In a moving Facebook video, Japanese Americans share their wartime experiences, suggesting they understand the rising Islamophobia Muslim Americans have faced recently.
“What’s happening to the Muslims right now is really close to the hearts of the Japanese-Americans because it happened to us,” said Gloria Imagire, a former prisoner, in the video.
Japanese Americans shared stories of suffering living behind bars during World War II.
One survivor Tadashi Yoshi explained that his brother was serving the U.S. military yet his family was living in camps, imprisoned.
“My brother was in the Army,” Yoshi said. “He was fighting over there in Italy, in southern France, and his mother and father and his younger son is in a camp.”
The video came out in February to mark the anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which led to the mass incarceration of innocent Japanese Americans.
Stories narrated by the survivors became relevant and relatable after retired Navy SEAL and spokesperson for the pro-Trump Great America PAC, Carl Higbie’s interview on Fox News.
During the interview, when questioned about Trumps idea of a proposed registry of immigrants from Muslim countries, Higbie commented, “We’ve done it with Iran ... we did it during World War II with Japanese, which, call it what you will, maybe it was wrong ... Look, the president needs to protect America first.”
After facing severe repercussions for his comment, Higbie admitted that the government’s imprisonment of Japanese-Americans, many of whom were U.S. citizens, was a “huge black mark on our society and we would never want to do it again.”
Japanese Americans stand with Muslims in times of rising Islamophobia. They do not want another group of people to go through the injustices they suffered and repeat history.
American actor, director, author, and activist, George Hosato Takei spoke in favor of Muslims. “We must not let Muslims be treated like Japanese Americans in WWII,” he said in an interview to MSNBC.
Trump’s Muslim registry to the internment of Japanese Americans has “reopened very old and very deep wounds,” commented the former “Star Trek” actor.
“We cannot permit this invidious thinking, discredited by history at the cost of so much misery and suffering by innocents, to take root once again in America, let alone in the White House,” Takei writes in an op-ed.
A Trump surrogate argued the internment was "precedent" for a national Muslim registry. I could not stay silent. https://t.co/uTUHkNXLLb— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 18, 2016
“The stigmatization, separation and labeling of our fellow humans based on race or religion has never led to a more secure world.”