So if a white American from say, Arkansas wanted to sign up for the NSEERS program, what do you think the reaction would have been from any official? Or if they landed at JFK and went off to Special Registration and said, “I’m Muslim, register me?”
I’m not speaking to any legitimate Muslim of any color but to the non-Muslims in America who say they’ll “register” as Muslim in protest. It just won’t work that way. They’ve been collecting enough information over the last fifteen years already to know. You will wake up one morning to a letter or an email telling you that you’re being summoned for registration, if you aren’t already on their database. The NSA has been logging your digital communications, text messages, and social media presence enough to know who’s who by now.
In all of Europe, for centuries town halls had records of people’s births, deaths, parentage, residences and offices. That’s what made it so easy for the Nazis to identify Jews. They could look at your parentage and your ancestries and pick out your one Jewish great-grandmother and declare you a Jew.
Again, the fact that they’re going to couch this in terms of nationality rather than religion means that it *IS* about Muslims of a certain color/race/origin. There’s no other way to look at it given the context of the campaign, the people involved in the Trump camp, and the advisors and cabinet he’s in the process of choosing.
So to my well-meaning non-Muslim American friends, I would say that you’re better off organizing (the hard, invisible work of lobby, as a friend puts it) and campaigning on existing platforms of dissent rather than making promises about registering for a program that in large part already exists and isn’t interested in you.
Heed these wise words from Ayesha Siddiqui, writer and editor at Viceland:
We already have Muslim registries, what do you think the no-fly list is ? There are four year olds on it and both Trump and Hillary support it, as do most democrats and white liberals. We already have surveillance of Muslim communities, FBI informants in mosques and student groups, have had for years. The federal government has been violating Muslim-Americans’ civil rights for years.
Trump and his platform are the natural predictable conclusion to the state and media attitudes towards Muslims over the last decade. You’re worried about a future that’s already here, just didn’t touch you yet. It wasn’t branded in opposition to your “good liberal values”. So when you say “we” can’t risk “normalizing” what the future threatens, please don’t simultaneously endorse the present.
Here’s an article from Vox that explains how the proposed Muslim “registry” will actually work.
I love you for wanting to do this, though. It shows that you still care about fairness, about justice, and about equality. Those are the qualities that make America great, not some promises from a would-be autocrat with a gold penthouse.