Washington – Leaders from 38 civil rights, faith based, human rights, and community organizations condemn today’s bigoted, anti-Muslim online campaign by ACT for America, reportedly the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate group. This online campaign was scheduled for just two days before the anniversary of September 11 to target and manufacture hatred for American Muslims at a time when violence against Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and Sikh communities is reaching historic highs.
ACT originally planned to coordinate 67 anti-Muslim rallies across 36 states under the theme “America First.” However, after thousands of Americans came out in peaceful resistance to white supremacy and racism in Charlottesville and Boston, ACT decided to call off its rallies and shift to today’s online campaign, a clear signal that messages of justice and solidarity are drowning out messages of hate nationwide.
This is not the first time civil rights groups and anti-racist protestors stared down ACT’s bigotry. In June ACT held anti-Muslim rallies in 30 cities across the nation under the theme “March Against Shariah”. This campaign was met with strong resistance from civil rights groups who held alternative events that telegraphed calls for love, fairness, and justice. The Trump administration was silent in response.
ACT’s founder, Brigitte Gabriel, has made her racism clear. She has said, “Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim” and has argued, outrageously, that Muslims are a “natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society.” In a video message launching the America First rallies, Ms. Gabriel exclaims, “Let’s show our president that we are behind him in securing our nation.” In accordance with the bigotry that ACT promotes, its previous anti-Muslim rallies have attracted a host of armed militia-type groups and white nationalists.
Likewise, President Trump has made no secret of his bigotry,, stating on the record, “I think Islam hates us” and moving forward with his administration’s dogged pursuit of a “Muslim Ban,” among other policies. The words and actions of the administration, including high-level advisors who are known standard-bearers for white supremacist movements, as well as the President himself, increasingly fuel and validate violence targeting Muslims and people perceived as Muslim. The FBI’s 2015 hate crimes statistics, the most updated data available, show a 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslims in 2015, while violence aimed at South Asian, Sikh, and Arab communities continue to rise. The xenophobic statements by the President and Gabriel run counter to the values of justice and inclusivity that we seek to uphold.
Peaceful resistance by civil rights groups, immigrant and faith communities, and communities of color has been the strongest counterweight to the insults and injuries of white supremacists and this administration. We demand this administration, and all elected and appointed officials, condemn groups that peddle hate in the strongest possible terms, and back that condemnation with swift action and policies that contribute to the transformation of our institutions. The hatred must stop now. As a coalition of diverse organizations representing communities of color and immigrants at the national, state, and local levels, we are committed to condemning bigotry of all kinds and advancing the principles of racial justice.
American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC)
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Arab American Institute
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Birmingham Islamic Society Mosque
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Center for New Community
Church World Service
CRIS – Community Refugee & Immigration Services
Desi Rainbow Parents & Allies
Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Priests of the Sacred Heart, U.S. Province
Laotian American National Alliance
Muslim Community Network
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
National Immigration Law Center
National Justice for Our Neighbors
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
New York Immigration Coalition
People For the American Way
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Queer South Asian National Network
Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN)
Shoulder to Shoulder
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
Unitarian Universality Advocacy Network of Illinois
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee