745); to edu­cate them­selves and their own com­mu­ni­ties about the impli­ca­tions and impacts of Hin­dut­va; and show up to the protests at Indi­an con­sulates on Feb­ru­ary 28th and orga­nize their per­son­al net­works, tem­ples, and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions to defund hate and stop sup­port­ing the BJP and RSS now. The time to stop geno­cide is now. 

Signed,

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT)

Indi­an Amer­i­can Mus­lim Coun­cil (IAMC)

Equal­i­ty Labs 

Stand with Kash­mir

Hin­dus for Human Rights (HfHR)

Sad­hana: Coali­tion of Pro­gres­sive Hin­dus 

DesiQ Dias­po­ra (DQD)

Sakhi for South Asian Women

South Asia Sol­i­dar­i­ty Ini­tia­tive

Stu­dents Against Hin­dut­va (SAH)

Atlanta Kash­miri Com­mu­ni­ty

Alliance of South Asians Tak­ing Action

Burmese Rohingya Com­mu­ni­ty of Geor­gia 

The Sikh Coali­tion 

Coun­cil Of Peo­ples Orga­ni­za­tion 

API Chaya

Desis Ris­ing Up and Mov­ing (DRUM)

South Asians Build­ing Account­abil­i­ty & Heal­ing (SABAH)

India Home

Sikh Amer­i­can Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tion Fund (SALDEF)

Chhaya CDC

Coali­tion of Seat­tle Indi­an-Amer­i­cans (CSIA)

South Asian Work­ers’ Cen­ter — Boston

Nation­al Queer Asian Pacif­ic Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Jakara Move­ment

Adhikaar

South Asian Youth in Hous­ton Unite (SAYHU)

###

Administration Acts on Threat to Expand Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jan­u­ary 31, 2020

Ear­li­er today, just days after the third anniver­sary of the Mus­lim Ban, the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion struck again by adding six more coun­tries to this racist pol­i­cy. Nation­als of Myan­mar, Nige­ria, Kyr­gyzs­tan and Eritrea will be banned from seek­ing immi­grant visas and nation­als of Sudan and Tan­za­nia will be banned from the diver­si­ty visa lot­tery. While it is expect­ed that Nige­ri­ans will be most impact­ed in num­ber, it is also painful to see that Mus­lim refugees flee­ing geno­cide in Myan­mar will be turned away by our nation just as Jew­ish refugees were decades ago dur­ing the Holo­caust.

“One thing is clear, the Mus­lim Ban was this administration’s first fam­i­ly sep­a­ra­tion pol­i­cy just days after the pres­i­den­tial inau­gu­ra­tion in 2017, and it has served as the foun­da­tion­al pol­i­cy for tar­get­ing com­mu­ni­ties of col­or ever since. Since then, we have seen attacks on DACA, TPS, diver­si­ty lot­tery, green cards, pub­lic ben­e­fits, refugees, asy­lum seek­ers, preg­nant women, and more to insti­tu­tion­al­ize a white suprema­cist agen­da,” said Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, SAALT’s Inter­im Exec­u­tive Direc­tor.

Since Jan­u­ary of 2017, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed an uptick in white suprema­cist hate vio­lence aimed at Mus­lims and those racial­ized as Mus­lim, includ­ing 350 inci­dents of hate and 200 instances of xeno­pho­bic or Islam­o­pho­bic rhetoric from media out­lets and elect­ed offi­cials. SAALT’s 2018 report “Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire” found that Mus­lim women wear­ing hijab and indi­vid­u­als with dark­er skin col­or were more fre­quent­ly the tar­gets of the most vio­lent acts of hate. This runs par­al­lel to today’s expan­sion of the Mus­lim Ban tar­get­ing Mus­lim major­i­ty African nations.

Con­gress has the pow­er to end all of this by pass­ing the NO BAN Act. This leg­is­la­tion would imme­di­ate­ly rescind the Mus­lim Ban and lim­it the exec­u­tive branch’s author­i­ty to exer­cise such wide and unchecked dis­cre­tion in issu­ing racist poli­cies. Today’s expan­sion of the Mus­lim Ban under­scores the need to pass a clean NO BAN Act with zero excep­tions because even the small­est open­ing can unleash such wide­spread destruc­tion.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org
###

FBI Releases 2018 Hate Crimes Report: Hate in the U.S. is getting deadlier

Novem­ber 12, 2019

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: The Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion (FBI) released its annu­al hate crimes report for 2018 ear­ly this morn­ing. The report doc­u­ment­ed 7,120 hate inci­dents in 2018, down slight­ly from 7,175 in 2017. Despite the minor decrease, hate vio­lence was more dead­ly and vio­lent than it has been since the surge of vio­lence against com­mu­ni­ties after the Sep­tem­ber 11th attacks in 2001.

