Trump protests

Who Is Behind The Trump ‘Muslim Ban’ Protests? More About The Controversial Islamic Group

A series of protests have been launched across the nation in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to temporarily bar individuals from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Sudan from entering the United States until they can go through “extreme vetting” while also halting all refugees from those countries from entering the U.S. until further notice. Protests have taken place at JFK airport in New York and in downtown Boston with thousands in attendance; however, who is behind the protests and how are they rallying so many people so quickly?

First, we must understand what the protests are about. Those attending the protests call the Trump travel ban unconstitutional and label it as a “Muslim ban.” The outcry against the Muslim discrimination stems from the fact that all seven of the countries identified in the order are majority Muslim. However, as the White House has noted, religion is not the determining factor. In fact, Muslims are not banned from entering the country as numerous Muslim-majority countries are still welcome such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt. Trump notes that it is not a move based on religion, but rather identified terrorism threats.

demonstrators hold up placards during a protest outside Downing Street against U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on travel
Protesters in front of 10 Downing Street in London [Image by Jack Taylor/Getty Images]

Despite Trump’s claims, thousands took to JFK airport to voice their concern over the detainment of several individuals from the affected countries and thousands more attended a protest in downtown Boston this afternoon. The efforts were put together by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR. The group used social media to organize the efforts at both JFK and in Boston. Numerous other local CAIR chapters have also been activating locally to put together protests of their own.

So who exactly is CAIR? The organization says their mission is to “enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.” The group has a political department that “is responsible for actively monitoring legislation and government activities that affects Muslims and responding on behalf of the American Muslim community” as well as ensuring that Muslims in the United States know their religious rights. The group also encourages outreach efforts to destigmatize Islam in America.

However, things for CAIR have not always been so straightforward. Back in 2004, CAIR was listed as a unindicted “co-conspirator” in a Hamas-funding operation. A report in the National Review details the checkered past of some of CAIR’s members as well as the Hamas-funding claims. The group admits on its disinformation page that some of its past members have been arrested and been involved in terrorism-related incidents in the past, but says that it is unfair to lump them in with these individuals as they have hundreds of employees and thousands of supporters.

“The short answer to this is guilt by association. CAIR has hundreds of board members and employees and thousands of supporters. It would be illogical and unfair to hold CAIR responsible for the personal activities of all these people.”

President Donald Trump holds up one of the executive actions that he signed in the Oval Office
President Donald Trump holds up one of the executive actions that he signed in the Oval Office [Image by Pete Marovich/UPI/Getty Images]

As Fox News reported, CAIR’s issues do not end in the U.S. The organization was labeled “a terrorist organization” in the United Arab Emirates for being a “major Brotherhood affiliate.” Despite all the controversy, it seems that the group is having no problem organizing anti-Trump immigration policy efforts across the country.

A list of upcoming events can be found on the CAIR website and through their local affiliate branches. In addition to the Trump-related protests, the group is also promoting World Hijab Day and is encouraging American non-Muslim women to wear a hijab or headscarf on February 1, 2017, as a sign of solidarity with Muslim women. The hijab effort was noted as a move to promote “awareness, understanding, and women’s rights.”

What do you think about the fact that the “Muslim ban” protests are being organized by the controversial group CAIR?

[Featured Image by Elaine Thompson/AP Images]

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