Statement of North American scholars of Islam and the Muslim world regarding President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration and refugees

To sign this statement, click on “comments” just to the left, then include your name, title and affiliation in the comment section below. To see the signatories click on the link to the right.

January 30, 2017 [language on green card holders updated Feb. 2]

As scholars and teachers whose work is focused on Islam and the Muslim world, we are impelled to speak out against President Trump’s executive order banning entry into the United States of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. This ban is illegal, unethical, and ill conceived.  It was initially used to ban the re-entry of all visa and green card holders, including permanent residents of the United States, who are citizens or dual citizens of those countries and who travel outside the United States for any reason. Although the current head of homeland security is no longer interpreting the executive order to include permanent residents we do not know what the future might hold. The fluid interpretations and possible expansion of this order only exacerbate its devastating impact on the academy.

This ban effectively bars our colleagues and students from leaving the country to visit family members, conduct business, do research, or attend academic conferences. It will prevent important internationally based scholars and artists from coming to our campuses. It will disrupt our academic programs by discouraging applications from potential faculty and students. Iran has already responded by barring entry to Americans, and other countries may follow suit, preventing scholars from traveling abroad for essential academic research and collaboration. All of these are impediments to a better understanding of Muslim societies, to building harmonious relationships with Muslims, and to collaboration with Muslim scholars both nationally and internationally on matters of global importance. There is no evidence that this executive order will prevent terrorism.

As educators, we must also point out that this order is the culmination of a trend of demonizing Muslims, both at home and abroad. We fear it will lead to a continuation of hate crimes and persecution of Muslim minority populations in the US, a population that has made and continues to make significant contributions to the wealth and well-being of this country. The explicit references to “honor killings,” “acts of bigotry” and terrorism as a justification for this ban are offensive and demeaning. We regard this executive order as against both the letter and the spirit of the law and the reasonable expectations of those granted admission by the US government; it should be rescinded immediately.

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