Major find­ings of the report:

  • 2018 was the deadliest and most violent year for hate since 2001. There were 24 hate crime relat­ed deaths and 3,099 vio­lent crime offens­es in 2018.
  • Hate crimes towards Sikhs in the U.S. TRIPLED from 20 inci­dents in 2017 to 60 inci­dents in 2018.
  • There were 82 Anti-Arab hate crimes recorded in 2018 -  the second-highest total since the FBI added an anti-Arab category in 2015.
  • There were 188 anti-Muslim hate crimes recorded, down slight­ly from last year but the fifth-highest total on record.
  • There were 14 anti-Hindu hate crimes record­ed in 2018 — down from 15 in 2017.
  • Of the known offenders, over 50% identified as white​ 

Data col­lec­tion and under­re­port­ing of hate vio­lence remains a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem. The Fed­er­al Bureau of Jus­tice Sta­tis­tics reports an aver­age of 250,000 hate crimes every year in the U.S. That’s 35 times more than what the FBI doc­u­ment­ed in 2018. Only 13% of the over 16,000 par­tic­i­pat­ing law enforce­ment agen­cies report­ed any hate crimes in their juris­dic­tions. Dis­turbing­ly, the mur­ders of Khalid Jabara, Srini­vas Kuchib­hot­la, and Heather Hey­er in 2016 and 2017, like so many oth­er hate crimes, have not been includ­ed in offi­cial FBI sta­tis­tics. The vast major­i­ty of crimes are going unre­port­ed.

And as we saw in 2017, white suprema­cy con­tin­ues to be a pri­ma­ry moti­va­tion behind hate vio­lence in the US. In both 2017 and 2018, over 50% of known offend­ers of report­ed hate crimes iden­ti­fied as white.

Of the over 500 inci­dents of hate vio­lence tar­get­ing South Asians, Mus­lims, Sikhs, Hin­dus, Mid­dle East­ern, and Arab Amer­i­cans thatSAALT has doc­u­ment­ed since Novem­ber 2016, at least 80% have been moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. In SAALT’s 2018 report “Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire,” one in every five per­pe­tra­tors of hate vio­lence ref­er­enced Pres­i­dent Trump, a Trump admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy, or Trump cam­paign slo­gan.

White suprema­cist vio­lence, fanned by the flames of racist rhetoric and poli­cies at the fed­er­al lev­el like the Mus­lim Ban and fam­i­ly sep­a­ra­tion, con­tin­ues to dev­as­tate Black and brown com­mu­ni­ties. Anti-Black hate crimes account­ed for more than 25% of vio­lent hate crimes report­ed in 2018 and the major­i­ty of inci­dents moti­vat­ed by race.

The cur­rent Admin­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues to pro­mote rather than address the root caus­es of this vio­lence. Com­pre­hen­sive data col­lec­tion is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of doc­u­ment­ing the prob­lem, but acknowl­edg­ing and active­ly com­bat­ing white suprema­cy is the most impor­tant step to ensur­ing this vio­lence does­n’t con­tin­ue to wreak hav­oc on peo­ple’s lives.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

###

SAALT Statement on the Rise of Hindu Nationalism

Sep­tem­ber 10, 2019

SAALT is deeply con­cerned by the actions of the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment of India and the impact of its Hin­du nation­al­ist agen­da on not only com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in the region but also South Asian Amer­i­cans liv­ing in the U.S.  

Reli­gious minori­ties and vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions in the region have faced high lev­els of dis­crim­i­na­tion and exclu­sion in India, par­tic­u­lar­ly after Mod­i’s recent re-elec­tion.  In Kash­mir, res­i­dents are liv­ing under a 37 day com­mu­ni­ca­tions block­ade and being stripped of both their polit­i­cal rights and human rights;  in Assam, the gov­ern­ment has imple­ment­ed a cit­i­zen­ship doc­u­men­ta­tion sys­tem that delib­er­ate­ly excludes near­ly 1.9 mil­lion peo­ple, most­ly Mus­lims;  and across the coun­try there has been a surge in the num­ber of lynch­ings of minori­ties, most­ly Mus­lims, Dal­its and Chris­tians, under Modi’s lead­er­ship. 

