Nearly 300 American Muslims, from high-profile leaders to imams across the country, have signed an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump asking him to take concrete steps to assure them the community will be protected under his administration.
“As our President-Elect, one of your duties is to ensure our collective safety and security,” the letter reads, noting the 67% uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes reported by the FBI in 2015. “We call on you to make mutual respect and acceptance a hallmark of your presidency.”
Tensions have run high in the wake of the election, which was already marked by harsh rhetoric aimed at Muslims and immigrants. The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 867 incidents of harassment or intimidation 10 days after the election, about 6% of which were aimed at Muslims. The group also expressed concern about some proposals that have been floated by Trump’s transition aides, including a Muslim registry.
“We call on you to appoint individuals who have a demonstrated commitment to serving and defending the Constitutional rights of all Americans,” the letter reads. Without naming names, the letter says it is “deeply concerning” that individuals who have “a well documented history of outright bigotry directed at Muslims or advocating that Muslims should not have the same rights as their fellow Americans” are being named to the administration. “We urge you to reconsider and reject such candidates,” the group wrote.
Among the letter’s signatories Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer who has advocated for the release of Serial subject Adnan Syed; former NFL player Husain Abdullah; and Gold Star father Khizr Khan.