A Hasidic man stands holding onto the pole, stroking his long white beard. His back is to a seated elderly Chinese woman. She gathers her things to get off and as she rises an unexpected lurch of the train propels her into the back of the man. An accident.
He loses it immediately. “Get off me.” “Don’t you touch me.” His arms are flapping now. “Don’t touch me!”
She looks at him in bewilderment. She didn’t know what was going on. She looks into his face with eyes wide and mouth open, obviously not understanding what he is yelling about. She takes her stuff and gets off with a question on her face. But he continues to rant until the next stop when he leaves the train.
After the man left, a young man who was standing nearby, sys loud enough for everyone around him to hear, “No wonder why the holocaust happened.” The rest of the passengers are shocked, frightened, and silent. Only their faces reveal the disgust they feel.
And so Trumpism’s normalization of racist speech is manifest.
The racist rhetoric of Trumpism is driving Muslims underground in fear. What better fertilizer for ISIS and Al Qaeda? “See? They are all against you. We are your only hope.”
Trump picked Steve Bannon, ex-chief of Breitbart News, as his chief strategist. Breitbart publishes inflammatory lies about Muslims like “a vast majority of U.S. mosques...are a part of a much larger jihadi network,” and “Muslims don’t report other Muslims”. Both are untrue. The Chief of Police of Dearborn MI, one of our largest Muslim communities, can tell of Muslims aiding authorities when suspicious activity is discovered. This cooperation comes at a price. Dearborn has expended energy and money to work intelligently and compassionately with the Muslim community. And it pays off.
Spreading fear within Muslim communities will have the opposite effect. It will make people fearful of contact with the police. It will radicalize. It will make it harder for law enforcement to maintain critical contact with the people they serve.
Learn about the diversity within Muslim communities. Learn the difference between Islamophobic rhetoric and the truth. Teach your children well.
Rep. Senator Doug Ericksen has introduced a bill criminalizing demonstrations which cause any sort of "economic disruption". Protesting becomes a Class C felony. Dissent is outlawed, and freedom of speech is gone, gone, gone. This is a perfect example of state terrorism aimed at silencing the opposition. This is a call for action.
We urge anyone in the five boroughs who may have been a victim of a hate crime to contact our offices, regardless of immigration status. In the case of an emergency, call 911 for immediate assistance. We are here to protect you, and we have the resources to do so.
An important alliance has just formed: The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council to “develop a coordinated strategy to address anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Semitism in the U.S.” and to “protect and expand the rights of religious minorities” in the country. You may think this is good. You may even be moved to join and pledge to work for them. Good.