WASHINGTON, DC – Today four Iranian American organizations released the following statement following a series of violent incidents that have recently taken place with the intention to target Americans of Iranian descent.
- In the Kansas bar shooting last week that took the life of one man of Indian descent and seriously injured two others, the assailant has allegedly declared his intention to shoot “Iranians.” He had reportedly told the two Indian men he was targeting, who he thought were Iranian, “Get out of my country,” before he opened fire.
- In another incident, an Iranian American woman reported vandalism outside her San Francisco apartment in the form of spray painted swastikas and reference to the infamous Nazi doctor, Mengele, known as the “Angel of death.”
- These and other incidents are part of a larger pattern of recent hate crimes against actual or perceived Muslims in the U.S., such as “obscene and hateful graffiti” on the outside walls of an Islamic Center (the Tarbiya Institute) in Roseville, California; or a fire set to a mosque in Victoria, Texas.
As Iranian American organizations, we have been sounding the alarm on the divisive rhetoric against immigrants, spurred by the harmful and discriminatory effects of the Trump Administration’s Executive Order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries – including Iran – from entering the United States.
We are deeply disturbed by a series of violent incidents that have recently taken place with the intention to target Americans of Iranian descent. These types of crimes do not target individuals but entire communities and our core national values. When violence and xenophobia is accepted, and encouraged, in the name of national security, it should be no surprise that some people will go out and express their views violently.
We call on all elected officials and law enforcement personnel at all levels of government to ensure that the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Iranian Americans, are fully protected. We encourage Iranian Americans to share their experiences with local, State, and Federal elected officials as well as others in their community to end stereotypes, correct misconceptions, and convey instances of abuse.
All four of our organizations have filed a lawsuit in Federal court in Washington, D.C. to stop the travel ban and its negative impacts on the immigrant population in the United States – “Pars Equality v. Donald J. Trump et al.” For more information, go to endthetravelban.com