We at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) are disheartened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority opinion in United States v. State of Hawaii in upholding the travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries. This is a dark chapter in our American history.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is misaligned with our nation’s professed values and is clear evidence of the historical continuation of discriminatory policies towards people of color, immigrant populations, and religious minorities. Today’s ruling joins the regretful ranks of the Korematsu Decision, which separated Japanese-American families, and forced them to live in internment camps during World War II. Like Korematsu, and other unfortunate episodes in America’s history, this case will be seen by future generations as cause for national remorse.
In a statement, ISNA President Azhar Azeez said:
“Maintaining family unity is the cornerstone of a healthy and stable society. This ruling will instead exacerbate the status quo of families being torn apart; mothers unable to hold their infants; funerals of grandparents unattended; and siblings separated by oceans. Although today’s ruling implicitly upholds the clear and direct animus this administration holds towards Muslims and Islam, the impact of this pain will be felt by our entire country.”
While we are deeply hurt, our spirit is not broken, and we are appreciative of the support from our allies. Like our partners, we remain committed to the political process, and draw upon our faith values of pluralism, freedom of religion, equity, and justice to ensure that everyone in our society is treated with human dignity as the sisters and brothers that God created us to be.
Criminalizing religious communities isn’t just morally wrong; it also doesn’t keep us any safer. Our organization remains committed to ensuring healthcare for all people, sensible gun safety measures, food security for all, and the protection of our environment so that our planet remains habitable for all people, especially the most vulnerable among us. We will continue to work on these issues to ensure that our nation provides true opportunities for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor forcefully stated in her dissenting opinion, ”The court blindly accepts the government’s invitation to sanction an openly discriminatory policy and is essentially replacing one gravely wrong decision with another.” Today’s ruling is a dark chapter, but it is only one chapter in an evolving story, one we will continue to participate in.
Many people around the country are having a tough time processing and explaining this ruling to their children. The Family and Youth Institute (FYI) has created a toolkit to assist parents with these difficult and painful conversations: http://www.thefyi.org/toolkits/muslim-ban-toolkit/.