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LGBT groups condemn Trump plan to ban Muslims from U.S.

LGBT advocacy groups have condemned Donald Trump‘s proposed ban of Muslims from entering the U.S. (Washington Blade photo by Lee Whitman)

LGBT advocacy groups on Tuesday blasted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump over his proposed ban on Muslims from entering the U.S.

“Trump’s comments were offensive, disgraceful and fundamentally un-American,” Brandon Lorenz of the Human Rights Campaign told the Washington Blade in a statement. “Not only that, they’re dangerous and an affront to the values that we as a nation believe in and champion.”

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Rea Carey said her organization “wholeheartedly” condemns and rejects Trump’s “call to stop Muslims from entering the United States.” Immigration Equality Executive Director Caroline Dessert expressed a similar sentiment to the Blade.

“Banning groups of people en masse from the U.S. based on their religion would be both morally reprehensible and terrible policy,” said Dessert. “As we’ve seen from past discriminatory policies — specifically laws aimed at our communities that banned gay people and later people living with HIV from entering the U.S. — the U.S. loses out on talented people, loses its status as a global human rights leader, and gains absolutely nothing in exchange.”

“As a nation built by immigrants, any kind of blanket ban based on religion is simply un-American,” she added.

Trump proposal feeds into ‘ISIS vision of Islam’

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during his daily press briefing that Trump’s proposal “disqualifies him from serving as president.”

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was among the billionaire’s Republican challengers who criticized his proposal. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) did as well, but Earnest criticized the Wisconsin Republican for saying he would still vote for Trump if he were his party’s presidential nominee.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley have all sharply criticized Trump over his proposal.

Tarek Zeidan of Helem, a Lebanese LGBT advocacy group, noted to the Blade on Tuesday during a WhatsApp interview from Beirut that people in his country have reacted to Trump’s proposal with “revulsion.” The advocate further compared the Republican presidential candidate’s controversial comments against Muslims and other groups to the rhetoric of the Islamic State.

“Donald Trump is the other side of the ISIS coin, which feeds on this notion of clashes of civilizations,” Zeidan told the Blade. “There’s us versus them. And if you’re not with us you’re against us.”

“This is exactly what ISIS wants,” he added. “Anything that feeds into this ISIS vision of Islam and the rest isn’t doing anybody any favors.”

Trump made his controversial announcement less than a week after a mass shooting at a California social service center left 14 people dead and more than 20 others injured.

Authorities say that Syed Farook and his Pakistani-born wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire on a holiday party that was taking place inside the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. President Obama on Sunday during a speech from the Oval Office described the shooting as an “act of terrorism.”

The U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 19 voted for a bill that would suspend the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the U.S. ISIS — which controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq — a few days earlier claimed responsibility for the Paris terrorist attacks that left 130 people dead and more than 300 others injured.

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), one of the three out members of Congress who backed the bill, criticized Trump’s proposal.

“Donald Trump’s plan is despicable, un-American, and appeals to the basest fears and bigotry of human nature,” Maloney told the Blade in a statement on Tuesday. “Rather than focusing on such vile proposals we should be focusing on strengthening our visa and immigration system and developing a real strategy to defeat the threat of ISIS and terrorism.”

U.S. Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who also backed the measure that would suspend the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the U.S., did not return the Blade’s request for comment.

Gay California Congressman Mark Takano on Tuesday noted in response to Trump’s proposal that his parents were among those sent to internment camps during World War II.

Zeidan noted to the Blade that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are among the Republican presidential candidates who have also made controversial statements about the resettlement of Syrian and Muslim refugees in the U.S.

“Trump didn’t come up with this by himself,” said Zeidan. “Trump just went there, took it that extra mile.”

Gay Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline on Tuesday referred to Trump’s comments without specifically mentioning the Republican presidential candidate by name as he spoke at an HRC and Human Rights First reception at the Newseum that commemorated International Human Rights Day.

“We’re experiencing some very ugly and I think dangerous rhetoric here in our own country that singles out and targets people of one particular faith,” said Cicilline. “It’s really important for all of us, for every American of every background, of all religions, ethnicities, political persuasions to condemn these attacks against people of the Muslim faith and to loudly proclaim our commitment to freedom and equality for all people.”

U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) during the same event described intolerance as a “disease” and “the enemy of all of us.”

“It’s us one day and someone else the next,” said the New York Republican. “We all have to keep an open mind to the rights and privileges that we all value.”

Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo told the Blade that his organization supports Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and other governors who have called for a “thoughtful pause” on the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks “until a thorough review of the vetting process is undertaken.”

“A total ban on all Muslims entering the United States is not only unconstitutional, but a non-starter as well,” said Angelo.