Statement of Brian Levin, on Behalf of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism
Regarding Executive Order of Jan. 27, 2017 on Entry of Non-Citizens to the U.S.
The non-partisan Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism steadfastly
opposes President Donald Trump's discriminatory and mechanistic Executive Order of Friday, January 27, 2017, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Order places immediate prohibitions and restrictions upon vulnerable people of the Muslim faith from various nations to enter the United States.
Future generations will judge us harshly for the abandonment of the principles embraced by both this special day and America's unique place in the history of the world. As George Washington wrote to a Rhode Island Jewish congregation in 1790:
"For happily, the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance..."
Among the most distressing exclusions in President Trump's order are those of screened Syrian refugees who are in peril of their very lives. If America is going to live up to its foundational ideals, we cannot simply shun the rescue of a tiny portion of mankind's most helpless children from death in the fiery hell on Earth that they so desperately flee, irrespective of the faith they embrace.
Our research and that of others establish that these restrictions do not proportionately correspond to the actual threat and history of fatal terrorist attacks against our homeland, including those against our community; nor do they uphold the values of equality and religious pluralism that are the cornerstone of our national ideals.
As a new Duke University report concluded:
Few of these individuals (9 of 46, or 20 percent) had family backgrounds from the seven countries reportedly designated by the Trump administration for temporary immigration bans. Since 9/11, only 23 percent of Muslim-Americans involved with violent extremist plots had family backgrounds in these seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somali, Sudan, Syria, Yemen). There have been no fatalities in the United States caused by extremists with family backgrounds in these countries
Our Center will continue to devote every resource, not only to the promulgation of thoughtful responses to extremist violence, but to solid opposition to those that discriminate and risk the lives of the voiceless. Through wholly peaceful and just efforts with our partners around the nation we will endeavor be that voice.
At this time of Holocaust remembrance and religious division, the counsel of a Judaic scholar has universal merit for citizens and leaders alike:
If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it,
then you have found a piece of the world that G‑d has left for you to complete.
But if you only see what is wrong and how ugly it is,
then it is you yourself that needs repair.
Brian Levin, JD
Professor of Criminal Justice and Director
Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism
California State University, San Bernardino
January 27, 2017