Over the past two weeks, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam veterans have disrupted Donald Trump rallies across the country with banners. First in Myrlte Beach, SC with a banner, “Veterans Are Not Props For Hate.” Watch the video. Next, in Las Vegas, NV, Veterans held banners, “Veterans To Mr. Trump: End Hate Speech Against Muslims.” Most recently, in Hunstsville, AL, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were kicked out of a Trump rally in Alabama. Watch video.
Last weekend, the Smedley Butler Brigade held a public event, “Muslims Are Not Our Enemies,” in Boston, MA.
These actions are part of an ongoing campaign, Veterans Challenge Islamophobia, which VFP launched earlier this month. We know that the veteran’s voice is crucial to changing the hate rhetoric directed at Muslims. “When I served in the USMC, I took an oath to the Constitution of the United States. There is a First Amendment, which respects religious tolerance and freedom of speech,” stated John Amidon, Vietnam veteran and member of Veterans For Peace.
Veterans Challenge Islamophobia is a call to veterans to defend the values of religious freedom, equality, and individual rights. All veterans who agree that bigotry and religious intolerance must be challenged are welcome. Islamophobia in the U.S. is a path for further demonization of Muslims in foreign lands. This is a prelude to a call for U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.
We have already received overwhelming support from people across the country and the world. As we gain more media coverage and more veterans sign onto the campaign, we will build a broad movement. Together, we can change the rhetoric and fear politics by challenging those who spread hate.