FCNL's lobbyist on Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Yasmine Taeb, spoke with Politico about the need to continue supporting our refugee resettlement program after the arrest of two refugees in California and Texas prompted some members of Congress to call for fast-tracking anti-refugee legislation.
Hate speech and Islamophobia are fanning the flames of anti-Muslim violence across the United States. Hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. are at an all-time high, and people of Middle Eastern descent or perceived as Muslim -- regardless of their actual religion -- are also facing persecution.
The United States has a rich history of defending and protecting its founding principle of religious freedom. Those who seek to undermine it do so with the aim of scoring cheap political points. But their demagoguery has real consequences: both for the livelihoods of millions of Americans and for democracy itself.
More than one hundred members of Congress joined a letter led by Reps. Juan Vargas, David Cicilline, and Bill Pascrell to the House Appropriations Committee calling for an increase in funding for refugee assistance and resettlement programs in the FY2016 budget.
On December 7, 2015, more than eighty members of Congress joined a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan opposing anti-refugee riders in the omnibus spending bill. The letter was led by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Janice Hahn (D-CA), and Scott Peters (D-CA).
One year ago, FCNL staff were wrapping up a vibrant Annual Meeting, spirits high after being surrounded by over 400 Quakers and advocates who sought to have public policy match up with Quaker values. During the opening plenary session on November 20, 2014, President Obama simultaneously announced his plan to help immigrant families in need, in the absence of congressional action.
How do we respond to fear with the power of Love? How do we get beyond the rhetoric and hate speech to act in a way that starts to transform us and our neighbors? How do we live our faith through action?
The temptation to react to violence with fear and more violence is strong. The recent terror attacks in Paris and Beirut are tragic and demand a response. But a response based on fear will not lead to security or peace. A response based on fear can lead to the sacrifice of the very freedoms we cherish.