The Modi gov­ern­ment is imple­ment­ing a Hin­du nation­al­ist agen­da, known as Hin­dut­va, a polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy that is diver­gent from the plu­ral­is­tic prac­tices and beliefs of Hin­duism itself.  Hin­dut­va, or right wing Hin­du nation­al­ism, is root­ed in the alarm­ing notion that Hin­dus are racial­ly and cul­tur­al­ly supe­ri­or to oth­ers. Sim­i­lar to white suprema­cy, which South Asians (includ­ing Hin­dus) in the Unit­ed States con­tend reg­u­lar­ly with, Hin­dut­va threat­ens the rights, bod­ies, free­doms, and liveli­hoods of non-Hin­dus in India.    

The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in India, fueled by nation­al­ism and Hin­dut­va, has glob­al impli­ca­tions. For exam­ple, over the past five years there has been a dra­mat­ic increase in the num­ber of Indi­an nation­als seek­ing asy­lum in the U.SPeo­ple seek­ing asy­lum from per­se­cu­tion range from Sikh polit­i­cal activists to LGBT activists to those fac­ing caste oppres­sion. They flee to the U.S. seek­ing refuge from per­se­cu­tion in India, but often face bru­tal con­di­tions upon arrival to the U.S. SAALT works to sup­port asy­lum seek­ers who are caught in a cru­el deten­tion sys­tem. 

South Asians in the Unit­ed States have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to speak up and take action, espe­cial­ly now giv­en the dire sit­u­a­tion in Kash­mir and the upcom­ing trip by Prime Min­is­ter Modi to the Unit­ed States. We urge South Asians to raise aware­ness about the impli­ca­tions and impact of Hin­dut­va, and to lend your voic­es to the cho­rus of peo­ple rais­ing con­cerns. We urge South Asian Amer­i­cans to under­stand the con­nec­tions between white suprema­cy and Hin­dut­va, to unite around human rights, to sup­port poli­cies that uphold dig­ni­ty and inclu­sion for all, and to denounce hate vio­lence in all its forms.  

###

 

Remembering Oak Creek and all Survivors of Hate Violence

August 5, 2019 

On this day exact­ly sev­en years ago, a known white suprema­cist opened fire with a 9 mil­lime­ter semi­au­to­mat­ic hand­gun in the Oak Creek, WI gur­d­wara, and killed six peo­ple. We are still mourn­ing the dev­as­tat­ing impact of this vio­lence today. Just this week­end, white male shoot­ers claimed 31 lives in El Paso, TX and Day­ton, OH. The El Paso shoot­er pub­lished an online man­i­festo inspired by the mass mur­der of Mus­lims in Christchurch, New Zealand and echo­ing the Trump Administration’s dai­ly onslaught of racist rhetoric and pol­i­cy.    

There were 2,009 hate crimes in 30 of the coun­try’s largest cities in 2018 — the high­est num­ber in the past decade. Last year marked the 5th con­sec­u­tive increase in hate crimes, the steep­est rise since 2015, accord­ing to police data ana­lyzed by the Cen­ter for the Study of Hate & Extrem­ism at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, San Bernardi­no.

State­ments and repeat­ed con­dem­na­tions are not enough.  White suprema­cist vio­lence is killing peo­ple of col­or and immi­grants. Any elect­ed offi­cial refus­ing to acknowl­edge this prob­lem and con­sid­er leg­is­la­tion that con­fronts this vio­lence is com­plic­it. We demand our elect­ed offi­cials and law enforce­ment agen­cies track the threat of orga­nized white suprema­cy as a sys­temic issue and that they address the root caus­es of hate vio­lence. We refuse to view these as iso­lat­ed inci­dents and will con­tin­ue work­ing to dis­man­tle all sys­tems that per­pet­u­ate this vio­lence, fueled by the ille­git­i­mate white suprema­cist claim to our nation’s stolen land.

We send love to our Sikh fam­i­ly and all sur­vivors of hate on this extreme­ly dif­fi­cult day and for­ti­fy our com­mit­ment to “Char­di Kala” as we fight for jus­tice.

Here’s what you can do today to sup­port sur­vivors of hate: 

*Donate to help sur­vivors and fam­i­lies of vic­tims. The El Paso Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion is accept­ing dona­tions here.

