Religion And Race Within The United University Of Kansas Ams 110 Essay

734 words - 3 pages

The relationship between religion and race has a long history in the United States, especially
towards how it applies to immigrants and citizenship. However, with Donald Trump recently
enacting an executive order targeting refugees from the Middle East, race and religion have
become one of the most important issues to a society which generally views immigrants from
the Middle East as being Muslim despite the fact that Muslims do not only come from the
Middle East. Moustafa Bayoumi explores the topic and relationship between race and religion
in his book, This Muslim American Life. While race and religion are discrete and separate
things, both play an important part in the culture of one another and citizenship in the United
States.
Religion by nature does not define race. A white christian can convert to Islam, and a
middle-eastern muslim can convert to christianity. However, political decisions by the United
States has turned religion into a race. One decision the government made that targeted
muslims indirectly, but specifically, was special registration. Bayoumi describes special
registration as, “It was a government-mandated system of recording and surveillance that
required all nonimmigrant males in the United States over the age of sixteen who were citizens
and nationals from select countries to be interviewed under oath, fingerprinted, and
photographed by a Department of Justice official.” (52). This program was a result of the 9/11
attacks in New York City. Those selected were questioned as though they were not a citizen
despite them being one, often asked about their religious and political identity. As a result of
the program during its first year, “When the deadline for the first call-in registration passed in
December 2002, mayhem ensued, particularly in Southern California, where, according to the
Washington Post, hundred of men (almost twelve hundred nationwide) were incarcerated in
mass arrests on alleged immigration violations.” (53). The key word in this quote is “alleged”,
because the US Justice Department was conducting a witch hunt on muslim males who were
targeted for no other reason than practicing Islam. They were treated as second hand citizens
because of their religious identity and national origin. Religion as a result was being turned into
a racial identity and people were targeted...

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