The wave of Islamophobia sweeping over our country has been inspired and strengthened by US government policies, practices and rhetoric.
In order to justify its War on Terror policies, both at home and abroad, the U.S. government has often resorted to explanations that demonize Muslims in general. This oftentimes creates a self-perpetuating cycle–Muslims are demonized to justify a repressive policy, said repressive policy targets Muslims, and when the public learns that Muslims have been singled out for repression new Islamophobic norms are created.
Defending Rights & Dissent works to counter Islamophobia, particularly as manifested in government policies and practices:
- Law enforcement and intelligence agency profiling based on religion, ethnic background or country of origin
- Countering Violent Extremism and Strong Cities program which targets communities “at risk” based on religious or political beliefs, rather than any evidence of criminal activity.
- Law enforcement sting operations targeted at vulnerable members of the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities.
- Anti-Sharia laws or legislation designed to prevent courts from applying Islamic or “Sharia” law, as well as “foreign” or “international law.”
Defending Rights & Dissent, working with the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, has created a workshop to help communities name and overcome Islamophobia and develop a plan of action to confront government programs that target Muslims and inspire Islamophobia.
The program is already underway in North Carolina, and will be launched soon in Boston, Los Angeles. We are accepting applications from organizations in other cities interested in the project. If you would like to get involved please email [email protected]
Ahead of Hearing, Defending Rights & Dissent Urges Homeland Security Committee to Address Law Enforcement Abuses of Counterterrorism Authorities
With an uptick in white supremacist violence, the House Homeland Security Committee is holding a hearing on “Confronting the Rise of Domestic Terrorism in the Homeland.” Defending Rights & Dissent recognizes the real threat white supremacist violence poses to many communities. We also have deep concerns about how law enforcement routinely abuses their counterterrorism authorities. The framework of “terrorism” has been used to criminalize some of the very same communities most at risk from white supremacist violence. When investigating nonviolent activists, law enforcement frequently cite their counterterrorism authorities.
FBI agent Terry Albury saw inherent racism in the FBI’s targeting of local communities of color, and sought to blow the whistle on that racism and the agency’s unethical use of paid informants. He will be sentenced under the Espionage Act next week.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing was filled with appalling testimony based on Islamophobia and fear-mongering rather than facts and evidence.
Defending Rights & Dissent strongly condemns the Supreme Court’s Trump v. Hawaii decision to uphold the third iteration of Trump’s Muslim Ban.
On June 6, as the Muslim community was girding for a Supreme Court decision on his Muslim Ban, President Trump hosted an Iftar at the White House. Muslim human rights groups organized a protest Iftar outside the White House