• First, Donald Trump came for the Muslims

    Editorials November 23, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Daily Beast. I have never truly feared for the well-being of my family or friends because of the words uttered by an American politician. But that has changed after Donald Trump’s comments over the past few days about Muslims. During his rally Saturday deep in the heart of Dixie, Trump told the crowd of thousands in no uncertain terms what Muslims could expect if he leads our nation. “Just to set it clear,” Trump stated, pausing slightly for dramatic effect. A sternness then came over his face as he declared emphatically: “I want surveillance of these people.” Trump then implored the crowd to cheer for his plan that would strip the constitutional rights of a minority group in America with the call, “Are you ready for this? Are you ready?” And on cue, thousands in the crowd cheered as their leader beckoned. Then something else happened at the event that should give all Americans pause. In this sea of adoring Trump fans stood a black man by the name of Mercutio Southall Jr., a well known local activist. Southall had been shouting “Black Lives Matters,” which had so upset Trump supporters that some began to assault him.

  • US governors are wrong: Syrian refugees are no threat to national security

    Editorials November 16, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Quartz. Following a series of terrorist attacks on Paris, which has so far left 129 dead, a number of US state governors have vowed to block Syrian refugees from settling within the borders of their states. Most attempted to downplay any notions of racial or faith-based prejudice. But putting aside the logistics for a second, these types of harmful overreactions exaggerate stereotypes, exacerbate interfaith and interracial tensions, and, above all, denies safe haven to the Islamic State’s principal targets: actual Syrians. It is painfully obvious that very few, if any Syrians seeking resettlement in the United States (or frankly any reasonably safe country that will have them) are terrorists or potential terrorists. Politics are not a priority for these refugees. Surviving is.

  • Donald Trump is getting back into the Islamophobia business: The racist conspiracy theory he refused to disown

    Editorials September 18, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Salon. Last night, Trump entertained notions about “terrorist training camps” in America. While Trump’s spokesman claimed that he was talking about looking into these alleged terrorist training camps, many of us who heard that question understood the man to be asking “when are we going to get rid of Muslims.” With Trump talking about rounding up 12 million people and deporting them, including American children, it’s not hard to imagine that his more unhinged supporters would think that the King of the Birthers might be on board for a little ethnic cleansing of Muslims as well. His answer undoubtedly cemented their faith that this is a man who was willing to consider it.

  • The truth of ‘Black Lives Matter’

    Editorials September 3, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The New York Times. The “Black Lives Matter” movement focuses on the fact that black citizens have long been far more likely than whites to die at the hands of the police, and is of a piece with this history. Demonstrators who chant the phrase are making the same declaration that voting rights and civil rights activists made a half-century ago. They are not asserting that black lives are more precious than white lives. They are underlining an indisputable fact — that the lives of black citizens in this country historically have not mattered, and have been discounted and devalued. People who are unacquainted with this history are understandably uncomfortable with the language of the movement. But politicians who know better and seek to strip this issue of its racial content and context are acting in bad faith. They are trying to cover up an unpleasant truth and asking the country to collude with them.

  • Year one of Black Lives Matter

    Editorials August 5, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Socialist Worker. On August 9, 2014, Mike Brown was shot down by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson, and his lifeless body was left uncovered for four-and-a-half hours–to broil on a summer street and be seen by little kids and everyone else in the predominantly Black neighborhood. The murder sparked days and nights of furious protest. In the year since, so much has changed–and not nearly enough has changed. The rebellion in Ferguson didn’t stop the list of names of people murdered by police–on the contrary, it seemed to roll on ever more relentlessly: Eric Garner. John Crawford. Akai Gurley. Tamir Rice. Tony Robinson. Freddie Gray. Sandra Bland. But Ferguson did vastly increase public awareness of those names. And it put the country on notice that Black people suffering from America’s age-old racist violence in the 21st century were no longer going to be appeased by having a few Black faces in high places–even the White House.

  • Don’t just call the police to stop young men from joining Isis. Call their mothers

    Editorials July 31, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Guardian. The voice of Muslim mothers’ is conspicuously absent from the public discourse about preventing radicalization in the Muslim-American community. When recognized and empowered, they can play a robust role in protecting their families and communities, a role enshrined in the Islamic tradition. Communities must further develop community-led prevention intervention, and rehabilitation capacities, which allow young persons to get the help and, where possible, avoid lengthy prison sentences. This would allow mothers to see law enforcement as allies in keeping their teenagers safe. A mother who fears that her outreach will attract an agent provocateur is unlikely to ask for help. Mosque leaders who fear spies in their midst avoid openly discussing worrisome behavior among the congregants, lest they inadvertently identify easy targets for government surveillance. These mothers, and their communities, need to be able to trust that reaching out to law enforcement will help ensure safety for their loved ones and their community.

  • The good news about extremist violence in the United States: It’s vanishingly rare

    Editorials July 6, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Washington Post. Extremist violence is incredibly rare in the United States. That doesn’t mean it never happens, or that it isn’t tragic and awful when it does. But it’s okay to recognize the tragedy of a particular event and conclude that there was nothing to be done about it. Doing so doesn’t mean the lives that were lost any less important or meaningful, nor does it make the sheer horror of it all any more palatable. But when a monster commits an inexplicable crime, we do no one any good by insisting that this particular monster could only have been one of an army of them– despite all evidence to the contrary — then insisting that no one feel safe until we’ve destroyed them all.

  • Torture is a war crime the government treats like a policy debate

    Editorials June 17, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Guardian. The Senate commendably passed an amendment “outlawing” torture by a wide margin on Monday, but given that torture is already against the law – both through existing US statute and by international treaty – what does that really mean? Instead of treating torture as the criminal matter that it is, the Obama administration effectively turned it into a policy debate, a fight over whether torture “worked”. It didn’t of course, as mountains of evidence has proved, but it’s mind-boggling we’re even having that debate considering that torture is a clear-cut war crime. It’s like debating the legality of child slavery while opening your opening argument with: “well, it is good for the economy.”

  • The Guardian view on surveillance after Snowden: an outlaw rewrites the law

    Editorials June 1, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Guardian. Here is the paradox. Edward Snowden sits in exile in Moscow, knowing that if he returned to the west, as he would like to, he’d almost certainly wind up in jail. Yet at the same time, no one disputes that Mr Snowden has sparked a global debate about privacy, which on Sunday saw the US Senate rein in the National Security Agency’s powers, most notably to collect the telephone records of millions of Americans. Three provisions of the post-9/11 Patriot Act have expired, and while replacement legislation will soon enough be passed it is likely to embody certain post-Snowden reforms. The American outlaw, then, is remaking the American law.

  • It’s time the U.S. paid reparations to the prisoners It tortured

    Editorials December 9, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: New Republic. Appearing before the U.N. Committee Against Torture, the U.S. delegation unequivocally affirmed, “torture and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment are prohibited at all times and in all places,” including places outside of U.S. borders, like Guantánamo Bay.The statement to the U.N. was celebrated as a positive shift away from Bush-administration policy, but it only addresses part of the U.S.’s history of failure to adhere to the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Article 14 of the treaty requires signatory states to ensure that victims of torture have access to redress and compensation. However, there is no known case in which a torture victim has been financially compensated by the U.S.