I signed the Veterans Challenge Islamophobia statement because, as a military veteran with a profound commitment to the causes of civil and human rights, I felt a special responsibility to speak out against anti-Muslim rhetoric and other forms prejudice, racism and hatred expressed toward Muslims.
Islamophobia has resulted in discrimination, marginalization and oppression of Muslims Americans here at home and of Muslim immigrants and refugees abroad. The United States is a pluralistic nation, in which most of its citizens and residents believe in the tenets of religious tolerance and diversity and operate by the Golden Rule principle. Tragically, however, there are those in our society who stoke irrational fear of Islamic faith and its practitioners, and operate according to a distorted understanding of the faith. Many times, they seek to dehumanize Muslims in order to advance a xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda.
This fear-mongering has led to violence against the Muslim American community, which increased substantially after the September 11 attacks, has remained high in the years since, and rose back to near post-9/11 levels during the presidential campaign and subsequent election of Donald Trump. I also signed the statement because I believe in seeking justice for the victims of war, which include many millions of Muslims globally.
Islamophobia is un-American and unacceptable. I implore all veterans and people of conscience to condemn and confront hate, counter Islamophobia, and resist attempts by members of our society to induce and incite religious and racial animosity. It is up to all of us to stop Islamophobia. Muslims are our neighbors, and they deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and love. Hate is the enemy, not Islam.
— Brian Trautman
Board Treasurer, Veterans For Peace