O'ahu Leaders Condemn Hate Crimes and Discrimination

Mar 7, 2017

Iman Dr. Ismail Elsikh recited a verse from the Koran.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

City, State and faith leaders on O’ahu joined together to call for religious acceptance and condemnation of hate crimes and discrimination.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports. 

Imam Doctor Ismail Elsikh recited a verse of universal understanding at the Muslim Association of Hawai’i Mosque in Manoa.   Mayor Kirk Caldwell organized the gathering and called on everyone to stand up against intolerance and hate.

“It’s so disturbing to learn of recent events against Muslims in our community on this island and against Temple Emanu-El.  How does that happen in a place like this.  I believe our job as members of government and our society – all of us – need to step up and say something or do something when these hateful acts are stated.”The Mayor says violators who commit hate crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.   Attorney General Doug Chin says the rhetoric coming out of Washington D-C is not what it appears to be.

“When the executive order came out a few weeks ago from President Trump and even when I read the most recent executive order a few days ago, I definitely see that it’s all about national security and promoting safety.  But when I view those words, it looks like a pretense.  It’s about discrimination.  It’s discriminating against people based upon their national origin, religion, and it’s putting them in a place that is not accepted by everybody else.”

American Civil Liberties Union legal director, Mateo Caballero, also denounced the Trump Administration’s revised Travel Ban.

“Freedom of religion is enshrined in our Constitution and no one should be discriminated against on the basis of how they look or how they pray.  The President is prohibited from engaging in religious discrimination and we will continue to fight this discriminatory ban in the courts, the legislature and on the streets.”

The revised ban will block citizens from Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, effective March 16th.    Japanese American Citizens League vice president, Liann Ebesugawa, says her organization will stand up for what is right.

“Our call to justice is rooted in our history and the wrongful internment of thousands of individuals of Japanese ancestry duing World War II.  In Hawai’i it was our friends who prevented the mass internment of Japanese Americans.  In the same tradition, we are bound to our friends and we must provide a voice for social justice and human rights.”

Muslim Association of Hawai’i chairman, Hakim Oansafi, ended with a message to President Donald Trump.

“The people behind us are people who may have been silent in the past but they’re not silent anymore.  We stand in solidarity with anyone or any group that is targeted by hate in any way form or shape.  We thank President Trump for bringing us together.  We are  grateful for that.”

For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.