APIAVote is an advocacy group that works to mobilize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to vote in local and national elections. In December 2015, they issued the following statement:
Anti-Muslim hate and bigotry has no place in our communities, no place on the campaign trail, and no place in the minds of current or future policymakers. Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) stands firmly alongside Muslim, Sikh, Arab, and South Asian Americans—communities that are currently experiencing elevated levels of profiling, discrimination, and hate crimes when such a rhetoric of hate grips the national discourse.
Many of these communities affected by anti-Muslim hate are Asian American, but more importantly, American. We have learned from our collective histories that such hate and hysteria leads to treacherous outcomes. Painting Muslim Americans as the foreign other is a painful reminder of such xenophobia strewn across American history.
Calls for a ban on Muslims entering the United States reminds us of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that banned entry into the America on the singular basis of race and national origin. Calls for Muslims to be singled out and identified within American communities reminds us of Japanese Internment in World War II—where over 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly incarcerated though many were U.S. citizens.
Using such a rhetoric of hate, fear, and bigotry to advance any political standing is unacceptable. The elevated levels of anti-Muslim hate currently on the campaign trail by individuals that may become America’s next president is disgraceful and dangerous. These are not the values of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community, and certainly not the values of the American society.
Trump’s call to temporarily pause immigration from terrorist and Muslim dominated countries, was a direct response to the horrific attacks in Paris and San Bernadino. The most recent tragic bloodshed occurred in Brussels. Critics of this proposal always leave out the second half, “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” This “figuring out” should include a strong effort by Muslims to weed out the extremists among them. Look at how France has closed down mosques, and how French Muslims have supported this effort.
AAPIVote condemns the “rhetoric, fear, and bigotry to advance any political standing,” but what about the rhetoric, fear, and bigotry that resulted in cold-blooded murder? While there was past discrimination of Asians, let’s not forget the hate that so barbarically ended precious lives. Let’s not forget that some of the victims were Asian.
I agree that most Muslims are peaceful. But the truth is, there is a cancer within the religion that is spreading. Those who fear that they and their loved ones could be the next victims of Islamic terrorism, are right to be concerned. They should not be condemned for anti-Muslim hate.