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Friday, February 03, 2017

KHURRUM WAHID EDITORIAL IN MIAMI HERALD TODAY

Khurrum Wahid is a criminal defense. He is also of middle east origin of some sort- we don't know because we've never asked him just like he's never asked us if we were born in Chicago, or Detroit, or San Francisco. It really doesn't matter. We don't know his religion. He might be a Muslim. He might be Christian or a Jew or a Druid. It's never come up in conversation because his religion matters not one whit to jurors and his superior abilities as a great lawyer. He wrote an Op/Ed piece that is in the Herald today:


History has a funny way of daring us to forget its greatest lessons. If we pause to listen to the rhythm, we can hear clearly the repeating beat. President Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order, in the name of “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States” was history’s drum beat thundering to us all.
The tune rung of Japanese internment, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, the Patriot Act and every other beat determined to tear us away from our founding ideals.
Absent engagement and civil resistance, we would see a gruesome symphony start to play through the halls of our democracy. Within 12 hours of the executive order banning travel for people from from seven majority-Muslim nations, I was inundated with texts from people who knew concerned family members and were waiting at airports without any idea if their relatives were coming out.
Along with a swarm of attorneys across the nation, I helped find people representation. While on my way to Miami International Airport on Sunday morning, prepared to assist, I heard about Maysam Sodagari, a young Iranian man who was on a gay cruise and, with immigration attorney Saman Movassaghi and OutMiami’s Director Jaime Bayo, sought his release.
Sodagari holds a green card. Acquiring one is a multi-year process of extreme vetting. Yet he had been taken in for a secondary inspection at the Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Sodagari was released, but without individualized suspicion he should not have been detained at all. His crime was being born in Iran. Sodagari’s fear that day is the same fear of millions within our borders, ranging from undocumented children who currently have the protection of the law under DACA to U.S. citizens from majority-Muslim nations.
As we enter Black History Month, we celebrate those who did the right thing even when it was against the law and we reflect on the impact of our current movements. We read from the teaching of leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who told us that, “The arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice.” This arc, however, cannot bend itself. History will judge us harshly if we do grab and bend that arc toward justice ourselves.
Each of us has a role to play. Each of us has a unique talent we can leverage to ensure that policies are moral and just. What happens to one of us, happens to all of us. Right now, about 50 percent of people support a Muslim ban. But popular opinion is not a sound basis for policy. Recently, a travel ban on those seven countries strikes at the worst of our shared values. In the current climate, the LGBTQ community, women, African Americans, Muslims, Latinos and, broadly, immigrants will likely be the target of a fear-filled policy that challenges the American values of equality and fairness.
Our history is filled with government by fear, and we must ensure that our future is not darkened by this cloud. Policies like Trump’s executive order have failed the test of history. We must remember that if the laws are unjust, then it’s up to us to change them.
The reaction to this travel ban proved that many in the public square were actively listening to history’s repeated beat. In the past week, I’ve seen Americans who have lived in the country for generations come out in support of immigrants to whom they have no connection. I have seen attorneys leap into action to preserve the fundamentals of our Constitution. I have watched local community leaders reach out to other communities in solidarity, often for the first time. It is true when they say that every crisis brings an opportunity if we just look for it. In the end, President Trump has united the country, but perhaps not in the way he had intended.
There are three branches of government and we must engage all three: Reach out to legislators and propose better laws; use the courts as the check and balance on the other two branches when it is required; engageand support good executive branch efforts and resisting poorly thought out policy because, yes, resistance is a form of engagement.
KHURRUM WAHID IS A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND NATIONAL CHAIRPERSON FOR EMERGE USA.




Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article130454904.html#storylink=cpy

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

We hear a lot about governance by "fear". It is something we are old, with no sense of irony, that we should fear. We should be terrified of it.

Similarly, we are told that any belief that homosexuality is different from heterosexuality (in any way whatsoever), is homophobia - a fear of it. Islamophobia is the lastest version of this rhetoric. Any conservative policy eventually gets a -phobia attached to it by the media.

After all, who wants to side with the cowards? To be driven by fear, the implication goes, is to be irrational. Good, rational decision making should be made in the absence of fear.

