Respect for equality and diversity are American values

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Washington D.C. was once again the scene of American quest for harmony and equality, when a group of interfaith leaders and rights activists recently converged on the nation’s capital to demand an end to the latest version of the travel ban.

The third iteration of the ban bars citizens of several countries – with no bona fide relationships in the U.S. – from entering America.

On the one hand, the protesters represented Americans’ respect for diversity and equality as participants included Christians, Jews and Muslims expressed their wholehearted support for equality.

On the other hand, the gathering underscored the need for adherence to America’s founding principles and clearly laid out provisions of the Constitution which forbid discrimination against anyone on account of religious, ethnic or racial backgrounds.

American Muslim Institution (AMI) believes that all Americans expect their government and law enforcement agencies to keep America safe. At the same time, our globalized economy demands that the U.S. continues to be a welcoming place for the best and the brightest from around the world. Welcoming refugees who flee persecution, civil wars and international conflicts has been the hallmark of our history.

There have been countless stories in modern U.S. history, particularly since WWII how immigrant talent has benefited America. Some of the greatest names in economics, physics, chemistry, biotechnology and information technology came to the U.S. shores as immigrants and made significant contributions to America’s progress through innovation, research, and entrepreneurship.

It is not surprising that the third iteration of the travel ban – issued by the Trump. Administration – has been met with criticism by the U.S.business leaders, civil rights and immigration groups and institutions.

Despite the inclusion of Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela in the grouping of the Muslim majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia and Syria – facing travel restrictions under the measure, it looks discriminatory toward Muslims for the very fact that it has been conceived as an open-ended continuation of the first and second versions of the travel ban.

Some of the political rhetoric – that began with the 2016 election campaign – also make the measure look like implementation of a campaign promise.

AMI believes that banning Muslims from the Muslim majority countries is not only unconstitutional but sends a message to mainstream America that Muslims are not welcome.. It goes against the American spirit of inclusiveness and gives ammunition to negative forces propagating exclusivism and xenophobia.

Moreover, such stereotypical portrayals fall flat against the reality that American Muslims are among the highest achievers.

Now after the second ban, it is being extended indefinitely, giving rise to doubts about the original intent. At this stage the courts have halted enforcement of the third iteration of the travel ban, but the blanket proposal continues to cast the entire Muslim community in negative light.

Therefore, AMI believes that the Trump. Administration should review and address security concerns objectively without using a religious test and shun from stereotyping and demonizing the entire Muslim community. While all Americans want secure borders and safe travel, they also want to see America address these issues objectively, fairly without maligning any religious or ethnic group.

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