*Offer sup­port local­ly in El Paso here.

*Con­nect with orga­ni­za­tions like Hope Bor­der Insti­tute (@HopeBorder) and NM Comu­nidades en Acción y de Fé (@OrganizeNM) who are offer­ing resources and orga­niz­ing vig­ils for sur­vivors who can­not seek med­ical treat­ment due to fear of being tar­get­ed by immi­gra­tion author­i­ties. 

* Write a let­ter to the edi­tor or essay in your local news­pa­per about ongo­ing hate vio­lence and how it affects us all

* Send a mes­sage of sup­port to the Oak Creek Gur­d­wara

* Con­tact your pub­lic offi­cial and ask them to sup­port the Khalid Jabara & Heather Hey­er NO HATE ACT

#ElPa­soStrong #Remem­berOakCreek

Coalition Letter to House Homeland Security Committee: Concerns about Domestic Terrorism Hearing

May 8, 2019

Dear Chair­man Thomp­son and Rank­ing Mem­ber Rogers:

As civ­il lib­er­ties and com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions, we sub­mit this state­ment for the record in response to the hear­ing on domes­tic ter­ror­ism in order to share our con­cerns about the rise of white suprema­cist and nation­al­ist vio­lence in the coun­try, and to remind the com­mit­tee that com­mu­ni­ties of col­or con­tin­ue to have their free­dom of speech and right to assem­bly cur­tailed under the guise of fight­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism. Before adopt­ing any poli­cies to fight white suprema­cist and nation­al­ist vio­lence, we urge you to con­sid­er how these poli­cies will impact com­mu­ni­ties of col­or.

The term “domes­tic ter­ror­ism” itself has been heav­i­ly politi­cized and cri­tiqued. The politi­ciza­tion of this term has meant that rather than apply­ing a uni­form def­i­n­i­tion, it has instead been applied dif­fer­en­tial­ly and used in par­tic­u­lar to tar­get and crim­i­nal­ize com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and their free­dom of speech, move­ment, and assem­bly.   More specif­i­cal­ly, there has been and con­tin­ues to be, a sys­tem­at­ic bias in the way ter­ror­ism is framed such that it is more read­i­ly applied to cas­es where the alleged per­pe­tra­tor or plan­ner of a vio­lent act is Mus­lim.

Fur­ther­more, the term “domes­tic ter­ror­ism” has often been asso­ci­at­ed, par­tic­u­lar­ly by law enforce­ment, with Black and/or, Mus­lim and/or, Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties and their allies despite doc­u­ment­ed inci­dents of vio­lence per­pe­trat­ed large­ly by white suprema­cists and right-wing extremists.We are there­fore con­cerned that the reme­dies and inter­ven­tions that come out of this hear­ing will be used to increase tar­get­ing of mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties.

A recent report pub­lished by South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) doc­u­ments hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern, and Arab com­mu­ni­ties from Elec­tion Day 2016 to Elec­tion Day 2017. The report draws a direct line between the Trump Administration’s anti-Mus­lim agen­da and increas­ing attacks, reveal­ing that of the 213 inci­dents of hate vio­lence doc­u­ment­ed, one in five per­pe­tra­tors invoked Pres­i­dent Trump’s name, his admin­is­tra­tion poli­cies, or his cam­paign slo­gans dur­ing attacks.[1]As the SAALT report made clear, state rhetoric, pol­i­cy, and vio­lence are key to under­stand­ing the rise of white nation­al­ist and white suprema­cist vio­lence. We urge the com­mit­tee to use this hear­ing, and sub­se­quent hear­ings, to exam­ine how gov­ern­ment poli­cies and insti­tu­tions and polit­i­cal rhetoric have fos­tered the rise of white nation­al­ist and white suprema­cist ter­ror.

We also urge com­mit­tee mem­bers to reject Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism (CVE) pro­grams as a rem­e­dy to the rise in white suprema­cist vio­lence. Though often neu­tral on their face, CVE pro­grams have in prac­tice and since their incep­tion under the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion pro­filed, sur­veilled, and divid­ed Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties. To sim­ply include white suprema­cist groups with­in CVE would not alter the foun­da­tion of the pro­gram, but would strength­en and expand it – and this would like­ly result in Mus­lim youth and com­mu­ni­ties get­ting tar­get­ed even more than before.

More­over, CVE pro­grams are not only prob­lem­at­ic because of their almost exclu­sive focus on Mus­lims, but because they are based on debunked, pseu­do-sci­en­tif­ic the­o­ries that cer­tain “rad­i­cal” ideas lead to vio­lence.[2]As civ­il rights and civ­il lib­er­ties advo­cates have long argued, expand­ing CVE to include white suprema­cy will be inef­fec­tive in fight­ing ter­ror­ism, and harm­ful to com­mu­ni­ties of col­or.[3]CVE pro­grams pro­mote a nar­ra­tive of col­lec­tive respon­si­bil­i­ty of Mus­lim and oth­er mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties, putting them at risk in a way that will not be felt by the major­i­ty White pop­u­la­tion.[4]

We cau­tion that white suprema­cist and right wing vio­lence are less like­ly to be pros­e­cut­ed as ter­ror­ism,[5]and urge the com­mit­tee to take steps to ensure that any report­ed data by rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment agen­cies is reli­able. Required report­ing would also track the num­ber of FBI assess­ments and inves­ti­ga­tions, of each domes­tic ter­ror­ist move­ment defined by the FBI. This data could be rev­e­la­to­ry, and should be made pub­lic.

Fur­ther­more, if the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty and FBI have the dis­cre­tion to define and give their opin­ion about each ter­ror­ist move­ment and con­duct a threat assess­ment – dis­cre­tion that would almost cer­tain­ly be biased if either of these agen­cies’ his­to­ries are any indi­ca­tion. There­fore, we are con­cerned that any efforts to “research” threats will lead to increased mon­i­tor­ing, sur­veil­lance, and desta­bi­liza­tion of com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and non-vio­lent activist groups.

Addi­tion­al­ly, we are wor­ried that action to address domes­tic ter­ror­ism could fur­ther embold­en the FBI’s sur­veil­lance of the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty. To date, the FBI main­tains a nation­wide net­work of over 15,000 infor­mants[6], many of them high­ly paid to infil­trate Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties. Accord­ing to Human Rights Watch, from 2001 — 2014, “near­ly 50 per­cent of the more than 500 fed­er­al coun­tert­er­ror­ism con­vic­tions result­ed from infor­mant-based cas­es; almost 30 per­cent of those cas­es were sting oper­a­tions in which the infor­mant played an active role in the under­ly­ing plot.”[7]It is unclear how these injus­tices will be addressed mov­ing for­ward and what the rec­om­men­da­tion will be regard­ing the use of infor­mants to uncov­er or man­u­fac­ture domes­tic ter­ror­ism plots. Thus, we urge Mem­bers of Con­gress to be explic­it about the role of infor­mants and what safe­guards will be put in place to make sure they are not vio­lat­ing the rights of already mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. Data on the num­ber of FBI infor­mants involved in domes­tic ter­ror relat­ed assess­ments and inves­ti­ga­tions should be col­lect­ed and made pub­lic.

We look for­ward to work­ing with the com­mit­tee to ensure that white suprema­cist ter­ror is addressed with­out adverse­ly impact­ing the very com­mu­ni­ties most often tar­get­ed by white suprema­cists. We do not believe that law enforce­ment or intel­li­gence agen­cies need addi­tion­al author­i­ties to address domes­tic ter­ror­ism, but they must be held account­able for ignor­ing some threats and inflat­ing oth­ers.

 

Signed,

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT)

Jus­tice for Mus­lims Col­lec­tive

Defend­ing Rights & Dis­sent

Amer­i­can-Arab Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee (ADC)

Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Jus­tice

Asian Amer­i­can Resource Work­shop — Boston

Cam­paign to TAKE ON HATE

Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights

Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR)

MPow­er Change

Nation­al Net­work for Arab Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ties

Project South

Prop­er­ty of the Peo­ple

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Love Project

South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter

The Sur­veil­lance Tech­nol­o­gy Over­sight Project (S.T.O.P).

