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Anti-Muslim group ACT! launches program to push back against humane refugee policies

Imagine2050 Staff • Jul 06, 2015

In an email to supporters on June 28, the anti-Muslim grassroots organization ACT! for America announced it would be launching a “Refugee Resettlement Working Group.”

The working group will be a subgroup within the overall ACT! network, according to the recent email. ACT! currently serves as one of the largest anti-Muslim grassroots groups within the organized Islamophobia movement in America. Claiming to have more than 280,000 members and 890 chapters nationwide, the group uses its network to advocate for policies and legislation aimed at marginalizing American Muslim communities.

No doubt, ACT!’s underlying anti-Muslim agenda is the driving force behind its efforts to turn humane refugee resettlement programs into politically-charged fodder for debate.

The launch of ACT!’s refugee-focused working group comes at a time when the U.S. is slated to take in more refugees from predominantly Muslim countries including, most notably, Syria. In the email, ACT! provides a litany of reasons it deems the current U.S. refugee program flawed and in need of reform. For instance, ACT! claims there are no proper procedures in place for vetting those seeking asylum, thus capitalizing on national security anxieties. Yet contrary to ACT!’s claims, strict policies are already in place.

Another one of the group’s complaints is that there are “inadequate efforts to assimilate refugees into American culture.”

In truth, ACT!’s leadership has expressed flat opposition to practicing Muslims living in the U.S. Brigitte Gabriel, ACT!’s founder and president, has matter-of-factly said she believes it is impossible to be both a practicing Muslim and a loyal U.S. citizen.

Gabriel stated: “A Muslim who has — who is — a practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah […] cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”

In another instance, Gabriel has even gone as far as to say that she saw “no chance” of Muslims “blending in” with American society. Of course, Gabriel’s statements about Muslims are just one of the red flags regarding ACT!’s new refugee working group.

Elsewhere in the announcement email, ACT! suggests that it will be taking pointers from Ann Corcoran, an anti-refugee blogger and activist who runs the website Refugee Resettlement Watch. The group also advertised her as being one of the featured speakers at its 2015 national conference.

“Ann has been working on this critical issue for years, documenting the serious problems in our system, and working with grassroots activists to raise awareness and fix it,” the email reads.

Unfortunately, Corcoran’s anti-refugee activism appears to be grounded in paranoia and conspiracy theories. This is exemplified in a monograph of hers published by the Center for Security Policy, a far-right think tank headed by notorious anti-Muslim conspiracist Frank Gaffney.

In the monograph, Corcoran claims Muslims are taking advantage of refugee resettlement programs and immigration policies in an effort to “colonize” America.

ACT! continues to prove itself to be a major contributor to the climate of fear and suspicion targeting America Muslim communities. Now, it seems the group will use similar tactics to sow fear and anxiety surrounding refugee resettlement programs.

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