National JACL President David Lin with other NCAPA leaders speaking out against anti-Muslim hate. (Photo by Merissa Nakamura)
National JACL President David Lin (third from left) with other NCAPA leaders speaking out against anti-Muslim hate. (Photo by Merissa Nakamura)

WASHINGTON — Over 60 leaders from the Asian American community gathered Dec. 16 at the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in Washington, D.C., to counter recent political rhetoric and express support for Muslim, Sikh, Arab, and South Asian American communities.

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) joined a number of Asian American Pacific Islander organizations from the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) to speak out against anti-Muslim hate crimes and discrimination.

Last year, NCAPA member organization South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) published a report on growing xenophobic political rhetoric and hate violence, which includes data and recommendations concerning the hostility against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities. After the terrorist attacks last month in Paris, hateful rhetoric, bigotry, and violence against American Muslims has been on the rise. In a 30-day period following attacks in Paris, over 45 acts of persecution occurred against American Muslims.

“Fear-based persecution of American Muslims and those who are perceived to be Muslim cannot be tolerated,” said Priscilla Ouchida, JACL executive director.

National JACL President David Lin kicked off the rally by emphasizing that policies that imprisoned 120,000 Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor should not be repeated. He reiterated that JACL stands with the Muslim, Sikh, Arab, and South Asian American communities because Japanese Americans have stood on this dark side of history before.

“Never again” was the message delivered by JACL and leaders from NCAPA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, South Asian Americans Leading Together, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

As the nation’s largest and oldest Asian American civil rights organization, JACL says it will “continue to oppose the anti-Muslim hate, xenophobia, and bigotry undermining our nation’s values and ideals, and call on fellow Americans to do the same.”

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