The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, NAAPIMHA, joins its fellow National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) organizations and countless others who are united in the fight against rising anti-Muslim hate. Recent events give those who are at best ignorant and more often than not, those who hold racist and bigoted ideology, an excuse to act against Muslim, Sikh, Arab and South Asian American communities. To take action against an entire group of people in the guise of “protecting this country” and claims of patriotism actually work against the very values of what this country should stand for.
Negative rhetoric only serves to create an atmosphere of intolerance resulting in increased acts of violence, both physical and emotional. No community should have to worry about their safety, wonder if they are being viewed with suspicion, fear that their children will be taunted and called names or worse. Unfortunately, this is not the first time an Asian American community has been singled out for racist actions. One of the most infamous pieces of legislation passed in this country, which was later deemed to be unconstitutional, was Executive Order 9066. It forcibly removed 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated them in detention camps on US soil. It reflected the historical anti-Asian sentiment which sadly persists to this day.
A call for similar action against the Muslim, Sikh, Arab and South Asian American communities was raised within hours of the attacks on 9/11 and is once again rearing its ugly head in light of recent events. There is no question that what happened in Paris and San Bernadino was tragic and cannot be allowed to happen again but to think that banning all Muslims from entering this country or taking similar action is the answer is not only short sighted and ill informed, it also fans the flame of hatred which only makes the situation worse.
It is imperative that each of us works to find realistic and credible solutions, not simple platitudes that only serve those who truly do not respect nor value the diversity that adds so much to this country. If we do not defend the rights of others, we only serve to erode the rights for all.