 

[1]Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire, South Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Togeth­er, Jan­u­ary 2018

[2]See Let­ter from Nicole Nguyen & Stacey Krueger, Researchers from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois at Chica­go, to Mem­bers of Con­gress et al, Con­cern­ing the Ques­tion­able Use of Aca­d­e­m­ic Research to Sup­port CVE Ini­tia­tives (Octo­ber 5, 2016)
and Who Will Become a Ter­ror­ist? Research Yields Few Clues (Matt Apuz­zo, The New York Times, Mar. 27, 2016)

[3]See Let­ter from 53 Civ­il Rights and Lib­er­ties Orga­ni­za­tions Against Expand­ing CVE Pro­grams(Sep­tem­ber 7, 2017)

andState­ment:​ ​AMEMSA​ ​Groups​ ​Oppose​ ​Expansion​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Countering​ ​Violent​ ​Extremism​ ​Pro­gram(Sep­tem­ber 7, 2017)

[4]Are Mus­lims Col­lec­tive­ly Respon­si­ble?, 416Labs, Novem­ber 19, 2015

[5]Trevor Aaron­son, Terrorism’s Dou­ble Stan­dard: Vio­lent Far-Right Extrem­ists Are Rarely Pros­e­cut­ed as Ter­ror­ists, The Inter­cept, March 23, 2019

[6]Trevor Aaron­son, The Infor­mants, Moth­er Jones, July, 2011

[7]Illu­sion of Jus­tice: Human Rights Abus­es in US Ter­ror Pros­e­cu­tions, Human Rights Watch, July 21, 2014

Statement of Concern Regarding April 9 Congressional Hearing on Hate Crimes and White Nationalism

April 8, 2019

Dear Chair­man Nadler and Rank­ing Mem­ber Collins,

We write to share our con­cerns with you and mem­bers of the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee regard­ing the April 9 hear­ing on Hate Crimes and The Rise of White Nation­al­ism. We believe these are urgent issues and that Con­gress should be pay­ing close atten­tion, espe­cial­ly in light of the rise of hate crimes in the Unit­ed States and the role that domes­tic white nation­al­ist groups have here at home, and on a glob­al scale.

On Tues­day, April 9, Con­gress is hold­ing a hear­ing on hate vio­lence and white nation­al­ism.  Accord­ing to the announce­ment, the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee plans to “exam­ine hate crimes, the impact white nation­al­ist groups have on Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties and the spread of white iden­ti­ty ide­ol­o­gy.” We believe these are urgent issues and that Con­gress should be pay­ing close atten­tion, espe­cial­ly in light of the rise of hate crimes in the Unit­ed States and the role that domes­tic white nation­al­ist groups have here at home, and on a glob­al scale.

As orga­ni­za­tions work­ing with Mus­lim, South Asian, Sikh, and Arab com­mu­ni­ties, we are deeply aware of how hate vio­lence has become a per­va­sive issue affect­ing our com­mu­ni­ties and oth­er mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. We are heart­ened to know that the wit­ness list for Tuesday’s hear­ing includes Dr. Abu Sal­ha whose two Mus­lim daugh­ters and son-in-law were mur­dered in a bru­tal hate crime in Chapel Hill, North Car­oli­na in 2015.

How­ev­er, Tuesday’s hear­ing fails to com­pre­hen­sive­ly address the scope and mag­ni­tude of hate vio­lence that dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly impacts Black, Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, and Arab Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties. Nor does the hear­ing uti­lize an oppor­tu­ni­ty  to unearth the com­plex moti­va­tions behind white nation­al­ism or its effects, includ­ing hate vio­lence. Apart from Dr. Abu Sal­ha, it is not sur­vivor-cen­tered, and the GOP wit­ness list includes sev­er­al indi­vid­u­als whose actions and insti­tu­tions have helped cat­alyze hate crimes, not abate them. For exam­ple, the wit­ness list includes Can­dace Owens, Direc­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Turn­ing Point USA, who tweet­ed “LOL” after the Christchurch mas­sacre and who was list­ed as an inspi­ra­tion in the man­i­festo released by the white suprema­cist who is respon­si­ble for the mas­sacre of at least 50 Mus­lims in New Zealand. The list also includes Mor­ton Klein, pres­i­dent of the Zion­ist Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­ca who used the slur “filthy Arabs” just last year. It is impor­tant that white nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy are not treat­ed as redeemable ide­olo­gies.

It is unfath­omable as to why wit­ness­es who espouse hate­ful posi­tions and rep­re­sent racist insti­tu­tions would be includ­ed giv­en their active dis­crim­i­na­tion  against Mus­lims and Arabs. Addi­tion­al­ly, the hear­ing does not  thor­ough­ly exam­ine  the var­i­ous and dom­i­nant strands of white nation­al­ism, includ­ing zion­ism; the con­nec­tion between polit­i­cal rhetoric, state poli­cies, and the rise in hate crimes; nor does it include sur­vivors who expe­ri­enced hate vio­lence since the 2016 elec­tion; or gov­ern­ment offi­cials who should be held account­able for how fed­er­al agen­cies and law enforce­ment enti­ties are active­ly address­ing white nation­al­ism and hate vio­lence.

