April 12, 2018
Issue: Fighting Bigotry
Farhana Khera: “Senators, Don’t Reward Pompeo for His Record of Hate”
Washington, DC – Ahead of the Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo’s senate confirmation hearing, Muslim Advocates executive director Farhana Khera published a new column on Medium.
As she writes, “Pompeo has proven to every senator and every American that he has no place in the Cabinet. His confirmation is a threat to security for all Americans, and several steps backward for American Muslims, who have lived in heightened fear through the duration of this Administration and are under imminent threat of normalized discrimination under an openly anti-Muslim Secretary of State. This man has no place at the State Department and the Senate can do something about it. Senators, please stop Pompeo.”
The entire piece is included below or available online here.
The poet and educator Maya Angelou often urged, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
Mike Pompeo, former Kansas lawmaker, current CIA director and nominee for Secretary of State, has consistently shown the world who he is: a man who shaped his career on a vehemently anti-Muslim set of beliefs.
From my tenure as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, I recognize the warning signs. Mike Pompeo is a threat to our Constitution, to our society, and to all Americans.
Let us review.
In 2013, shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, Pompeo accused American Muslim leaders of being “potentially complicit” in the attacks. Weeks later, during a floor speech, then-Congressman Pompeo contended that the aforementioned leaders’ condemnations were insufficient, and, therefore, “It casts doubt on the commitment to peace by adherents of the Muslim faith.” He also advocated for halting refugee resettlement, apparently ahead of the curve on Trump’s Muslim ban.
For the past three years, Pompeo has spoken at the annual conference for ACT for America, the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate group. An ACT leader once called for the eradication of Islam: “Islam is a supremacist, totalitarian political ideology masquerading as a religion. It’s as dangerous as Nazism or communism and must be eradicated.” The hate group; even awarded Pompeo, bestowing upon him the “highest honor.” Not only does Trump’s Secretary of Hate nominee hold and propagate anti-Muslim beliefs, but he welcomes publicizing and even celebrating them.
Beyond his active participation at ACT events and close professional relationship with the organization, Pompeo maintains close relationships with the nation’s most virulent anti-Muslim activists: ACT’s founder, Brigitte Gabriel, and Frank Gaffney. Gaffney has publicly implied all Muslims engage in jihad and the only varying factor is the level of overt violence associated with it, claiming some Muslims simply just stick to the “civilizational” or “stealthy” kinds.
A man who gleefully wears his anti-Muslim beliefs as a badge of honor must not be charged with implementing much of the administration’s Muslim ban.
Without Pompeo’s assistance, Trump has already managed to separate families and loved ones, indefinitely. In our lawsuit against the Muslim ban, IAAB v. Trump, one of the plaintiffs is a 79-year-old woman who uses a wheelchair and desperately wants her son to come to the United States to help take care of her. Even though his visa was approved over seven years ago, the latest ban iteration stopped the visa from being officially issued.
As she has explained, “My son is now by himself in Iran, and he wants to come join us here in the United States. I also very much want and need him to be here. I am 79 years old, and as a result of several health issues, am now wheelchair-bound. My husband is 90 years old. He has problems with balance and falls if he walks by himself. It is very difficult for my other son to take care of us by himself, and very hard for us to get around or meet our own needs. Ever since I found out about the Proclamation, I have been extremely anxious, sad, and worried. I am afraid that I will never be able to see my son. I am afraid that he will not be able to come and be with his elderly parents. This causes me great pain and suffering on a daily basis.”
This is but a small sampling of Pompeo’s career of bigotry. Based on his track record, his thought process and policies as Secretary of State would inevitably bypass tact and diplomacy and run straight towards bigotry and discrimination. When presented with his full record, Senators, and any American who cares about religious freedom, should be very deeply disturbed by this nomination.
Armed with anti-Muslim zealot Pompeo as Secretary of Hate, Trump’s Muslim ban would be thrown into even higher gear.
Pompeo has proven to every senator and every American that he has no place in the Cabinet. His confirmation is a threat to security for all Americans, and several steps backward for American Muslims, who have lived in heightened fear through the duration of this Administration and are under imminent threat of normalized discrimination under an openly anti-Muslim Secretary of State.
This man has no place at the State Department and the Senate can do something about it. Senators, please stop Pompeo.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.