Last week, the ACLU of Virginia partnered with the Islamic Center of Virginia to host a #NoMuslimBanEver Community Forum, an event for people affected by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold President Trump's Muslim ban to come together, mourn the ruling, and learn more about the legal ramifications alongside allies of the Muslim community.

The court’s decision on the Muslim ban was disappointing and disheartening. The Court is wrong and has allowed official racism and xenophobia to continue rather than standing up to it. In these moments, it is important for us all to come together as one community and do everything we can to stand with vulnerable communities, including demonized people and beliefs.

Here are five things you can do right now:

  • Sign our petition. Demand Congress rescind the Muslim ban immediately.

  • Contact your legislators. You can call them directly, or call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to ask for your Senators or House representatives. Let them know that you are against this ban and ask that they denounce it publicly and work toward changing the law in Congress.

  • Share your stories. Talk to friends, family and coworkers about how this ban affects you and your loved ones. Take to social media to add your voice to those calling for #NoMuslimBanEver.

  • Vote. Make sure every person you vote for is against this discriminatory ban.

  • Follow us on social media to stay posted on upcoming protests, community forums and other opportunities to take action.

The #NoMuslimBanEver Community Forum was designed to be a space for education, sharing and solidarity. Imad Damaj, outreach committee chairman with the Islamic Center of Virginia, facilitated the discussions and introduced our Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, after welcoming the packed room of more than 125 people. Gastañaga read a message from the ACLU national Executive Director Anthony Romero, and spoke about the bigoted nature of the ruling. She drew parallels from Trump v. Hawaii to Korematsu v. United States and Plessy v. Ferguson, all of which were wrongfully decided cases legalizing racist policies and marking shameful eras in American history.

Imam Ammar Amonette of the Islamic Center of Virginia then spoke about the impact this court decision has on the local community, lamenting the hundreds of people in the area who are directly impacted by the ban. Damaj also told the story of a local woman who wanted to fly her mother into the U.S. to receive medical care for brain cancer, but she’s unable to enter the country due to the ban.

Stories of harassment and discrimination flowed throughout the forum. Suja Amir, a member of the ACLU of Virginia Board of Directors, was visibly shaken as she told the crowd that she and her daughter were both victims of road rage while driving separately shortly before the forum began. Amir’s experience was so severe that she called police to protect her.

Bashir Al-Asad, a Yemeni-American man living in North Chesterfield, said that some outside the walls of the Islamic Center have misguided ideas about their religious beliefs. Al-Asad then addressed President Trump directly: “Mr. President, you may have won this round. But you will never, ever win this fight, because you are on the wrong side of history.”

 

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