We demand that Con­gress hold sub­stan­tive hear­ings that cen­ter sur­vivors and that unequiv­o­cal­ly reject white nation­al­ism, white suprema­cy, Islam­o­pho­bia, racism, and hate vio­lence in all its forms. Sim­i­lar Con­gres­sion­al hear­ings have fall­en short of exam­in­ing the depth of white suprema­cist hate vio­lence and our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to pay the price. The 2017 FBI hate crimes sta­tis­tics revealed an increase in hate crimes for the third year in a row, a 17% increase from the pri­or year. This is an alarm­ing upward trend in hate crimes – now con­sis­tent­ly sur­pass­ing the spike imme­di­ate­ly after Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001. Sur­vivors of hate vio­lence and big­otry deserve hon­est inquiries and true jus­tice from their elect­ed offi­cials. Con­gress must hold sub­se­quent hear­ings that com­pre­hen­sive­ly con­front and address the pro­lif­er­a­tion of white suprema­cist and white nation­al­ist hate vio­lence.

Signed,

Amer­i­can — Arab Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee (ADC)

Arab Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of New York (AAANY)

Arab Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion

Arab Resource and Orga­niz­ing Cen­ter (AROC)

Asian/Pacific Islander Domes­tic Vio­lence Resource Project (API DVRP)

Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights (CCR)

Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR)

DRUM — Desis Ris­ing Up & Mov­ing

HEART Women & Girls

Jus­tice For Mus­lims Col­lec­tive

Mus­lim Anti-Racism Col­lab­o­ra­tive

Mus­lim Social Jus­tice Ini­tia­tive

Nation­al Net­work for Arab Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ties (NNAAC)

Nation­al Queer Asian Pacif­ic Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Project South

Sikh Coali­tion

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT)

South Asian Work­ers’ Cen­ter Boston

The Part­ner­ship For The Advance­ment of New Amer­i­cans (PANA)

Unit­ed We Dream

Statement on New Zealand attack: Standing with our communities.

March 15, 2019

We all woke up today to the hor­ri­fy­ing news out of New Zealand. We are shak­en.

Our hearts are bro­ken.

We are mourn­ing and stand­ing with the vic­tims and fam­i­lies impact­ed by this act of mass vio­lence, and all our Mus­lim broth­ers and sis­ters world­wide. We offer our love, sup­port, and sol­i­dar­i­ty.

White suprema­cy, xeno­pho­bia, and Islam­o­pho­bia fueled the shooter’s attack, which killed 49 peo­ple in two mosques dur­ing Fri­day prayers in Christchurch.

As many of our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers in the US go to Fri­day prayers in their local mosques today, we encour­age every­one to seek the sup­port they need. We’ve includ­ed a list of men­tal health resources and com­mu­ni­ty actions below.

Islam­o­pho­bia and white suprema­cy are a glob­al phe­nom­e­non. We know that Islam­o­pho­bia and its rip­ple effects in the US are real and con­tin­ue to deeply affect our com­mu­ni­ties’ safe­ty and sense of belong­ing in the US. More than one in four hate vio­lence inci­dents we doc­u­ment­ed in our Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire report were fueled by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment.

We also know the pow­er of the polit­i­cal bul­ly pul­pit is real, and has a real impact. Of the hate vio­lence inci­dents we doc­u­ment­ed, one in five per­pe­tra­tors invoked Pres­i­dent Trump’s name, his administration’s poli­cies, or his cam­paign slo­gans as they vio­lent­ly attacked our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers. We remain ever com­mit­ted to fight­ing Islam­o­pho­bia and white suprema­cy.

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er, said, “Hous­es of wor­ship should be places of refuge and peace, not scenes of a mas­sacre. We are stand­ing with Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties every­where as the world mourns and we seek to keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe. As hard as it is not to cave into fear at times like these, we have no choice but to keep fight­ing against Islam­o­pho­bia in all its forms.”

 

Men­tal health sup­port from the Mus­lim Well­ness Foun­da­tion

NYC vig­il

Trag­ic Events toolk­it from the Fam­i­ly and Youth Insti­tute

Fundrais­er to sup­port the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims