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JACL Speaks Out Against Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes and Discrimination

By JACL National Staff

More than 60 leaders from the Asian American community gathered at the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 16 to counter recent political rhetoric and express support for Muslim, Sikh, Arab and South Asian American communities. The Japanese American Citizens League also joined a number of AAPI organizations from the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) to speak out against anti-Muslim hate crimes and discrimination.

“Fear-based persecution of American Muslims and those who are perceived to be Muslim cannot be tolerated,” said Priscilla Ouchida, JACL executive director.

Last year, NCAPA member organization South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) published a report on growing xenophobic political rhetoric and hate violence, which included data and recommendations concerning the hostility against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern and Arab communities. After senseless terrorist attacks last month in Paris, hateful rhetoric and bigotry against American Muslims has been on the rise. In a 30-day period following the attacks in Paris, more than 45 acts of persecution occurred against American Muslims.

JACL National President David Lin was the lead speaker at the rally, and he emphasized that policies that imprisoned 120,000 Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor should not be repeated. He continued to say that JACL stands with the Muslim, Sikh, Arab and South Asian American communities because Japanese Americans have been here before.

Also in attendance from JACL were past National President Larry Oda and his wife, Ann; Washington, D.C., Chapter President John Tobe; Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida; D.C. Fellows Merisa Nakamura and Emil Trinidad; and Ron Mori and Amy Watanabe.

“Never again” was the message delivered by JACL and leaders from NCAPA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, National Asian Pacific American Bar Assn., National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, South Asian Americans Leading Together and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.