President Trump’s Muslim ban order is expected to trigger a spate of hate crimes targeting Muslims and other minority communities in the U.S.
By Rakesh Raman
The new Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) held its second meeting Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
The MJAC meeting on Wednesday was held in response to the executive order that the new U.S. President Donald Trump had signed last week to suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely and all other refugee resettlement for 120 days.
The Trump order also banned the entry of nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. All seven countries are predominately Muslim countries.
As Trump’s order is expected to trigger a spate of hate crimes targeting Muslims and other minority communities in the U.S., the MJAC members resolved to work with states and local governments to improve hate crimes reporting.
They aim to achieve full implementation of existing hate crimes legislation, as well as to explore initiatives to establish firmer, consistent laws regarding hate crimes.
“America promises all its citizens equal rights and equal protection under the laws. Our country is unique in being a democracy based not on religious or ethnic homogeneity but on equality of all citizens regardless of ethnicity or religion. We affirm our sacred commitment to that principle,” states the Council Declaration.
Before the MJAC meeting, Council members visited Capitol Hill in the morning to meet with Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate to raise awareness about the Council.
They urged the lawmakers to strengthen the country’s response to the increase in hate crimes across the U.S., especially those targeting Muslim and Jewish communities and institutions.
The Council elaborated on its concerns about hate crimes in an “open letter” to Congress. It encouraged Representatives and Senators to ensure that the Trump Administration sustains the Justice Department’s coordination with the states not only in the area of prosecutions, but also in the areas of public education and community relations.
The Council also discussed several immigration issues, in particular Trump’s executive order banning travelers from certain countries and prioritizing religious minorities for refugee resettlement.
“We share the deep concerns with the President’s executive order of January 27 on refugee policy expressed by many members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats. We oppose any ban on refugee or other immigration to the United States based on religion,” stated the Council in its open letter to Congress.
The day of MJAC advocacy in Washington ended with a bipartisan Capitol Hill reception co-hosted by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland).
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