George Takei, the Japanese-American actor and activist who portrayed Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series, has launched a Care2 petition supporting Muslims in response to President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to suspend immigration from "terror-prone regions."
Takei's family was among those placed in internment camps by the U.S. government during World War II; he was just five years old at the time.
The petition comes in advance of Wednesday's Hill hearing on Trump's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly.
Citing the internment of innocent Japanese-Americans, Takei said: “It starts with a registry, with restrictions, with irrationally ascribed guilt, and with fear. But we know well where it might lead. National security must never again be permitted to justify wholesale denial of constitutional rights and protections."
At press time the petition had more than 43,000 signatures with a goal of 45,000.
In an e-mail to supporters this week, Trump asked for input on his planned priorities as president, which include "Suspend immigration from regions compromised by terrorism and where vetting cannot safely occur."
The full text of Takei's petition follows:
When I was just 5, my family was rounded up at gunpoint and forced from our home in Los Angeles into an internment camp. We were prisoners in our own country, held within barbed wire compounds, armed guards pointing guns down at us. It was an egregious violation of our rights under the U.S. Constitution, all in the name of "security.” During that time, fear and racism drove government policy, creating a living hell for over 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans, most of whom were U.S. citizens.
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.
National security must never again be permitted to justify wholesale denial of constitutional rights and protections. If it is freedom and our way of life that we fight for, our first obligation is to ensure that our own government adheres to those principles. Without that, we are no better than our enemies.
Please sign this petition to let the Muslim community know you support them and oppose any policy targeting them based on their religion or national origin. Help send a message to Trump and his ilk that this will never again happen in America.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.