Thursday, December 22, 2016

Chanukah 2016

Since the first night of Chanukah happens to coincide with Christmas Eve this year, we will be otherwise occupied and won't be able to join the friends with whom we usually mark the holiday of the lights. Fortunately, thanks to Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a communal celebration of the light of freedom and justice which does not fail was available in Union Square in San Francisco Wednesday evening.

Amid the Christmas shopping frenzy, scores of us came out in solidarity with all communities under threat in this time, most especially our Muslim friends and neighbors.

Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-California), spoke of her anger at the ignorant hate being directed at her community. Most of us probably don't know the level of harassment this community was under before the election.

Did anyone else feel like they were hit by a speeding train this past November? For many American Muslims in the Bay Area, that’s exactly what it felt like.

... November was off to a rocky start from the very beginning, and the results of the elections had little to do with it. What wasn’t so open and obvious to very many people was that many American Muslims were paid a surprising visit by an unsolicited party.

In the days leading up to the elections, the FBI conducted a nationwide sweep, knocking on the doors and visiting the homes of law abiding American Muslims. The Bay Area community was part of a nationwide FBI sweep that specifically profiled and targeted American Muslims prior to elections about possible pre-election terrorism. Community members were asked appalling questions about whether they personally knew al-Qaeda leaders killed in U.S. military airstrikes the prior month or whether they knew of anyone who wished to cause harm to Americans at home or abroad. Nothing connected these individuals to each other or to any alleged threat. In fact, nothing connected them at all except the fact that they were Muslim and shared a similar ethnicity. ...

CAIR-SFBA Civil Rights Desk

These are the same sort of offensively ignorant questions our spooks asked Afghans under interrogation in 2001. Apparently they've learned nothing except that they suffer no penalty for abusing a community under bigoted suspicion.

It is heartening to know that some of us still know better.
Trump yesterday reaffirmed his intention of creating a registry of Muslim citizens and banning Muslim immigrants.
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