May 30, 2017

First They Came For the Muslims…and We Said, ‘NOT THIS TIME MOTHERF*CKER!’

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Protestors rally during a demonstration against the Muslim immigration ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport on January 28, 2017 in New York City. Donald Trump signed the controversial executive order that halted refugees and residents from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
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Out of all the lines that have been repeated over and over again in the past few weeks, this one resonates immensely!

Since the Electoral College gave Donald Trump the Presidency in November, global protests have been taking place in response, but they intensified as Trump was inaugurated, but as began writing what many are calling unconstitutional executive orders, the most egregious being one where he banned citizens from seven Muslim countries in an effort to curtail terrorism, immediately causing many from those countries coming to America that never had problems before, including those who have had green cards for decades in the US and were out of the country temporarily, to be blocked from reentering. Meanwhile in Quebec City, a gunman opened fire on a mosque Sunday, killing six and injuring 19, and although many right wing bloggers and news outlets proclaimed that the gunman was Muslim, some gleefuly boasting that the media was silent about the shooting once this news came out, in truth the shooter was 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, an anti-Muslim internet troll from Laval University who regularly spewed right wing and nationalist views online. After being admonished by the Canadian government for spreading false and misleading claims about the shooter, Fox News had to delete a tweet claiming the shooter’s nationality was Morrocan.

The shooting came in the midst of the airport protests that were underway because of the Muslim ban, and it reinforced the concern about what was forming under Donald Trump. To that end, the protests have continued into this week. The Columbus, Ohio rally resulted in police pepper spraying participants, however many remained peaceful. And as has been the case with anti-Trump rallies they have spread globally with protests taking place in the UK. Meanwhile, hundreds of State Department diplomats and officials have signed on to a letter of dissent condemning the Muslim ban. “A policy which closes our doors to over 200 million legitimate travelers in the hopes of preventing a small number of travelers who intend to harm Americans from using the visa system to enter the United States will not achieve its aim of making our country safer,” a draft of the dissent letter read. “Moreover, such a policy runs counter to core American values of nondiscrimination, fair play, and extending a warm welcome to foreign visitors and immigrants.”

Jan. 31, 2017 – 500 protesters stand outside Brower Commons in response to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. The tarp on College Ave. was later used as a mass prayer rug (Photo: Daryle Lamont Jenkins)

Hundreds of participants were at Rutgers University for what they called #RutgersSolidarity, blocking off College Ave. in front of Brower Commons. “Basically it’s just outrageous,” student Mona Abouzid, a senior at Rutgers who is also Muslim, told a local newspaper. “The fact that he just wants to keep people out based on where they are and based on their religion.” However, some were there to counter the rally as well, many of them holding Trump campaign banners and a “thin blue line” U.S. Flag, a black and white American flag with a blue line running across the middle that was created by the pro-police “Blue Lives Matter” campaign. Among them was Bill Foster, 20, of South River, who told a local newspaper that referring to the ban as a “Muslim ban” is mischaracterizing the executive order.

“To say it’s a blatant ban on Muslims or Muslim immigration is just absurd,” he said. “Why should we let people in if they’re not properly vetted?”

Foster, who has no relation to the late basketball coach of the same name who coached at Rutgers, says he is the founder of Sons of Exile, a group that on its website says it’s “an American Nationalist Club formed by Millenials in the USA, who are tired of the general values our generation deems acceptable.” This was also stated on the group’s Facebook page, but 24 hours after this rally “Nationalist” became “Patriots”. Foster’s own Facebook page includes “likes” of various White Nationalist groups and individuals, such as Jack Donovan and Operation Werewolf.

There is no indication how long the protests will continue, however on Wednesday evening MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted that in this short a time they have had more of an impact on American politics than the Tea Party movement ever did, showing that Americans approve of the current protests in two weeks that outpaces what the Tea Party did in the first eight months of its existence.

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