The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) condemns the increased xenophobic and anti-Muslim discourse and violence that has taken place in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino tragedies. These messages and acts of fear fly in the face of the principles and values of this nation of immigrants and harken back to other historical injustices, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Japanese Internment. The Chinese Exclusion Act, which prevented Chinese laborers from entering the United States under penalty of imprisonment and deportation, is a dark chapter in our nation’s immigration policies. Similarly, the Japanese Internment during World War II, which resulted in the mass incarceration of Japanese American and other Asian American families, reminds us that we must be vigilant in protecting civil liberties against unjust threats in times of crisis. Such intolerance has no place today’s world, especially here in the United States.
As one of the largest Asian American Pacific Islander bar associations in the United States and one of the largest minority bar associations in California, we believe it is our duty to stand up against xenophobia. We reject efforts to exploit the tragedies in Paris and San Bernardino to justify acts based on fear and intolerance. Through the lens of our unique historical perspective, we have learned that such actions serve to betray our American values and ideals.
Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. The principle of religious freedom was written into our nation’s founding documents in part to prevent the persecution of religious minorities. We urge our nation’s leaders to reject anti-Muslim speech and Islamophobia, and to ensure that Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) Americans are respected as part of our nation.
AABA further calls on its members to speak out against instances of scapegoating and intimidation against AMEMSA community members. In partnership with the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, we ask you to report instances of hate crimes or Islamophobic attacks to firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can be connected to the appropriate service providers.
For more information, contact AABA at email@example.com.
AABA has a long history of active involvement in civil rights issues and community service, and is dedicated to fostering the exchange of ideas and information among its members and the public. AABA is one of the largest local Asian American bar associations in the country, and counts lawyers, judges, law students, and community leaders among its members, representing the entire spectrum of political, social, and legal concerns in the San Francisco Bay Area.