The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the Muslim ban case April 25. It’s a legal tussle that many American Muslims and Americans perceived to be Muslim are watching closely, and for good reason: The ban has extended beyond public policy and has also increased Islamophobic rhetoric, harassment and hate crimes. That’s why this month, we’ve been speaking to Muslims (and those targeted because they’re perceived to be Muslim) about how the current political climate is impacting their lives in the United States.
For Safoura Kashfipour, an Iranian-American Muslim, President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban has had tangible, negative effects: It has separated her from her family.
“My uncle had been in line for a visa for the longest time. With the Muslim Ban, he was denied entry and now he had to move his whole life outside of Iran and try to apply again from another country not listed on the ban,” Kashfipour said. “It’s preposterous to say the least.”
Policies like the Muslim ban, Kashfipour says, are inhumane and hurt people.
“The ban affects people’s lives directly,” she said. “It spreads ignorance, allows for xenophobia to take hold and enforces prejudices of beautiful people and countries that the education system fails to recognize. It’s sad.”
Stories like Kashfipour’s are why Americans United is fighting on behalf of people separated from their loved ones. Trump’s Muslim ban violates America’s promise of religious freedom. That’s why we told the U.S. Supreme Court in a brief that the ban is hurting American Muslims by cruelly separating them from their families and inflaming anti-Muslim rhetoric that endangers all American Muslims and Americans perceived to be Muslim.
It’s important to remember that the ban has a discriminatory ripple effect on anyone perceived to be Muslim. It’s impacting people of color since many white nationalists racialize Islam and have a perception of Muslims as brown-skinned.
This includes people like Monica Ahuja, an American Hindu fashion blogger. Ahuja said that after the Muslim ban, she began to experience a spike in discrimination and racial profiling, especially at airports.
“Especially since the Muslim ban went into effect, as a Hindu person from Pakistan, I’ve noticed heightened hostility towards my community and other religious minorities,” Ahuja said. “Getting pulled over at the airport when I travel with my passport has become a new norm for me.”
This hostility towards marginalized communities is why Suzanna Anani, a Palestinian-American Muslim, calls the Muslim ban a racist policy that serves to promote white Christian nationalism.
“The Muslim ban furthers Islamophobia and targets an entire community full of innocent people. There are no true benefits for this form of discrimination,” Anani said. “Trump is more concerned with maintaining white supremacy. Who’s the real threat?”
We agree that Trump’s Muslim ban is plain discrimination. That’s why we hope the Supreme Court is on the right side of history and blocks the ban.
Our country is at its best when people of all religions feel welcome here. For people of all faiths and for people who don’t claim any faith at all – religious freedom means that the law treats everyone equally regardless of faith. Americans United will continue to protect this ideal no matter what discriminatory policies the Trump administration tries to implement.