Supreme Court should ban the Muslim ban

April 20, 2018 GMT

The impact of President Donald Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban extends beyond the immigration context. It is an attack on the character, hopes and dreams of American families, children and youth who are Muslim and those perceived as Muslim.

This has resulted in an increase in anti-Muslim discrimination and violence targeting these families and children.

The dangers posed by the Muslim ban are not limited to families being torn apart, travelers facing lengthy delays, or denial of entry into the U.S. The Muslim ban epitomizes the culmination of a long-standing history of anti-Muslim discrimination and scapegoating.

These forms of discrimination are an attack on our shared American values of religious freedom and our nation’s founding principles.

Our country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion, a tradition and ideal that forms the foundation of our country. We do not tell people how to pray, and we do not ban people based on their religion.

Unless the unconstitutional Muslim ban is struck down by the Supreme Court once and for all, Americans who are Muslim or perceived as Muslim are likely to be subjected to the same action again.

Through his tweets, President Trump continues to defend — against all known facts — this unconstitutional ban.

With the president’s continued defense of the Muslim ban, there can be no assurance that the religiously discriminatory policy underlying it will not be implemented.

The Muslim ban signifies a ratification of bigotry by those at the highest levels of our government. What we are witnessing is the broad power of the federal government used to undermine one of the tenets it was established to protect: freedom of religion.

As a longtime civil rights activist and head of the San Antonio office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, I have witnessed the harm from the president’s Muslim ban that restricts travel from predominantly Muslim countries.

But one doesn’t need to be an active community member to see the rise in discrimination that the Muslim ban has instigated. Millions of American Muslim children and families have seen increased discrimination, hate violence and threats of violence as a result of the anti-Muslim animus that underpins this policy.

Just last year, we saw hundreds of incidents of anti-Muslim discrimination nationwide. Several mosques were burned, and numerous Americans who were Muslim or perceived as Muslim were shot or beaten severely. During most of these attacks, the attackers uttered or expressed the same anti-Muslim slurs repeated daily in mainstream media headlines and often by candidates and politicians.

By striking down the Muslim ban, the court would communicate to the president and to the rest of our nation that while some may try to divide us, the Constitution, which has stood the test of time, will stand strong to protect religious freedom.

Sarwat Husain is president of the San Antonio office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, the nation’s largest American Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.