Muslim leaders call on Trump to protect their community

Jaweed Kaleem
Los Angeles Times

Leaders of the most prominent Muslim-American groups have released an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump to “express serious concerns” about his policy proposals and upcoming administration and ask him to protect their community.

The letter, published Monday at with 291 signatures, is endorsed by top officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council and Islamic Circle of North America, as well as dozens of imams, professors, activists and leaders of campus Islamic groups.

Muslim groups have strongly opposed many of Trump’s pronouncements and adviser picks since the election, though the letter is one among the first unified responses to the president-elect from members of the faith.

It comes amid reports that Trump is considering a registry of Muslim immigrants, something he suggested during his campaign, and after a spate of violence across the country against Muslim-Americans. Some of the violence has been from attackers invoking the president-elect’s name. Muslim leaders have argued that Trump’s election has emboldened anti-Muslim sentiment.

“During and immediately following this year’s presidential election cycle, American Muslim organizations received more reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes than any other period of time since 9/11. Your recent denunciation of such behavior on ‘60 Minutes’ was a positive first step, and we urge you to clearly and strongly condemn bigotry, hate crimes and bias-based school bullying directed at any American, including American Muslims. We call on you to make mutual respect and acceptance a hallmark of your presidency,” the letter says.

“Furthermore, along with many other Americans, we are deeply troubled by reports that your team is actively considering proposals that would target Muslims based on religion and violate their constitutional rights. Advisers and members of your transition team have proposed a registry of Muslim immigrants and visitors to this country. Shockingly, an adviser cited the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II — one of the most shameful moments in our nation’s history — as precedent for targeting Muslims.”

The letter says that Muslims wish Trump “success in upholding our country’s founding principles” and that they “will continue to engage all levels of our government to make America great.” They will also hold Trump and “all elected officials accountable for upholding our Constitution and the equal protections it guarantees.”

Signers of the letter, which organizers plan to send to Trump, include Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who became known for his emotional plea against Trump during the Democratic National Convention. They also include Husain Abdullah, a former NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs.