NEW YORK – Uniting with Muslims against bigotry, Jewish director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has vowed to register as a Muslim if Donald Trump establishes a database of Muslims in America.
“The day they create a registry for Muslims is the day that I register as a Muslim because of my Jewish faith, because of my commitment to our core American values, because I want this country to be as great as it always has been,” Jonathan Greenblatt told AFP on Friday.
Along with Greenblatt’s comments, at least 44,326 so far have also signed an open letter written by the Jewish progressive social justice organization Bend The Arc to protect minorities including Muslims saying: “We are with you know” since Trump’s win on the Nov. 8 elections.
“To the millions of immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBT people, women, people with disabilities, and everyone who is threatened by the President-Elect and his administration, we want you to know: we are with you,” it said.
It added: “We are with you now. And we will be with you every day for the next four years.”
Thousands of Americans have also pledged online to stand in solidarity with Muslims in the United States.
On Friday, more than 13,000 people had signed a pledge on website Register US, promising to register as Muslims in the event of a national Muslim database being rolled out, so as “to stand together with Muslims across the country.”
Many among those who took the pledge on Register US’s website posted on Twitter a message, prepared by the group, detailing their intentions.
“If Trump requires Muslims to register with the government, I pledge to register as Muslim too,” the message said.
During his campaign, President-elect Trump variously called for banning all Muslim visitors to the United States, subjecting those in the country to loyalty tests and even for some to be deported.
Asked on MSNBC in November last year whether the White House should institute a database system to track Muslims in the country, Trump replied, “Oh, I would certainly implement that, absolutely.”
Trump campaign attempted to walk back his pledge on Thursday, saying in a statement that the president-elect “never advocated” a registry.
After Trump’s election, at least two prominent Trump supporters raised the prospect again this week, including one who cited World War II-era Japanese-American internment camps as a precedent.
“We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on religion, we’ve done it based on region,” Carl Higbie, who during the campaign was spokesman for a pro-Trump “super PAC” fundraising group, said on Fox News.
“As a Jewish community, we know what happens with litmus tests,” Greenblatt said.
“We can remember. We have painful memories of when we ourselves were identified, registered and tagged.”
The ADL president, who previously worked in the White House as a special assistant to President Barack Obama, also criticized Trump’s hiring of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist.
Bannon “in his own words has presided over making his former business Breitbart THE platform for the ‘alt-right,’ this loose-knit group of white supremacists, anti-Semites and racists,” Greenblatt said.
Trump’s election last week prompted a spike in racist attacks and harassment across the country.
But Greenblatt said it also moved many people to volunteer for the ADL and donate money.
“Even though we have seen some of the worst impulses of society lifted up, we´ve also seen some of our better angels prevail.”