Trump’s controversial but popular travel ban which overwhelmingly targets the Muslim-majority countrie sof Chad, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, did not emerge in a vacuum. In fact, findings from recently published research expose 15 federal measures and 194 state bills that impact Muslims directly. (Many of which Obama reversed or tried to reverse while in office)
The Conversation After Sept. 11, immigration became a key national security issue. As a result, 15 federal programs and initiatives were implemented that target and discriminate against Muslim individuals and communities. These measures rely on a narrative that depicts Muslims as untrustworthy and in conflict with American values. This framing has justified the surveillance, racial profiling of Muslim immigrants, students, businesses and mosques.
The Entry-Exit Registration System, created by the Justice Department in 2002, fingerprinted, photographed and attempted to track all non-citizen males over 16 years of age from 25 countries.
With the exception of North Korea, all 25 countries had Muslim-majority populations and more than 85,000 individuals were registered in the system. The surveillance program was implemented as a counter-terrorism tool. Although all target countries in the program were removed by Obama in 2011, its regulatory framework remained in place for 14 years and could have been reinstituted at any time.
In December 2016, President Barack Obama officially dismantled the program. Obama was motivated, in part, by preventing the incoming Trump administration from reviving the program. One of Trump’s campaign promises was to implement a Muslim registry, spy on mosques and punish companies that offer Americans unbreakable encryption. Obama Officially Kills Bush-Era Muslim Registry Program (NSEERS) Before Trump Can Resurrect It
Kris Kobach, one of the original architects of Nseers who has been advising the Trump team on immigration and anti-terrorism, proposed last month as his no 1 priority for homeland security that he would “update and reintroduce” the surveillance program
The NYPD had a near flawless system for monitoring Muslim communities,a program that was disbanded under MayorBill DeBlasio. There have been at least 3 Muslim terrorist attacks in NYC since the program was eliminated.
ACLU The NYPD ’s Intelligence Division used a variety of methods to spy on and monitor Muslim communities
Mapping of Muslim Communities: The NYPD’s Demographics Unit (now the Zone Assessment Unit) has mapped neighborhoods predominantly occupied by 28 so-called “ancestries of interest”—i.e., national origin associated with Muslim populations—as well as “American Black Muslims.” The NYPD expressly excluded from its surveillance and mapping activities non-Muslims such as Coptic Christian Egyptians or Iranian Jews.
Photo and Video Surveillance: NYPD officers, stationed in cars outside of mosques, have taken pictures and video of those leaving and entering places of worship, and recorded the license plate numbers of worshippers attending services. Remotely controlled NYPD cameras have also been placed on light poles, aimed at mosques.
Police Informants: The NYPD has recruited so-called “mosque crawlers,” to act as inside observers in mosques. They report on sermons, provide names of attendees, and take pictures inside of the mosques. Employing a method called “create and capture,” the NYPD has instructed informants to “create” conversations about jihad or terrorism and “capture” and report the responses to the police. Informants are often selected from a pool of arrestees, prisoners, or suspects who are pressured into becoming informants.
Police “Rakers”: Teams of NYPD plainclothes officers—called “rakers”—have been deployed to Muslim communities where they can blend in “consistent with their ethnicity and or language.” They aim to compile information on the community, listen in on conversations at Muslim restaurants and businesses, and identify Muslim “hotspots.”
Tracking Individuals: The NYPD tracks people who changed their names, investigating those who could be Muslim converts or who were “Americanizing” their names.
Intelligence Databases: The Intelligence Division has generated daily reports on innocent Muslims’ lives. The names of thousands of innocent New Yorkers have been placed in secret police files. Information is kept both in an intelligence database and on a standalone computer used to generate intelligence reports.
Under the Obama regime and enforced by then FBI Director, Robert Meuller, U.S. Government Purges of Law Enforcement Training Material Deemed ‘Offensive’ to Muslims’
Additional anti-Muslim travel policies were introduced following the November 2015 Paris attacks and the 2015 San Bernardino attack in California.
The attacks spurred changes to the Visa Waiver Program. The waiver allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa. The 2015 changes exempted several Muslim-majority nations including Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria from these travel privileges.
Further updates were implemented in 2017 to target citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen and visitors to those countries.
In addition to federal measures, our database has documented 194 anti-Sharia bills introduced in 39 state legislatures across the U.S. from 2010 to 2016. The anti-Sharia movement is responsible for the creation of these bills, sponsored by anti-Muslim organizations like ACT for America.
Anti-Sharia bills, founded on the fear of “creeping Sharia,” identify Sharia as “foreign law” and thus ban its use in courts. Despite this law already on the books, many state courts have already considered sharia law in rulings involving Muslims. Thus the need for anti-sharia laws in each state. Shariah in American Courts: The Expanding Incursion of Islamic Law in the U.S. Legal System
Surveillance, travel restrictions, and anti-Sharia laws represent the ways in which U.S. policies discriminate against Muslims. As we anticipate the Supreme Court’s decision in June to either uphold or rescind Trump’s travel ban, the question remains: Will the Supreme Court continue to allow the legal discrimination against Muslims in the U.S.? (One can only hope)