Nationwide Protests, Faith Leaders Disapprove, and World Leaders Shake Their Heads in Dismay
By Doug Porter
In smaller cities like Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Staunton, Virginia, Boise, Idaho and Anchorage, Alaska, along 80+ other cities coast-to-coast, there have been or will be demonstrations responding to an executive order that amounts to a ban on Muslims.
In San Diego, hundreds of people showed up at Lindbergh Field on Saturday, followed by thousands on Sunday. (SDFP editor Anna Daniels story on the local events is here).
President Trump’s executive order bans all immigrants and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days, bans all refugee admissions for 120 days and bans Syrian refugees indefinitely. It was issued at 4:30 Friday afternoon, causing widespread confusion among federal agencies as to its scope.
Despite rulings from judges in five states blocking or limiting federal authorities enforcement of Trump’s executive order, Border Patrol personnel have, in some instances, refused to obey.
Attorneys general from California, New York, 13 other states and Washington, D.C., have condemned and pledged to fight what they called Trump’s “dangerous” and “unconstitutional” order.
— RogelioGarcia Lawyer (@LawyerRogelio) January 30, 2017
If It Walks Like a Duck…
Defenders of the order claim the seven countries involved were listed by the Obama administration. As is true with so much of what the Trump administration says, there is a kernel of truth: the previous administration said those countries were dangerous places for Americans traveling abroad. They did not use that list as a basis for determining the origins of terrorism.
The Big Lie at the heart of this latest move by the Trump regime is the continued denial that it is a ban on Muslims.
From the Washington Post:
But it’s unavoidable to note that the ban covers citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries — the only seven countries it targets. And even some Republicans are suggesting that it amounts to a religious test, or at least worrying it has the appearance of one.
For that perception and storyline, Trump has himself to thank.
It was Trump, after all, who once actually did propose a Muslim ban. It’s still on his campaign website, more than a year later — “DONALD J. TRUMP STATEMENT ON PREVENTING MUSLIM IMMIGRATION.”
Then Trump confidant Rudy Giuliani took to Fox News on Saturday night and said Trump basically was shooting for a Muslim ban with his executive order but recognized it needed to be altered to pass muster.
An initial block on Green Card holders from those countries has been walked back somewhat, though incoming airline passengers covered by the order are being questioned by authorities before being allowed to leave the airport. Those questions have, in some instances, included being asked for opinions about Trump.
The World Responds
World leaders condemned the executive order, with perhaps the mildest response coming from Britain’s Theresa May saying she does “not agree.” Germany’s Angela Merkel “expressed her concerns to Trump during a phone call and reminded him that the Geneva Conventions require the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds,” according to Reuters.
Politicians from Iran and Iraq were furious, threatening to retaliate by blocking entry and even deport Americans in their countries.
And the terrorist groups targeted by the US are reportedly pretty damned happy with the news.
From the UK Independent:
Al Qaeda, Isis and other jihadi groups are thrilled with US President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration targeting Muslim countries, describing it as proof that the US is at war with Islam…
…One user greeted the news of the “Muslim ban” as “the best caller to Islam”, hoping it will draw Muslim Americans to their cause.
Several posts suggested that the prediction of Anwar al-Awlaki – a US-born al Qaeda leader killed in Yemen in 2011 – that “the West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens” was coming true.
Far-right leaders in both Europe and the United States also welcomed the executive order, with the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders saying “well done” and urging the addition of more Islamic countries, and David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana politician, tweeted that Trump’s ban has made 2017 the best year ever.
Shock and Confusion in Washington
And then there’s the experience of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly, via the New York Times:
As President Trump signed a sweeping executive order on Friday, shutting the borders to refugees and others from seven largely Muslim countries, the secretary of homeland security was on a White House conference call getting his first full briefing on the global shift in policy.
Gen. John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, had dialed in from a Coast Guard plane as he headed back to Washington from Miami. Along with other top officials, he needed guidance from the White House, which had not asked his department for a legal review of the order.
Halfway into the briefing, someone on the call looked up at a television in his office. “The president is signing the executive order that we’re discussing,” the official said, stunned.
Many faith organizations have not been happy with the President’s order. Religious organizations have been on the front line of refugee resettlement efforts in the US. Some view the fear mongering by the administration as an affront to their efforts.
From the Atlantic:
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network on Friday, Trump clarified what this means: Christians refugees will be given priority status. “They’ve been horribly treated,” the president said. “Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough, to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible.” People overseas “were chopping off the heads of everybody, but more so the Christians,” he added, “so we are going to help them.”
The announcement was met with immediate backlash from leaders of nearly every Christian denomination, along with those of other faiths. They argue that Trump’s actions do not reflect the teachings of the Bible, nor the traditions of the United States, and they have urged the president to let them get back to work—many of the country’s most prominent refugee resettlement organizations are faith-based.
In San Diego, Catholic Bishop Robert McElroy referred to the impact of the executive order as “a shameful moment of abandonment.”
Episcopal Bishop Rev. James R. Mathes issued a letter to local congregants, concluding:
After 9/11, the French paper, La Monde, ran a headline that declared: “Nous sommes tous Americains,” “We are all Americans.” In the spirit of the Confessing Church of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that stood against Nazi Germany, this follower of Jesus Christ can only stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from other nations and other faiths who are refugees. On this day, we are all Syrian. We are all Muslim.
President Trump’s actions are unacceptable and un-American. They do not represent who we are as a people. We must recover our senses. It is time to speak out in the name of all faiths and our national identity as a people united in our diversity. That is our gift to the world.
The Emperor’s Fine Clothes
The Trump administration has, throughout the weekend, insisted that everything was just fine; that there were just a few squeaky wheels making noise over the executive order.
And the response of the nation’s chief executive was:
Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
Where was all the outrage from Democrats and the opposition party (the media) when our jobs were fleeing our country?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
In other news, six people died, five were hospitalized in critical condition, and a dozen others sustained minor injuries when a Mosque in Quebec was attacked by an armed man on Sunday night.
The attacker, identified by police as Alexandre Bissonnette, and an apparent accomplice are in custody. Although the attack has not officially been labeled a terrorist act, here’s a screenshot of the suspect’s likes on Facebook.
— L.O.M.P.E. (@Lompemann) January 30, 2017
Shooter’s a white Trump fan. Spicer doesn’t call it terrorism (as Trudeau has) and uses it to sell Muslim Ban. F#$%. https://t.co/TTTy8aPotq
— Zeddy (@ZeddRebel) January 30, 2017
Brighter Notes and Good News
Local activists with #StandIndivisible will be visiting the local offices of Senator Feinstein (noon) and Kamala Harris (2pm) on Tuesday, January 31 to urge them to lead the way in fighting the cabinet nominees and fascist policies being handed down by the Trump administration.
Their addresses are: Senator Dianne Feinstein, 880 Front St & Senator Kamala Harris 600 B Street. Both are in downtown San Diego.
Students at UCSD are set to protest the Trump administration today (Monday) at noon outside the Geisel Library. Over one thousand RSVP’s were recorded as of this morning.
From their call to action on Facebook:
During his first week in office, Trump has issued several problematic executive orders. He has banned Muslims–including refugees, visa and green card-holders–from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen). He also ordered extreme border enforcement and authorized the construction of a US-Mexico border wall. As Trump signs and enforces these executive orders, inspired by xenophobia and racism, several of our peers, classmates, colleagues, and students are seeing their lives fundamentally and irrevocably changed. We will not scapegoat and discriminate against communities, and we will not be silent or complacent as the Trump administration villainizes and jeopardizes the lives of entire groups of people.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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