Maz Saleem, whose father Mohammed Saleem was killed in a horrific Islamophobic, racist terror attack in 2013, urges people to take a stand against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban at this Saturday’s mass protest in London.
Outrageously, on Holocaust Memorial Day Donald Trump ordered the Muslim ban – at a time to remember the millions of people who were murdered and the lives that were changed as a result of the Holocaust. History will remember that.
Canadian leader Justin Trudeau responded to Trump’s ban on Muslims on Twitter: To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcometoCanada.
The following day a known Nazi Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, is suspected of walking into Québec City Islamic Cultural Centre during evening prayers and shooting dead innocent worshippers in a brutal act of terrorism. The targeted mosque had a severed pig’s head left outside during Ramadan last June. Yet in a flash, Fox News and other right-wing tabloid trash and various political figures insisted that the perpetrator was a Moroccan and that he screamed “Allah Akbar.” In actual fact, that person was a worshipper at the mosque.
Alexandre Bissonnette is a known right-wing fanatic who supported Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, the Israeli Defence Force and other right wing Islamophobic groups. He has now been charged with five counts of attempted murder in an attack the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an act of terrorism.
But it is alarming just how little coverage the Quebec Shooting has received in the mainstream media. The Berlin attack was reported for days on end, as is the case with all act of terrorism committed by alleged Muslims. Yet the media has portrayed Alexandre Bissonnette as a child-like student who likes to play chess. Similarly they did this with my father’s terrorist attacker, Pavlo Lapshyn. The media portrayed Lapshyn as a clever PhD student who was very quiet and of course a “lone wolf” just like Alexandre Bisonnette.
I asked a question to myself today: were any lessons learned from the Holocaust? Judging by Trump’s outrageous executive orders, I think not.
The new US President Donald Trump has announced he will ban nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the US. He has announced that no visas will be issued to nationals from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days. Five of the seven predominantly Muslim countries were bombed by Obama, while Iran and Sudan were punished with heavy sanctions (not to mention various other forms of neo-colonialist oppression).
Trump is banning immigrants from the very countries the US has played a huge role in destabilising and destroying. This ban excludes those Muslim-majority countries where he has current or likely future business interests. This includes properties and golf courses in the United Arab Emirates and luxury towers in Turkey.
The hypocrisy and outrageousness of Trump’s inhumane ban is not only Islamophobic, bigoted, and offensive; it is actually sending shock waves through the world and has prompted mass protests all over the globe.
Now how has Trump been able to do this? He has tapped into the hate-fuelled market so well, and the reason for this is because for over 15 years of the so called “War on Terror”, anti-Muslim rhetoric and bigotry has been the main factor that has been driving it. And the demonisation of Muslims and Islam has been used to its full extent by the US and UK mainstream media to justify the bombings of Muslim countries.
The US and UK governments for over 15 years have got away with droning, bombing and invading, and the same group of people they actually want to ban today.
War on Terror
Trump did not just appear out of nowhere – he has been a part of the US establishment for a very long time. He knew very well what buttons to push, and it worked. His popularity amongst the far-right, bigots and racists has risen. Trump’s alliance with Nigel Farage has given Farage a platform to continue his vile Islamophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Theresa May’s recent visit to the US holding – hands with Trump in solidarity – was not only deplorable but her cowardice to condemn this outrageous ban speaks volumes of her appeasement to Trump’s vile Islamophobia by behaving like his lapdog. Shameful.
Moreover, just a few hours after Donald Trump signed his executive orders worshipers at the Victoria Islamic Centre in Victoria, Texas, arrived for morning Fajr prayers only to find their mosque burned to the ground. This mosque had been previously targeted by racists. Attacks on Muslim places of worship, towards Muslims in general, especially Muslim sisters who wear the hijab, niqab and abaya, rose dramatically during Trump’s presidential campaigning.
The threat now is not only the immigration ban but the extensive rise of Islamophobic attacks which will continue to rise if we do not speak up and challenge the racist rhetoric politicians and the mainstream media is constantly pursuing. That’s why it’s urgent that we protest, denounce it, fight it, and defeat it now.
I ask Muslims everywhere to join us with thousands of others at this Saturday’s protest against the Muslim Ban – called by Stop the War, along with Stand up to Racism, Muslim Association of Britain, Muslim Engagement and Development, CND and Friends of Al-Aqsa. We are calling for a mass protest in central London Saturday 4th of February at 11am, starting at the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square and marching to Downing Street.
We cannot lose faith and we need to come out and show solidarity to our Muslim brothers and sisters fleeing war and persecution, to US and Canadian Muslims, and stand up to religious discrimination. In the words of Jeremy Corbyn:“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Here are the details for Saturdays protest, please invite your friends (including through the Facebook event page).