Posted by Arab American Institute on September 18, 2015 in Blog
Last night, Donald Trump’s exchange at a New Hampshire town hall meeting revealed anti-Muslim bigotry which should have no place in this election or any public discourse in our country. You can watch the whole thing here on CSPAN in case you missed it. The moment captured three things: willful ignorance about the faith and citizenship of the President of the United States; fear mongering about American Muslims; and the growing normalization of anti-Muslim and often anti-Arab bigotry not only in the limited setting of Trump’s town hall, but in the mainstream conversation surrounding regrettable events like this.
We’re pleased to see so many perfect responses to Trump from his fellow 2016 candidates and the media. Check them out on our website here.
But, although important voices have stepped up to the plate to tell Trump that he should not have let such ugly bigotry to pass unchallenged, we have also seen Senator John McCain lifted up as an example of how Trump should have responded. You might recall Senator McCain’s handling of a bigoted question back in 2008, but watch it again here: http://youtu.be/MRq6Y4NmB6U
Senator McCain was right to challenge his supporter but regrettably he missed an important point which Secretary of State Colin Powell correctly highlighted:
We need this to be part of the conversation. The incident in question is more than an issue of factual inaccuracies about the President’s religion and citizenship, and it’s about more than Islamophobia. It’s about the fact that many have come to accept that “Muslim” or “Arab” is a bad word. We know it is a tired comparison but it is true: no other group could be talked about that way without outcry or in the case of candidates or public officials--political consequences.
Please help challenge this directly by copy and paste these talking points into an email, a letter, a Facebook post, you can edit if for twitter or you can write it on a billboard. There are many, many ways we can advance this message. I would urge you first and foremost to send this to your local paper’s editorial writers or your favorite bloggers. Whatever you read on a regular basis wants to hear from you. You can usually find a form on their website or an email address – and if you can’t, we are here to help.
Here’s the message we want to push:
- Bigotry in all its forms including Anti-Muslim and Anti-Arab does not belong in American public discourse
- Public officials, including Presidential candidates, must be held accountable for their statements. This is why we created the No Bigotry pledge.
- All Americans, and that includes Mexican Americans, women, Spanish-speaking Americans, Arab Americans, and American Muslims deserve to enjoy the same rights and protections that they share with their fellow citizens. All Americans have the same rights; they just aren't always enjoyed equally.