Speaking Out Against the Muslim Ban

This speech was given by Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a founding member of the Anti-War Committee, on January 31, 2017 at our protest against the Muslim ban and Trump’s anti-immigrant executive orders in front of the Minneapolis Federal Building.

Thank everyone for coming out today!  It is critical that we are here today outside the Federal Building to voice our opposition to this round of executive orders from the Trump administration.  Both the order to build a wall on the US Mexican border and to block entry to the US from 7 Muslim majority countries are attempts at promoting the politics of fear and racism.  But we are here tonight to show that we will not comply!  We will not be quiet!  We will not let our immigrant sisters and brothers be demonized and deported!

The Anti-War Committee, which called today’s protest, was founded to protest the US sanctions on Iraq in 1998 and we have been working to end US warfare ever since.  We know that attacks against Arabs and Muslims – both at home and abroad – aren’t new.  Unfortunately these communities have been facing increasing government repression and war since 9/11 under both Democratic and Republican administrations, but Trump has taken this to a new level.  He has inspired racist attacks, he is trying to normalize hate speech, and in only 1 week as president he has already divided families.

Some people have pointed out majority Muslim countries that have not been affected and have implied or argued that it should apply to them too.  But NO we need to question the idea of banning people from the US based on their religion or country of origin – period.

It is particularly offensive that the 7 countries that have been picked for the Muslim ban are all countries that have been affected by US warfare.  Trump has said that this ban is to protect the US from attack by Islamic radical extremists but that is just a pretext.  Our country has created the destabilized and unsafe areas that these very refugees want to flee and now Trump is closing the door to them.  At the same time Trump has called for his generals to deliver him new plans for how to escalate the US war efforts in Iraq and Syria.  He is considering a massive bombing campaign and even ground troops.  So at the very same time that the US is closing the door they will also be pouring gasoline on a fire in the Middle East.

It is obvious that one of the strategies of Bannon and Trump is to overwhelm us by issuing repressive order after order, but we have stood up in a monumental way since day 1 of his inauguration!  We have had major protests in Mpls, in St. Paul, and at the airport in just one 1 week.  We have not been silent and we need to keep the pressure up.  We need to make this country ungovernable for the Trump administration!  I call on everyone here to do what you can whether that’s going to as many protests as you can handle, making calls every week, or challenging your racist family member who voted for Trump – but we need to keep going.  You are all invited to meet with us – the Anti-War Committee – we meet on Thursdays at 4200 Cedar Ave. in Minneapolis if you want to continue organizing against war and anti-Muslim bigotry!