President Donald Trump signed a new executive order on refugees and immigration on Monday, signaling a significant step back from earlier policies accused of being Islamophobic and potentially illegal.
The new order no longer lists Iraq among the countries on the travel ban, applies only to non-visa holders (anyone with a valid or multi-entry visa is exempt from the new order) and doesn't refer to exemptions for religious minorities, as the original order did.
Despite the changes, many Muslims and activists warned that the new order maintains an overall bias against Islam that was a cornerstone of Trump’s presidential campaign and has persisted into his administration.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a major Muslim advocacy organization, isn’t waiting to see how the negative rhetoric plays out. On Monday, the group launched a website where concerned Americans can sign up to join a movement combating Islamophobia.
The website, called Registermefirst.com, refers to proposals that have been floated on the campaign trail and in Trump’s administration to require that Muslims be entered into a registry. Shortly after Trump was elected president, #RegisterMeFirst started trending on social media as Americans took a preemptive stand against the discriminatory policy.
The order Trump signed on Monday makes no reference to a Muslim registry, but it’s a possibility Muslims and social justice activists aren’t ruling out.
The executive orders on refugees ― though not the “total and complete” Muslim ban Trump once promised ― are evidence of the president “implementing his promises from the campaign trail,” Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s anti-Islamophobia department, told The Huffington Post on Monday.
“So our operating assumption is this won’t be something that says ‘Muslim registry,’ but it’ll aim to do that anyway,” Saylor said.
Registermefirst.com will get Americans involved in efforts to combat Islamophobia, whether or not the registry ever comes to be. People who sign up will receive regular alerts from CAIR inviting them to participate in collective actions to promote religious freedom and civil rights, Saylor told HuffPost. There will also be merchandise available for purchase, as well as social media call outs for people to tweet to their senators and representatives.
“It’s an attempt to help people go from being individuals to being part of a movement,” Saylor said.
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