To Mormons, the anti-immigration stance which causes Muslims to suffer can bring up racial memories.
Mormon history has become a surprise ally of Muslims fearful of the Trump administration’s travel ban. A 19-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints scholar group filed a brief at US Court of Appeals for 9th Circuit. They compared the present day government's mistreatment of Muslims to the way Latter-day Saints were treated by the then US Governments during the 19th century.
The brief, filed as friend-of-the-court, warned the US Court of Appeals that the executive order by the president halting immigration from countries having Muslim-majority populations would legalize the anti-Muslim sentiment already present in the United States. They said that their Mormon experience teaches that this kind of anti-immigrant sentiment and federal efforts to halt immigration would result in negative consequences which could persist for a number of decades to come.
Nate Oman of College of William & Mary said that he was extremely concerned about the Trump-led administration's selective targeting of Muslims. The professor of the law pointed out the government targeting of the Mormons during the 19th century as the nearest historical parallel. He said that it was his thought that the story would be useful and bring it to the attention of the court.
Rampant violence by mobs pushed the early Mormon settlers from their Illinois and Missouri homes during the tumultuous 1830s and also the 1840s. A few decades later, the federal government tried to limit Mormon voting rights. They also wanted to stop converts to the Mormon life from emigrating to the United States. The brief continues on to say that these experiences by Mormons illustrate all the harms that can befall its people when a government has a particular religion in its sight. The actions of the federal government against the Mormons happened at a time when the First Amendment jurisprudence continued to be in its nascent stage. The law at that time gave the contemporary government certain powers which can be regarded as blatantly unconstitutional.
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Kathleen Flake, professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, said, “Even as a first instance, a Muslim ban under whatever name should alarm those who value freedom of conscience, America’s ‘first freedom.’ But certainly, we should learn from earlier Mormon bans that such discrimination has a long, unhappy, cultural life.”
According to Oman, attempts to limit Muslims from entering the United States are made due to fear. This has an uncanny resemblance with Mormonism. He said that most people assume that Muslims are dangerous which is a result of terrorist attacks and the 9/11 incident.
President Trump has tried to pass two travel bans by the executive order. The federal courts have blocked both of them. President Trump's revised ban specifically points out six nations in Africa and Asia with predominantly Muslim populations. It was blocked only a few hours prior to the actual deed.