LORAIN – An Ohio imam, activist and local leader will launch on Monday, January 16, a national campaign opposing the creation of any Muslim database that could be part of Donald Trump’s campaign trail promises to crack down on Muslim immigration into the United States.
“What makes this country better than any other country is we can rise above the fear and rhetoric and be great because we are a country of unimaginable freedoms,” imam Paul Hasan told The Chronicle Telegram on Sunday, January 15.
“Where else could I have looked for and found Islam and be able to practice is a way that is free and open. We do that in this country with Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism or any other religion.”
Hasan, 62, is a prominent local voice who has worked tirelessly in the community.
He uses scripture, African parables and quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X to weave together his points in a way that is authentic and natural.
The longtime community activist is a founding member of the nationally known organization The International Council for Urban Peace, Justice and Empowerment.
As Donald Trump’s inauguration approaches, he felt compiled to by an active ally for his American Muslim brothers and sisters.
Addressing a news conference on Monday at Lorain’s South Branch Library, 2121 Homewood Ave, Hasan will kick off a new campaign that calls on people to sign an online petition opposing the initiation and implementation of any Muslim registry.
“Muslim citizens (whether US born or immigrants from scores of other nations) have made positive contributions to every sector of our nation — government, economy, military, education, science, health care, culture, and sports & entertainment. Blind fear of ‘The Other’ is what drives the proposed Muslim or nationality registry,” the petition read.
“It’s based on the doctrine of ‘guilty until proven innocent’ rather than ‘innocent until proven guilty’ — a foundational concept of the US legal system. It’s also a violation of basic constitutional rights and reminiscent of the early stages of what became the categorical internment of US citizens of Japanese descent into concentration camps during WWII.”
A Muslim convert from Christianty, Hasan said he chose public activism to promote unity.
“This campaign is intentionally beginning in Lorain,” Hasan said Friday from the offices of the Lorain Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program on Kelly Place.
“We are the international city of many religions, cultures and nationalities, but also a city experiencing severe economic hardship. It’s a perfect place to send our message of solidarity from people of all religions, races, economic conditions, nationalities and ages to the Trump administration that a Muslim registry or anything like it, which is fundamentally discriminatory, will be defiantly resisted.”
“I chose to be an active imam, and I’ll do it until I can’t anymore,” Hasan said.