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Mormon History Shows the Dangers of Targeting Muslims

A group of 19 scholars of Mormon history have filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit attacking President Trump’s ban on refugees and immigrants from six Muslim countries. The brief tells the story of government attacks on Mormon immigration in the 19th century. This history, urges the brief, shows the need for the court to carefully examine President Trump’s executive order.
During the 19th century both state and federal officials repeatedly attacked the Mormons because of their religion. During the 1880s, federal officials explicitly targeted Mormon immigrants. In some cases, Latter-day Saints were refused entry to the country, in others they were jailed by government officials at the border, and at times federal officials pressured Mormon immigrants to abandon their religion and convert to Protestantism.
The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that government targeting on the basis of religion sends the pernicious message that some religious bel…