Muslim Advocates Testifies at First Ever Muslim Ban Congressional Hearing

American Muslim Civil Rights Leader, Muslim Ban Victim Speak Out Against Trump’s Muslim Ban, Urge Support of NO BAN Act

WASHINGTON, DC — On Tuesday, Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera and Ismail Alghazali testified at the first ever hearing held by Congress on President Trump’s Muslim Ban. Because of the Muslim Ban, countless people like Alghazali remain needlessly separated from their families. The historic hearing took place more than two-and-a-half years after the ban was first enacted and more than a year after the policy was shamefully rubber-stamped by the Supreme Court.

The hearing, jointly chaired by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship and Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, was a rare showcase of American Muslim voices in Congress and was one of the very few held about the civil rights of the community. It was also an opportunity to urge Congress to pass the NO BAN Act (H.R. 2214/S. 1123), a bill supported by 170 House co-sponsors, more than 400 organizations and several leading corporations that would end the Muslim Ban and fix our immigration laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of religion.

Farhana Khera and Muslim Advocates have played a leading role in developing the NO BAN Act. Muslim Advocates is also co-counsel on Emami v. Nielsen, a major and ongoing class action lawsuit challenging the Muslim Ban. At the hearing, she noted that Trump’s Muslim Ban is part of a long, shameful history of government oppression of disadvantaged groups:

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 12.43.41 PM“The Muslim Ban is the result of a campaign to demonize and dehumanize Muslims, evoking dark chapters from our nation’s history,” said Khera. “The story of immigrant Jews, Irish, Italians.  The stain of Japanese internment camps. Each of these groups was shunned and isolated for their ‘otherness.’ But America prevailed when these groups stopped being seen as outsiders, and started being seen as neighbors.”

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 12.52.01 PMIsmail Alghazali is a U.S. citizen who works in a bodega in Brooklyn while his Yemeni wife and two young children are trapped halfway around the world in Yemen. He is also a plaintiff in Emami v. Nielsen. At the hearing, he told Congress how the Muslim Ban has harmed his family and thousands of other families like his:

“I do not have words to describe my love for my wife and my kids,” Ismail told the committees. “It hurts me so much that it’s now been more than a year since I’ve seen my family. Hend, Khaled, Rahf and I—we’re separated from each other by thousands of miles because of President Trump’s Muslim Ban.”

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Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.