January 28, 2017 -- The Trump administration issued an executive order yesterday that bans entry to the U.S. of all people from a list of seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen), effective immediately. The ban includes green-card holders and will apply for 90 days. The order also indefinitely bans entry of all refugees from these seven countries, and bans entry of all refugees for 120 days. The administration also announced that it is considering adding a "values test" to visa applications, which will target Muslims and test their beliefs. Other executive orders released by the administration in the past few days direct funds and personnel to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, revive the "secure communities" program, attack sanctuary city efforts, and potentially lift restrictions on torture.
The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity condemns these actions in the strongest terms possible. The "Muslim Ban" is racist and Islamophobic, targeting Muslims and majority countries. It is especially horrifying that the Muslim Ban order was signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which recalls the targeting and persecution of Jews and other minorities in Europe.
We also find it ironic and reprehensible that the United States and its allies have bombed six out of the seven countries specified, creating the very conditions that force desperate people to flee their homes. It is both hypocritical and cruel for the U.S. to deny entry to people—especially refugees—fleeing devastation as a result of U.S. actions. It is also deeply upsetting to note the potential effect of this ban on LGBTQ people in these seven countries, who have often availed of refugee and asylee visas in the past.
We are deeply concerned at the creation of this framework for restricting entry to the U.S. While it is currently limited to seven countries, the scope of the ban can be expanded to include other countries at a later time. Therefore, it is imperative that we oppose the entire framework of this executive order. Instead of debating which countries should and shouldn't be on this list, we must reject the idea of the list itself. We urge that the list be rescinded immediately.
The administration claims that the Muslim Ban is issued in the name of "national security," but we know that they are really driven by bigotry and racism directed against our communities. This is why we must resist only thinking about Muslims in the context of national security and terrorism, and instead affirm that Muslims are an intrinsic and valuable part of our nation and world, with the same fundamental human rights as all other people.
As LGBTQ Muslims, we are keenly aware of the homophobic and transphobic policies of the Trump administration, and we know that the possibility of including a question about acceptance of homosexuality on the proposed "values test" is not driven by sincere concern for LGBTQ people. Rather, it is intended to be a "wedge" that divides our Muslim and queer communities. We refuse to be used as a wedge against our own communities and families. When members of our communities and families are stigmatized as national security threats, it harms all of us. We call upon all people to reject Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry in all of its forms.
This proposed "values test" also reinforces the false idea that LGBTQ rights are the sole province of the USA, and it undermines the many local movements for LGBTQ rights in Muslim-majority countries. We oppose any such "values tests."
In this moment, we also stand firm in our commitment to solidarity across affected communities. As LGBTQ Muslims, we know and understand intersectional oppression, because we experience it on a daily basis. Our community experiences anti-Muslim bigotry, anti-Black racism, and xenophobia, in addition to homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and other oppressions based on different facets of our experiences and identities. As such, we know that our survival depends on working with all of the affected vulnerable communities, including undocumented people whose lives are at risk from the policies that the administration stands poised to implement.
We call upon our allies within the LGBTQ movement, anti-racism movements, and faith-based communities to stand with us and other Muslims in opposing the implementation of these executive orders and the devastation they will wreak on families and communities across the country and the world. We will continue to fight for our communities and we will continue to resist injustice; we urge all justice-minded people to join us.
The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) works to support, empower and connect LGBTQ Muslims. We seek to challenge root causes of oppression, including misogyny and xenophobia. We aim to increase the acceptance of gender and sexual diversity within Muslim communities, and to promote a progressive understanding of Islam that is centered on inclusion, justice, and equality. Connect with us at www.muslimalliance.org.