Our Beacon Forum

Reporting Back from the Supreme Court
By:Zahra Billo, Esq - CAIR - USA
Date: Sunday, 29 April 2018, 8:37 pm

Reporting Back from the Supreme Court

As Salaamu Alaikum.

This week has been both intense and memorable.

After spending the day Sacramento with over 600 Muslims at our annual Muslim Day at the Capitol event, I flew to D.C. for the Trump v. Hawai'i Muslim Ban arguments at the Supreme Court. After Fajr on Wednesday morning, I took my place in line outside of this country's highest court.

Several hours later, we filed in to the building. Our #NoMuslimBanEver campaign team had worked diligently to ensure community members from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen were inside the courtroom, as well as several other visible Muslim individuals. Standing as the justices entered the room, I was alongside Elica Vafaie from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, Ramla Sahid from Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, Dr. Debbie Almontaser of the Bridging Cultures Group, and others.

During the hour long session, the government's attorney argued that the President's actions were not motivated by bias and were within his authority. Neal Katyal, arguing for Hawai'i, countered that the President was acting in direct contradiction to explicit Congressional policy. The justices questioned both attorneys about the national security basis, or lack thereof, for the Ban, the President's bigoted statements over time, and the reality that the Ban's so called waiver has not been helpful for many in dire need.

Photo Credit: Michelle Frankfurter/ACLU

Outside, we organized a simultaneous protest. Hundreds of protesters stood outside in the rain, hearing from our National Executive Director Nihad Awad, Congressman Andre Carson, Oxfam's Isra Chaker, MPower Change's Mohammad Khan, Karen Korematsu, and others. As I walked out of the Supreme Court when arguments ended, it was a sight to see.

Our work continued in the media and online. Among others, television interviews done by CAIR-Florida's Executive Director Hassan Shibly reached over 500,000 viewers. The protest live feeds on MoveOn and NowThis reached over 200,000 views. More than that though, our campaign's social media efforts pushed the #NoMuslimBanEver conversation to 54,000,000 users on Twitter.

We have been and will continue to advocate for #NoMuslimBanEver, inside and outside courtrooms, online and offline, using every tool at our disposal.

The court must make a choice now - will the justices take a stand for religious freedom? Confirming that America at its best does not discriminate against people based on how they pray?

It could take until June for the court to reach a decision, and we will update you as soon as we do. In the meantime, be sure to review our recent Know Your Rights advisory and urge anyone you know who may have questions about the Ban to contact us.

As I said when I wrote to you on Tuesday evening, the court will determine if the Ban stands, we will determine how strong our community emerges from this moment.

With Allah's mercy and your continued support, we will persist and persevere.

Jazaka'Allah khair,

Zahra Billoo
Executive Director