WASHINGTON, DC — On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said last week that accepting Afghan refugees means that the U.S. will “have terrorists coming across the border.” The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Senior Communications Manager Eric Naing:
“Kevin McCarthy summoned one of the most harmful, anti-Muslim stereotypes to attack people who are fleeing for their lives. As a leader of his party, McCarthy is sending a dangerous message to other public figures that it is okay and even good politics to smear Afghan refugees as terrorists. This craven, white nationalist rhetoric directly threatens the safety of Afghan refugees who are being resettled in neighborhoods across the nation, as well as the safety of all American Muslims and immigrants.
This kind of Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric leads to real violence. Just after 9/11, anti-Muslim hate crimes skyrocketed with American Muslims and people just perceived to be Muslim being assaulted and even gunned down after falsely being called terrorists. Years later, anti-Muslim hate crimes rose once again around 2016 when Donald Trump promoted the anti-Muslim birther conspiracy and ran for president on a pledge to ban Muslims.
People who just fled violence shouldn’t have to arrive at a new home where politicians and their supporters are calling them terrorists. These refugees, who in reality must go through extensive and thorough background checks, deserve our support and empathy. This is not a time for hate. This moment is an opportunity to embrace our deepest and most essential American values. This is the time to live up to our reputation, to our ideals and to our proud traditions of inclusiveness by welcoming people in need.”
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.