The argument that Muslims shouldn’t be banned because Muslims have contributed to the economy (Steve Jobs, brown tech CEOs, etc.) is well-meaning but keep three points in mind.

First, there is an unintended implication in these arguments that, if Muslims, refugees, or any other group are not contributing to the economy, then they are disposable.

Second, wealthy, economically successful groups in the past have not been immune from discrimination and much worse. In fact, the wealth of these groups was used as a justification for cracking down on them. I’m sure the bigots are already making these kinds of arguments: Look at Muslims and brown people generally at the heads of all these companies, controlling the economy and monopolizing the country’s wealth while the average white American suffers!

Third, we have to be careful that, even if society at large values economic productivity and corporate achievement, those shouldn’t be our internal standards for understanding our worth as a community. We should be asking ourselves: what have we contributed to the hearts of our people? That question is not necessarily relevant to the discussion of Muslim rights in light of Trump’s policies, etc., but it is nonetheless a crucial question we have to ask ourselves continuously.

 

Daniel Haqiqatjou

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