How Muslim Activists Are Organizing Against Islamophobia in the Face of President Trump

Source: In These Times

The candidate who unapologetically called for the registration, “extreme vetting” and outright banning of Muslims has been elected president.

If one were to make a roster of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant all-stars, it would look a lot like Donald Trump’s appointees and inner circle: Kris Kobach, Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, Frank Gaffney, Katie Gorka, Rudy Giuliani, Walid Phares.

“We know from U.S. history that lots of unimaginable things happen when people like Trump take power and when people are afraid,” says Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). “One of the most frustrating things is that there is a long list of things that are unknown. Will he follow through with his threats?”

In the haze of Trump’s bombast, activists like Billoo are quick to remind us that the United States expanded the “War on Terror” under the leadership of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Obama administration increased its drone strikes and targeted killings abroad and turned its surveillance tactics on Muslims at home.

The Obama administration also launched local “countering violent extremism” (CVE) programs that train teachers, religious leaders, parents and teens to become extensions of law enforcement by identifying young people they think might commit terrorist acts. Beneath the buzzwords of community “resilience” and development, the programs are based on debunked and discredited radicalization theories that leave the door wide open for profiling Arab and Muslim youth.

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