Katy Perry and George Takei are both using their platforms to counter Islamophobia before Trump’s inauguration.

Following the rise of Islamophobic rhetoric and hate crimes in the U.S., George Takei and Katy Perry have used their voices and influence to take a stand for American Muslims and to counter the rising wave of racism and racial profiling. Takei has created a petition urging Americans to stand with American Muslims. It has so far garnered 154,858 supporters out of a target of 160,000. Perry released a PSA on YouTube linking what is happening to American Muslims right now to what happened to Japanese Americans during the Second World War, when they were put in camps and their constitutional rights ignored.

Takei is widely known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, while Perry is an international music star renowned for viral secular music videos with catchy lyrics. In his Care2 petition, Takei wrote:

“I have spent my life trying to ensure something like this never happens again. But dark clouds once more are gathering. A Trump spokesperson recently stated the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II “sets a precedent” for Trump to do the same today. And Trump continues to stand by his plans to establish a Muslim registry and ban immigrants from “certain” Muslim countries from the U.S. It starts with a registry, with restrictions, with irrationally ascribed guilt, and with fear. But we know well where it might lead.”

Perry’s PSA is titled Is History Repeating itself?, and tells the story of Haru Kuromiya whose life was changed by the internment of Japanese Americans in camps during the Second World War. The actress playing Kuromiya takes off her mask and is shown to be a Muslim actress named Hina Khan. In the video, Khan tells the story of Kuromiya and states in Kuromiya’s voice, “We were an American farm family now living in an internment camp and our constitutional rights were taken away from us. It all started with fear and rumors then it bloomed into the registration of Japanese Americans and then labeling with physical tags and then eventually internment.”  

Takei spoke out in opposition to using the internment of Japanese Americans as a precedent for setting a registry for Muslims. He said:

“It is not a precedent. It is the most disgraceful chapter of American history. Registration of any group of people, and certainly registration of Muslims, is a prelude to internment. This is something that we cannot have happen again. It is dangerous and it is a moral bankruptcy. We’ve got to stand up and resist this, and I would urge all good Americans to write to your congressional representatives and the president-elect and tell them that this is not what we stand for as a nation.”

Aya Tanimura, who co-directed the Perry PSA video, remarked, “The PSA is a cautionary story of the damage fear-mongering can do. We hope that it reminds everyone that segregating and dividing each other further than we already are will only lead to more fear and violence.”

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