Sunday, February 26, 2017
Travel Ban Claims A Muslim
Muslim White House staffer quits, slamming Trump’s travel ban
A Muslim staffer on the National Security Council quit eight days into the Trump administration, citing President Trump’s travel ban as the motivating factor in a personal account published Thursday by The Atlantic.
Rumana Ahmed joined the White House in 2011 and said she decided to stay on with the Trump administration in the hope of giving “the new president and his aides, a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America's Muslim citizens.”
“Like most of my fellow American Muslims, I spent much of 2016 watching with consternation as Donald Trump vilified our community. Despite this — or because of it — I thought I should try to stay on the NSC staff during the Trump Administration,” Ahmed wrote.
But she lasted just eight days, ultimately motivated to quit after the president signed an executive order on Jan. 27 temporarily banning travelers from seven predominately Muslim countries and halting entrance of all Syrian refugees. Enforcement of the order has been halted while legal challenges play out in court, and the administration is expected to release a revamped version in the coming days.
“I knew I could no longer stay and work for an administration that saw me and people like me not as fellow citizens, but as a threat,” Ahmed wrote.
She said the administration’s treatment of Muslims would fuel the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by legitimizing its propaganda.
“The Administration’s plans to revamp the Countering Violent Extremism program to focus solely on Muslims and use terms like 'radical Islamic terror,' legitimize ISIS propaganda and allow the dangerous rise of white-supremacist extremism to go unchecked,” Ahmed wrote.
She also suggested national security officials have little sway in the new administration.
“The entire presidential support structure of nonpartisan national security and legal experts within the White House complex and across federal agencies was being undermined. Decision-making authority was now centralized to a few in the West Wing,” Ahmed added.
In her piece, Ahmed described telling senior NSC communications adviser Michael Anton her reasons for quitting.
“I told him I had to leave because it was an insult walking into this country’s most historic building every day under an administration that is working against and vilifying everything I stand for as an American and as a Muslim,” Ahmed wrote.
“He looked at me and said nothing,” she continued. “It was only later that I learned he authored an essay under a pseudonym, extolling the virtues of authoritarianism and attacking diversity as a 'weakness,' and Islam as 'incompatible with the modern West.'”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In Ahmed’s account, she described in detail her parents’ immigration to the U.S., and the challenges she faced growing up in the U.S. after 9/11, when people heckled by calling her a “terrorist.”
Inspired by then-President Barack Obama, Ahmed began working for the White House after she graduated from college, working her way onto the National Security Council.