History Repeats Itself with Muslim Registry

By Kareem Ibrahim ‘18

President-elect Donald Trump plans on creating a Muslim registry in his presidency. Highly unconstitutional, this idea goes against the core principle of freedom of religion, which is the basis of the United States.

Several students have expressed their disgust at this system. “Donald Trump can not generalize 1.6 billion Muslims as threats,” said Abiha Naqvi ‘18. “We are entitled to our religion and shouldn’t have to sign something that will make us go through tough security due to our beliefs.”

A Muslim registry isn’t a new idea however. Mr. Trump has had this idea in circulation ever since the high influx of Syrian refugees last year. According to Sabrina Siddiqui from The Guardian on 11/27/16, Mr. Trump said last year that his administration will absolutely implement a Muslim registry. The system that Mr. Trump wants to implement resembles a program that President Bush created, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). This is a system in which people of a certain country, primarily Muslim, would register. Chris Rickerd of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on 5/6/11 says how out of the 93,000 people NSEERS registered from 2001 to its suspension in 2011, not a single one found an actual terrorist. It gave immigrants over the age of 16 a terrible burden. 14,000 people were deported because of this, it was a complete failure. Mr. Trump wants to do this but on a much bigger scale.

Ali Jahmi ‘18 describes that no matter how you phrase the idea of a Muslim registry, it is a bad idea.

Siddiqui wrote how there can be no blanket registration of Muslim immigrants and citizens as that is a clear constitutional violation. But again that raises questions, how would Mr. Trump do it and would he even be able to do it?

The part of the Constitution that would be violated in this system is our first amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. People are allowed to practice what they want however they want; the government has no place in monitoring this type of activity.

“Why are we being targeted?” said MD Hamim ‘18, “If he could do this then he could do this to anyone like Jewish or Christian people.”

The thing is, there has been a time when the United States had forcefully implemented something similar besides NSEERS, Japanese discrimination during World War II. One of the biggest failures ever to happen in history, Japanese relocation has been estimated by The History Channel to have forcefully relocated 120,000 Japanese people into internment camps around the country. This is an alarming precedent that shows the power of the government. Japanese internment was due to United States believing that they were in real danger at the time, so who knows if Mr. Trump won’t follow the same excuse.  Subsequently in 1988 the families were paid $20,000 by the United States government because internment was viewed as unconstitutional.

“In my opinion I think he is attacking specific demographic for no reason,” said Mohammad Ishtiaq ‘17 “He does not check his facts before he makes a lot of his claims. He is in my opinion going off his own intuition and not looking at things in the long run.”

A well-known example of a government attacking a specific demographic was in Nazi-controlled Germany. Germany targeted its Jewish demographic by handing out religious surveys prior to the Holocaust–the massive massacre of Jewish people in Germany. As dramatic as this may sound, a government decided to attack one specific group by first identifying them, then going after them. Mr. Trump’s idea is no different.

What is sad is that this is just another act in order to restrict the freedoms of Muslim-Americans. The Patriot Act is a nationwide act that allows the government to investigate private citizens, again, mainly Muslims, if they are suspected to be terrorists. According to the ACLU, the government can issue a National Security Letter (NSL) that allows the access to an individual’s personal information without approval by a judge.

Deborah C. England of legal advice website NOLO states how the NYPD makes use of the Patriot Act to monitor several mosques, in and out of state lines. England also states how the Chief of the NYPD Intelligence Division in 2012 said that no actual crime leads from these monitorings have occurred.

Mr. Trump’s idea of a Muslim registry is ridiculous and invades several of the rights that we all hold dear. It doesn’t make sense to discriminate against Muslims and it just adds on to the excessive control the government has been assuming. A Muslim registry is in all aspects absolute nonsense.

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