Hateful Rhetoric Contributes to Violence, Harms National Security

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By Marc Morial
President & CEO, National Urban League


In the last month, there have been two dozen anti-Muslim attacks in the United States, ranging from a cabdriver shot in Pittsburgh to the deliberate torching of a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks, N.D. The owner of a food market in Queens was beaten by a customer who vowed to “kill Muslims.” Threats, vandalism and discrimination are rampant.

Donald Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the country, even U.S. citizens, is breathtaking in its bigotry. To exclude any group based on religion or ethnicity is an anathema to American ideals. It not only violates our Constitution, but our shared sense of decency.

As far back as June the National Urban League called upon all Presidential candidates to refrain from divisive language and hate speech. It’s clear that call has not been heeded by every candidate, and there can be no denying that such rhetoric has contributed to the atmosphere of hostility that leads to acts of violence.

We also abhor and condemn senseless acts of terrorism, which are in themselves their own insidious brand of hate-inspired violence.

The violence and hostility are not limited to Muslims – hate crimes motivated by religion, race and sexual orientation remain all-too common. This hatred – and fear – is corrosive and cannot be tolerated.

Religious and racial bigotry are not core American values. In fact, such bigotry is more than unpatriotic; experts agree that anti-Muslim rhetoric contributes to radicalization and recruitment by jihadist groups.

Politicians appealing to voters’ basest instincts is nothing new. But the level of vitriol may be unprecedented in modern American politics. Sadly, comparisons to the rise of Adolph Hitler are no longer hyperbolic in this case.

This ugliness must stop. It’s dangerous not only for our Muslim brothers and sisters, but all people as well as our national security. We call on those engaged in such rhetoric to reconsider the consequences of their reckless spew. We call upon all Americans, especially the Presidential candidates, to denounce bigotry and work for greater understanding among cultures and peace.

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