WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 15, 2017) — South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national South Asian civil rights organization, applauds Tuesday’s ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii that blocked nationwide implementation of President Trump’s revised executive order set for tomorrow.
“Today’s ruling underscores that no one, not even a President, can green light discrimination and racism,” stated Suman Raghunathan, executive director of SAALT. “Despite the administration’s legal gymnastics, the Muslim Ban 2.0 remains a stimulus package for hate that has already fanned the flames of fear, violence, and tragedy in our communities. We call upon the President to rescind this executive order in full and begin the work of healing our divided and wounded country.”
Violence against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu communities has skyrocketed across the country in recent weeks, with numerous acts of hate occurring in the wake of the President’s announced Muslim Bans.
This February saw the deadly shooting of two Indian men in Kansas by a gunman screaming “get out of my country,” leaving one of the men dead and two nations in hysteria. Days later in Washington State, a Sikh man was shot in his driveway by a gunman reportedly yelling “go back to your country” before opening fire. Last week a Florida man tried to set fire to a convenience store owned by Indians in order to “run the Arabs out of our country.” In Oregon a man assaulted employees at a Middle Eastern restaurant with a pipe, calling them “terrorists” and screaming “get out of America” during the attack. Meanwhile, white supremacist groups continue to multiply nationwide.
In January SAALT released “Power, Pain, Potential,” a report documenting over 200 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric against South Asian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans during the 2016 elections. 95 percent of the incidents documented were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. President Trump was responsible for 21% of the xenophobic rhetoric we tracked.
In response to the ongoing and escalating threats to our communities, SAALT coordinated a vigil on March 10 to honor the victims of hate violence on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Speaking at the event were partner organizations and Members of Congress including Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA), Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), who took this moment to mourn the victims of hate violence and demand more accountability from President Trump. “One of the messages I want to send to people who are out there listening,” noted Congresswoman Jayapal, “is that America is your country, you belong here, and we will stand up to protect your rights.”
Today’s ruling declares that America has a place for and indeed welcomes us all, regardless of statements by xenophobic gunmen and the President. SAALT will continue demanding justice for our communities nationwide until all of community members and their rights are protected.