Over a dozen Asian-American and Pacific Islander advocacy organizations have signed on to an open letter, joining roughly 70 total groups calling for community unity following the terrorist attacks in Belgium and Turkey earlier this week.
The letter, which was originally published by Muslim Advocates and Media Matters for America, criticizes seemingly anti-Muslim rhetoric from pundits and politicians following the attacks, calling such comments "inflammatory."
"After the Brussels attacks, like clockwork, many media figures and politicians immediately cast Muslims globally as the problem and called for increased targeting and surveillance of Muslim communities throughout the U.S.," the letter reads. "Others chose to politicize the tragedy by suggesting an expansion on the use of torture and a ban on all Muslims and refugees from entering the country."
"This inflammatory rhetoric and bigotry do not make our country and our communities safer — in fact, they expose us to more violence and division," it continues. "Attacks against American Muslims spike when the media and leaders bow to hate by branding the faith of 1.6 billion people with the criminal actions of a few."
Signers of the letter include the American Civil Liberties Union, Japanese American Citizens League, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA).
“Time and time again, we have seen people in our communities face hate and senseless acts of violence simply because of their religion or perceived religion and race,” Christopher Kang, national director of NCAPA, said in a statement to NBC News. “Unfortunately, after tragic attacks, hate crimes and verbal aggressions increase — especially against American Muslims — but fear and hysteria should never be used to advance xenophobic rhetoric or discriminatory policies. This is not what America stands for. Our elected and political leaders should know better and must learn from the past that we cannot let fear divide us.”