Excerpt from: CREDO Action
The horrific violence this week in San Bernardino, where 14 people were killed and 21 were wounded, is difficult to comprehend. We stand with the victims and their families.
With two Muslims identified as the reported perpetrators of Wednesday’s attack,1 we also stand with the people most likely to become the victims of backlash and violence over the coming weeks – American Muslims.
Right-wing extremists in the political and media establishment, including prominent Republican leaders, have already seized on racism and incendiary rhetoric – inciting hate crimes against innocent Muslims.2
Instead of taking up any reasonable proposal to protect our communities from senseless gun violence, Congressional Republicans have been too busy working on xenophobic legislation that feeds into the very ideologies that often underlie such heinous acts of violence. But what we need most in this moment is for our leaders, especially our President, to stand up for all Americans.
Six days after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush visited a mosque and spoke out against the harassment of Arabs and Muslims in the US.3 It was a symbolic act, but an important one.
But President Obama has yet to visit a mosque in the United States.4 Doing so would go a long way to both denounce the hateful rhetoric that leads to violence and discrimination, while striking at the heart of a small group of extremists who would wield a twisted interpretation of Islam as a tool for violence.
Progressive champion Rep. Keith Ellison has already urged his Congressional colleagues to show solidarity with their local Muslim community by visiting a mosque. President Obama should answer Rep. Ellison’s call.
In his statement after the San Bernardino shooting, President Obama went out of his way to speak out against gun violence and hold Congress accountable for their inaction. But he said nothing to stem the predictable anti-Muslim xenophobia sure to follow.
Right-wing extremists were quick to launch into blanket rhetoric targeting the Muslim community following the shooting massacre in San Bernardino. With the facts still unclear, and before there was a shred of evidence to back it up, Sen. Ted Cruz had already declared the shootings “yet another manifestation of terrorism, radical Islamic terrorism here at home” and insisted that “we are in a time of war.”5 The New York Post plastered the headline, “Muslim Killers,” on its front page.
- Given rhetoric like this, it’s no wonder that since the terror attacks in Paris several weeks ago, Muslims in America have been increasingly under siege:A Muslim taxi driver was shot in the back by a passenger who questioned his nationality and begin ranting about ISIS.6
- Cable news has aired messages deeming Muslims “unusually violent,” calling for death squads to wipe them out, and labeling Islam a destructive force.7
- Numerous other Muslim men and women have been asked to leave flights, including one case where one was accused of acting suspiciously for watching the news on his phone.8
- Armed protesters surrounded a mosque in Texas carrying automatic weapons, then posted the home addresses of those who worship there.9
- Other mosques have faced threats, vandalism, fake bombs, and attacks from the community.10
- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a registry of American Muslims and other candidates have compared them to “rabid dogs,” among other hateful remarks.11
- Twenty-six Republican governors have vowed, without any legal authority, to block Syrian refugees from their states.12
In the face of such a climate of fear, public rejections of Islamophobia by prominent national elected leaders — including visits to mosques — would send a powerful message that America is a nation where all are welcome and violent hatred is not welcome.
Whatever the heinous motivations of Wednesday’s mass shootings were, we as a society must not cave to hate, fear, and blanket islamophobia. To do so, we only perpetuate the cycle of hate and violence from which such acts arise.
We reject the politics of hate and fear, and condemn those who peddle or cave to it; we reject any attempts to demonize Muslim, Arab or South Asian communities; and we reject any efforts to use tragedies to justify deportations, ramp up militarization in the Middle East, suspend civil rights, or close our borders.
CREDO members have spoken out against Islamophobia, called on Senate Democrats to reject efforts to demonize Muslims, denounced Trump and Carson’s hateful rhetoric and the actions of governors who reject refugees. Now we need to show our leaders how they can begin to turn the tide, starting with the powerful symbolic actions of denouncing Islamophobia and visiting an American mosque.
Petition President Obama: “Take a stand against islamophobia in the aftermath of the San Bernardino shootings. Denounce the rising tide of anti-Muslim violence by speaking out and making a public visit to an American mosque.”
- Click the link below to sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Murshed, Heidi, Josh, Mark, Jin, Jordan, Colin, Elijah and Ari
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Alana Horowitz Satlin and Andy Campbell, “Police Search For Motive Behind San Bernardino Shooting,” HuffingtonPost.com, December 3, 2015.
David A. Fahrenthold and Jose A. DelReal, “‘Rabid’ dogs and closing mosques: Anti-Islam rhetoric grows in GOP,” Washington Post, November 19, 2015.
Samuel G. Freedman, “Six Days After 9/11, Another Anniversary Worth Honoring,” New York Times, September 7, 2012.
Ali Gharib, “ Obama Should Stand With Ahmed—at His Mosque in Texas,” The Nation, September 17, 2015.
Dave Weigel, “Ted Cruz says San Bernardino shooting may be ‘radical Islamic terrorism’,” Washington Post, December 3, 2015.
Peter Holley, “Passenger rants about Islamic State before shooting Muslim taxi driver in back,” Washington Post, November 30, 2015.
Max Fischer, “It’s not just Ahmed Mohamed: anti-Muslim bigotry in America is out of control,” Vox.com, September 16, 2015.
Anealla Safdar, “US Muslim forced off plane cites Islamophobia,” Al Jazeera, November 26, 2015.
Petula Dvorak, “Words matter in attacks on Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter and Muslim refugees,” Washington Post, November 30, 2015.
Fahrenthold and DelReal, “‘Rabid’ dogs and closing mosques: Anti-Islam rhetoric grows in GOP.”
Sarah Frostenson and Dara Lind, “Here’s a map of every state refusing to accept Syrian refugees,” Vox.com, November 18, 2015.
CREDO Action is a publication of Working Assets | credomobile.com