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In the Desert

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”

–Stephen Crane

(Scroll down to take immediate action)

LEARN: (see Updates, below) The horror of creating a list of people who represent any religion or cultural group in America is appalling, as was Trump's first order on 1/27/17 (Holocaust Remembrance Day!), re-released on 3/6 (see below), and again on 9/25, denying entry to those with visas, and refugees fleeing war from 7, 6 or 8 countries whose citizens have never attacked the U.S. within its borders. Both evoke the feeling of horror evidenced in Crane's poem and the image of America becoming a beast, eating her own heart.

UPDATES: 3/13: Trump fires Secy of State Tillerson, naming his replacement as Mike Pompeo, anti-Muslim bigot and head of the CIA (The Atlantic). UPDATES: 2017 12/4: SCOTUS (7-2) allows full enforcement of Trump's latest travel ban (Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia, Yemen), pending appeal. Note: they did not decide whether or not it is legal, they ordered Richmond VA and San Francisco, CA appeals courts to quickly determine whether or not the 3rd version of the ban is legal. (CNN) 11/29: Trump retweets British inflammatory anti-Muslim extremist videos. British PM Teresa May issues a rare rebuke. (NBC News) 10/17: Judge in Hawaii blocks Trump's third travel ban. (New York Times) 9/24: Trump signed an executive order banning or restricting visas to people from 8 countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. (NBC Nightly News) 9/24: Trump signed an executive order banning or restricting visas to people from 8 countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. (NBC Nightly News) 9/12: Supreme Court lifts resctriction on Trump Muslim Ban, barring 24K from entering US, until they hear the full case in October. Suing states will still have chance to respond. (UK Independent) 7/19: Supreme Court upheld Ninth Circuit Court's decision that grandparents should be considered a "bona fide" relationship. State Dept. issued clarification that now, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers and sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, first cousins, nephews and nieces constitute "bona fide" relations. SCOTUS upheld Trump Administration ban on refugees for 120 days.(CNN) Older Updates.

LEARN how Trump has been stealthily carrying out his Muslim Ban this year (Khera & Smith, 7/18/17, New York Times). His late September new Executive Order builds upon his earlier orders, and appears to hope for a sympathetic Supreme Court, as his last EO awaits a hearing there in October. The Supreme Court's decision to re-instate part of the ban while the case is being litagated (i.e., from now until October), was supported by all Justices. Three stated they would have upheld the ENTIRE ban: Justices Thomas, Alito, and, yes, our new Justice, Gorsuch (Liptak, New York Times, 6/26/17)-including the part that didn't consider grandparents a "bona fide" relationship-but they were the minority. Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the "new" ban" has the same fundamental flaws...We know that country of origin is a poor predictor of a propensity to commit acts of terror. If it were, Pakistan has been a far more problematic source of attack planning and would be at the top of the President's list, but that country merits not even a mention in the order." (de Vogue, Diamond & Liptak, CNN, 3/6/17) Cody Wofsky, of the ACLU, issued a strongly worded statement, as well, which says, in part: "The new order remains deeply unconstitutional and an affront to the principles on which this country was founded. We at the ACLU, and other organizations, advocates, states, cities, and individuals across the country, will keep fighting in courts and will keep voicing our opposition to this abhorrent religious discrimination." The Trump Administration appealed block of Muslim ban 2.0 to the 4th and 9th District Courts. Both Judges were unconvinced by the Administration's argument. The SCOTUS is now awaiting Government arguments. In the meantime, the latest ban is in place.

Trump has spoken of wanting to create a list of Muslims in the U.S., in order to be sure they are not terrorists. Here is his Muslim registry, explained. It notes we (gasp) actually had such a list from 2002-2011. The idea of creating a registry of a particular group harkens back both to early Nazi Germany and to American McCarthyism.

Most Americans don’t realize what Muslims actually believe. If that is true of you, you may be surprised to learn that Muslims worship the same God as do Christians, and, ironically, their religion explicitly forbids violence (read Islam Fact Check and see "Take Action" #1, below).

Where did the fear of Muslims originate and how did it spread? In 2015, The Center for American Progress published a report, Fear 2.0, to expose those who actively work to create Islamophobia in the U.S.: “The report found that seven charitable foundations spent $42.6 million between 2001 and 2009 to support the spread of anti-Muslim rhetoric.” (Center for American Progress, 11/2/15) There is an organized U.S. effort to foster hate, fear, and political reaction against Muslims, fed by fake news.

