A Call to Solidarity with Muslims


Wendy Vander Hart

2/7/2017

Blessings and courage to you in these days!
 
Maybe you, like me, are looking for ways to put our faith in action in these days.  It has been heartening to see so many of you at the “Out of Many, One” action at the Islamic center in Boston in December, the Women’s March in Boston, at the CAIR sponsored rally against the Muslim ban in Copley Square, at press conferences, the Moral revival movement and rallies for Black Lives Matter.  Thank you for showing up in body and spirit.
 
There is much to consider in these days and as one of our former colleagues quoted a parishioner – “this is not a sprint. And it's not a marathon either. It's a relay. And we'll spell each other.”
 
In that spirit, I relay this to you from a clergy colleague, The Rev. Dan Smith, Senior Pastor at First Church in Cambridge (with editing by The Rev. Dr. Nancy Taylor, Senior Pastor of Old South Church in Boston). Dan is the Vice President of GBIO (Greater Boston Interfaith Organization).  One of the members of GBIO is the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.  Below are potential actions you yourself could take as an interfaith partner and that you could invite your congregation or partners in ministry to consider undertaking.
 
I made a donation already and am grateful for the witness and solidarity of so many of you in this troubling time.  May God fortify us for the months ahead.

A CALL TO SOLIDARITY WITH MUSLIMS
 
With recent and pending Presidential Executive Orders, our Muslim neighbors face unprecedented challenges against a new form of McCarthyism. A second round of Presidential Executive Orders or Memorandum targeting American-Muslims could isolate our neighbors, threaten civil liberties and attack human dignity. (See below) However, we are not without recourse. Please take action. 

  1. Become a ‘Friend of ISBCC’: Make a financial contribution (no matter how small) to our interfaith partners at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (http://links.masboston.org/interfaith-supporters) Help them reach 100 Friends of ISBCC by February 11th. Your gift offers tangible support to Muslims as they face the additional costs of P.R. work, advocacy, security and hosting community events, and serves as a way of saying: We are all Muslim.
     
  2. Talk to Muslim friends and colleagues, and visit a local mosque to express your care, support and solidarity in person.  The more personal the better - a note, a hug, a delivery of some home baked goods!
     
  3. Join ISBCC at their Winter Gala: Leading With Love on Feb 11th.
     
  4. Stay informed:  Sign up for e-newsletters from the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (http://isbcc.org/) to learn about community events, local actions and calls you can make to resist discrimination.

What’s Next after the Ban? McCarthyism 2.0 Targeting American-Muslims

 The Threat
President Trump’s Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” has already begun to target Muslim communities domestically and abroad. We anticipate a second EO or Presidential Memorandum that would, through a new form of McCarthyism, erode the civil liberties of American Muslims.
 
What Would The Executive Order Say
Allies at the State Department say that this EO or Memorandum would ask the State Department to designate the "Muslim Brotherhood" (MB) a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO). Reminiscent of a shameful chapter in our recent past – the campaign to link Americans to “Communism” in the 1950’s – this EO and any subsequent FTO designation would pave the way to tarnish and even prosecute American individuals and organizations by claiming that they support the MB, with potentially devastating consequences that would only further stigmatize and harm American Muslims. It would be a new form of McCarthyism.
 
ISBCC a Local American-Muslim Institution
As a matter of policy, our neighbors at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center – the largest mosque in New England – and its operator (the Muslim American Society of Boston) has no ties to any international or foreign entity. They are an American-Islamic Institution focused on living as Muslims in the American context. Similarly, no other Muslim organization or mosque in the area has any ties to any international or foreign entity, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Impact on American-Muslims and Beyond
Anti-Muslim activists and organizations have sought to link, through guilt-by-association tactics, Americans and major American Muslim institutions to the MB (e.g. President Obama, former CIA Director John Brennan, American’s for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and American-Muslims in particular like Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s aide).
 
While such guilt-by-association allegations previously were made by and confined to fringe groups, the EO, along with an FTO designation, would empower actors outside and within the Trump Administration to call for or initiate terrorism-related investigations, which would stigmatize American Muslims and their institutions, debilitate their operations, and sow fear and confusion that would chill speech and financial support. The environment would be akin to the 50’s McCarthyism.
 
This order could also affect academics engaged in related research abroad and U.S. businesses that may fear normal business dealings may run afoul of such a highly politicized FTO
designation.
 
American-Muslims and their institutions would be linked to the bogeyman of the MB to target their civil liberties. A new form of McCarthyism would take place unless this second EO is vigorously resisted.
 
Further Reading
 
An Apology to Muslims for President Trump by Nicholas Kristoff
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/opinion/an-apology-to-muslims-for-president-trump.html
 
Trump Pushes Dark View of Islam to Center of U.S. Policy-Making by Scott Shane, Matthew Rosenberg and Eric Lipton
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/01/us/politics/donald-trump-islam.html
 
Should the Muslim Brotherhood be designated a terrorist organization? by William McCants & Benjamin Wittes
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2017/01/30/should-the-muslim-brotherhood-be-designated-a-terrorist-organization/
 
Ted Cruz vs. The Muslim Brotherhood Boogeyman by Christopher Mathlas
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/muslim-brotherhood-ted-cruz_us_58764d44e4b092a6cae42666
 
 
 



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