We March. We Sue. We Fight. We Win.

Assalamu Alaikum.

Insha’Allah this reaches you with a smile.

On a regular basis, we hear from members of the Muslim community who are trapped at airports, facing questions and harassment, or are nervous to travel for fear that this might happen. We answer these calls so often they have become routine for us.

However, a few weeks ago, we received a call which continues to haunt me. A Muslim traveler was detained for nine hours at an airport. During the ordeal, border agents lied to his family and lawyer about his immigration status and the processes he would be subjected to that day. When he was finally released, we were relieved but also infuriated that our civil rights continue being treated with such disregard.

So, I spent last week in D.C. working on the #NoMuslimBanEver campaign, which is an effort led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area, MPower Change, and the National Immigration Law Center. The campaign aims to bring together groups who are leading efforts around the country to fight against the Muslim Bans as well as other discriminatory immigration policies.

There has been a lot going on and we wanted to make sure you knew about the efforts and victories.

Beginning in September, and through last week, we have partnered with organizations across the country to host #NoMuslimBanEver vigils and events. Together, community groups from Hawaii to New York, D.C., and Atlanta hosted dozens of grassroots events intended to raise awareness about the impact of the Muslim Ban. These events culminated in a national mobilization last week, where thousands of people marched from the White House to Trump International Hotel.

In the early part of October, CAIR and the Brennan Center filed a lawsuit challenging the third iteration of the Muslim Ban. The plaintiffs include:

  • Eblal Zakzok, a U.S. permanent resident who fled Syria after being detained and tortured there. He is now trying to bring his daughter to the United States
  • Fahed Muqbil, has a wife of Yemeni origin who has also applied for an immigrant visa. For Muqbil and his wife, who gave birth to a child last year with severe birth defects, her inability to get that visa precludes her from tending to the needs of their daughter

In response to this and other lawsuits, two judges blocked the Ban from going into effect just a few hours before it would have.

We have also been pursuing legislation. This month, we:

  • Partnered with the National Iranian American Council, ACLU, Amnesty International, and others to collect over 100,000 signatures urging Congress to defund the Muslim Ban. The day we delivered those signatures, Senators Murphy and Feinstein, introduced legislation on the issue. Please email your elected officials to urge them to sign on to the legislation.
  • Celebrated the signing of Senate Bill 31 – we co-sponsored this legislation with Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the ACLU and it was championed by Senator Lara. Over many months, hundreds of you visited your elected officials to urge them to pass this law, to ensure California would never participate in any type of identity based registry – Muslim or otherwise.

Your duas and support are what make this work possible. Together we are marching, suing, fighting, and winning against the Muslim Bans. But as you know, this is far from over.

I hope you will join us on Saturday, December 9 for our annual dinner. Your presence and support at these dinners over the years has enabled us to grow, punch above our weight class, and win. This year’s dinner is an especially important one, as we will reflect on the challenges we have overcome, the victories we have obtained together, and the work ahead.

See you on December 9, insha’Allah.

Sincerely,
Zahra Billo, Esq.
Executive Director