On the one hand, it's amusing to see the Left go all-in on this rhetoric, while at the same time engaging in the hysteria we see from them. Protesters have literally been weeping and shaking in the streets. And we are told, by contributors to this blog among others, that our president is actually Adolf Hitler. A gay Jewish British cultural commentator was recently burned out of UC Berkeley because he is a "Nazi". The Left would mock Trump's immigration policies as being driven by "fear", but are themselves struck to their core (or at least would have us believe they are) by the sheer TERROR of this re-incarnation of Nazi Germany we are living through. Enforcing immigration law will certainly lead to concentration camps!

Beyond that very dumb irony, completely lost on the Left, there is still the fundamental question -- is it so terrible to acknowledge and use fear in rational decision making? Aren't there some things it is, indeed, WISE to be fearful of?

If various polls indicate that double-digit percentages of Syrians seeking refuge in Europe have positive feelings towards ISIS, I would counsel that Europeans ought to be afraid. ISIS and their methods ought to terrify. Our lives and our societies are vulnerable. Each day we drop our children off in the mornings and hope to pick them up in the evenings. We stroll Ocean Drive with no thought that a passing truck will drive over our kids. We (most of us) do not carry guns everywhere, trusting that a visit to the Perez Art Museum won't involve having to shoot a machete wielding lunatic. The prospect of facing those things should inspire fear.

And that fear should guide rational decision making. Maybe, after all, we don't want our Nativity scenes to be run over. Maybe we don't want our train stations to be exploded. Maybe our rock concerts are just fine without massacres.

So as you beat your protest drums (both seeking to inspire fear of Trump/Hitler, and in mockery of the "fear" of Islamic terror), maybe take a minute or two to examine critically the idea of fear.

After all, you don't want to be a coward.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone name one instance where a Muslim cleric has condemned an act of terrorism?

Anonymous said...

What is going in is terrible yet, calamities in the country and the world are even worse requiring some type of response. What exactly that response is may be unattainable, undefinable and indecipherable. While we don't want to resort to ugly history, what is going on in this world is unprecedented. To get protection there is a necessity of giving up some rights and liberties. We used to be on the honor system but that can no longer work. It is so easy to condemn the [obviously malicious] oppressive approach yet to do nothing may be worse. Maybe we just have to make the USA a fortress and limit access.

I do not know what the answer to what to do other than this radical Islamic culture will be a continuing threat, they do not want traditional territories or commodities, they want to disrupt and extinguish our way of life. Their way of life is disgusting and every time I see the public executions or honor killings, I have no empathy for their vile culture. Consequently and quite logically, they need to be eradicated.

They made the move, we are just trying to respond and protect ourselves. Obama's "nice guy" approach did not work...everything became worse. Yea, what Trump has done seems wrong, but what do you do? Nothing? Why shouldn't we be selective, discerning, careful, apprehensive? Posting anonymously allows me to comfortably say, in a non PC manner, that perhaps the world situation has created this ...as opposed to mean politicians ?



Anonymous said...

Never heard of this cat.

Anonymous said...

Khurrum is a great lawyer, and a great guy.

The risk of mass violence by a refugee in this country is statistically determinable, and has been determined to be miniscule. We are not the EU, and our refugee policies are very different. Already. The vetting we presently do for, e.g., Syrian refugees takes 18 months to 2 years.

Nothing has been done by refugees admitted by the Obama administration to warrant more extreme vetting by Trump -- nothing.

We happily, indeed proudly, live by policies (or their absence) that routinely subject us to much more significant risks of mass violence than that presented by admitting thoroughly-vetted muslims from troubled countries.

For example, Trump just rolled back restrictions on access to guns by mentally ill persons. If your support of the muslim ban is motivated by fear of mass violence, then you should be protesting the rollback on access to guns by the mentally ill. Mentally ill people with access to guns account for vastly more mass violence than do thoroughly-vetted muslim refugees from war-torn countries. And no, the perpetrators of 9/11 weren't thoroughly vetted. And weren't from war-torn countries. And wouldn't have been affected by Trump's recent EO.

Fear should be related to empirically-determinable risk. But because we are human beings, we have irrational fears, particularly fear of 'the other.' Trump is exploiting our irrational fears because a fearful populace is easier to control.

Anonymous said...

Fear of the Other is a great distraction from the 30,000 or so US Gun deaths each year.

Anonymous said...

Muslim clerics condemn terrorism.

https://www.google.com/amp/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_566adfa1e4b009377b249dea

Google is your friend.

Anonymous said...

The list of 7 countries comes from Obama and the ones who have reason to fear radical Muslims the most are women and the LGBTQ community.