Besides the deplorable, racist idea of generalizing the extremist behavior of a few to an entire population of people, the Washington Post argues, ominously, that Facebook already has this information:

If you go to the Facebook ad-buying site — which anyone can do; it's right here — it takes only a few clicks to get the social network's estimate of the number of Americans on Facebook who are interested in the Muslim faith. Cobbling together everyone who lives in the U.S. and who has liked pages or items dealing with Islam gives you 9.4 million possible targets for your ads — a number substantially higher than the 2.75 million Muslims that Pew Research estimates live in the U.S. But still: Facebook has a sense of who's interested in the subject. If that level of pinpointing surprises you, wait for the punchline. Facebook's information is very, very rough compared to that compiled by large consumer data companies [who sell your data to advertisers].” (Bump, Washington Post, 11/20/15)

Selena Larson of CNN reported on 12/14/16 that Facebook denies it has a registry, or will help the government assemble one. That's encouraging, but they're missing the point made above.

A recent ADL poll found 76% of Americans are concerned about violence directed toward Muslims.


(1) Contact your representatives now to demand Congressional action against all unconstitutional bills and orders. Remember, you have two House representatives and two Senators. If they aren't yet saved in your phone, text your zip to 520-200-2233. You'll immediately receive a text back with Federal & State contact info. Alternatively, click here for your representatives' contact info. DC House of Representatives switchboard: 866-948-8977 and Senate 866-985-2543 (in addition to your local and state Congressional reps, call the DC number when Congress is in session and/or when you feel very, very strongly and alarmed about an issue or imminent legislation). Phoning is more effective than email, tweets, letters. Don't know your Senators’ phone number? Call 202/224-3121, put in your zip. You’ll be transferred. Shy to call? Don’t be concerned. You’ll likely be sent to voicemail. If the switchboard is not operating (it's been overwhelmed, lately!), email, tweet, and consider writing a letter to flood their offices with paper. If you do reach someone, speak concisely and politely, telling them:

...you live in their district (for Representatives) or state (for Senators),
...you’re concerned about unconstitutional targeting of Muslims and other immigrants and refugees in the U.S.,
...and (if applicable) you want them to immediately:
-vote for_______.
-push for _______legislation to ensure that __________.
-obstruct the GOP’s efforts to_________.

Here's what your representatives said about the first Muslim Ban. Let them know what you think.

(2) Join ACLU's protest mobilization team, People Power! Their first training was livestreamed on MARCH 11th. Read about the movement here. For that matter, join and support the ACLU, which is working to protect the rights of Muslims from registry, deportation, and profiling! Want an internship or a job? Check here.

(3) Engage in continuing protest actions, moving throughout cities and US Capitol. It's crucial to let the Administration (those for and against Trump), fellow citizens, Supreme Court, immigrants, refugees, and citizens and world leaders know there is significant dissent for unconstitutional actions. Check The Resistance Calendar for actions near you!

(4) If you are not Muslim, educate yourself about what Muslims actually believe by watching the excellent “Muslims and America” episode of the television series, 30 Days, by Morgan Spurlock. In it, a Christian man from Virginia, who was afraid of Muslims, moved in with a Muslim family in Dearborn, MI, for 30 days. The answer? No! At the end, he vowed to protect Muslims from discrimination. Spread the word about this video, particularly to those who think they understand Islam, but don't. (Also, check out Islam Fact Check!)

(5) Many Muslims note that fellow citizens avert their eyes from them or whisper to one another when passing. Stories now abound of airline passengers becoming afraid of a Muslim individual for speaking Arabic, or simply for “looking like a terrorist.” This connotes ignorance of the Muslim culture, values, and beliefs, and promotes feelings of isolation in the Muslim community, which are quite painful. Educate yourself, and reach out in kindness and solidarity to Muslims you know or come in contact with in your community.

(6) Here is Professor Samir Chopra's 11/17/17 view on the recent publicized idea of non-Muslims also registering for any list:

If concerned American citizens want to show their their resistance to any planned program for registering Muslim immigrants, they should: First, not acquiesce in the plan for the registry thus normalizing the very idea; it should be resisted at every step along the way with protests that include as a central strategy, direct action and civil disobedience. At the very least, there should be massive disruption of daily business via street demonstrations, lock-downs, and the widespread courting of arrest; the Trump administration will need to be put on notice that something extraordinary is under way and that business is usual cannot proceed while rights are being violated. Second, if the registry does go through, then those who register as Muslims in solidarity should go register in long lines, thus tying up the offices set up for such registry, while encouraging Muslims to stay at home. (That is, do not go register along with Muslims; register instead of them.)

(7) If you are Muslim, and haven't already, consider joining the United Muslim Foundation

(8) Support CAIR, Council on Islamic-American Relations, who are filing a legal action against the Muslim ban.

(9) On campus? From the LGBTQ support organization, Campus Pride: How non-Muslims can help to end Islamophobia (Beetham, 9/14/16)

(10) Starbucks CEO announced on 1/29/17 it is going to hire 10,000 refugees: at least one reason to feel good about your latte.

(11) See “Take Action” sections in Immigrants’ Rights.

Go to:

Immigrants Rights: DACA and Deportation of Non-Citizens

Human Rights: Immigrants' Rights

Human Rights: Racism

Human Rights: Sexism

Human Rights