We can only imagine the number of rioters that would have been killed by the Capitol police had hundreds of Black men and women, many wearing helmets and carrying shields, stormed the U.S. Capitol Building, smashed windows and looted, and trashed the office of the Speaker of the House. Or if the rioters had been American Muslims, how many would have been shot by the police while Islamophobic commentators proclaimed the attack on the Capitol Building a “jihad” whose aim was to turn the United States into a “caliphate” governed by “Shariah” law?
In actuality, many voices in the American Muslim, civil rights, and progressive communities, and particularly at CAIR, had been warning for years about the danger to American democracy from far-right extremists. One would have hoped that after the 2015 massacre at the AME Church in Charleston, at which nine African Americans were killed, or after the 2018 massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, both by white supremacists, that our warnings would be taken seriously. Instead, conservative, pro-Israel commentators, and internet conspiracy theorists continue to falsely describe CAIR as a pro-terrorist organization, while arguing that the nonviolent BDS movement (whose aim is to economically pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian lands) is fundamentally anti-Semitic and an existential threat to the Jewish People. It is not. It is a quest for justice.
Ironically, the real threat to American democracy was on full display yesterday, as it is woven into the very fabric of this nation by the “peculiar institution” of chattel slavery and buttressed and justified by the ideology of white supremacy. As President Lincoln wrote: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Make no mistake, those moved to storm the Capitol Building, by none less than the President of the United States, were citizens of the United States with fundamentally differing views on what America is and should be, willing to risk life and limb to protect the privilege they believe they possess over their fellow citizens.
I am still shattered by the thought that over 74 million Americans voted for a man so unfit for public office, let alone the presidency, and so sad to know that a small but not insignificant number of American Muslims voted for a man so inimically opposed to their own interests and their well-being. Whether it was Trump’s supposed pro-business policies (like lowering taxes on corporations and the well-to-do), or his hypocritical support of “conservative social values” (like his opposition to abortion rights), yesterday’s events were a clarion call that this man should no longer occupy the highest office in the land. Either by impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment, there is till time to hold Donald Trump responsible for his irresponsible actions.