More than 7,000 business leaders tell Washington to end religious discrimination

With a Supreme Court decision on the “Muslim Ban” expected in this month, business leaders from across the country want Washington to know that intolerance is bad for business. In a joint statement organized by Business Forward, more than 7,000 business leaders said:

“Intolerance isn’t just wrong — it’s bad for business. Yet Washington continues to push rhetoric and policies that target immigrants and Muslims. This bigotry is turning off our foreign customers, potentially costing the U.S. economy billions. Our best companies don’t discriminate based on how you pray. So why should our government?”

“[These policies] hurt my bottom line,” said Anna Redmond, CEO of Hippo Reads, a company focused on bringing academic insights to real-world issues. “The days of business borders are behind us, and U.S. business benefits most when we can utilize resources from other countries and also sell to them. We have clients based in the U.S. who have offices in the Middle East. There are really great accelerator programs in the Middle East – some of them in ‘banned’ countries. U.S. politics today puts me at a disadvantage to compete for both.”

In addition to hurting businesses across the United States, the “Muslim Ban” is affecting cities’ efforts to revitalize their economies, and further damaging the U.S. economy. Steve Tobocman of Global Detroit noted on a recent conference call that immigrants are critical to the revitalization of cities of all sizes. “Immigrants own 58% of the nation’s dry cleaners, 53 percent of the nation’s grocery stores, 38 percent of all the restaurants these are businesses that give the lifeblood of the community,” he said.

Faiza Sultan, President and CEO of Translation4all, Inc in Placentia, California, had this to say: “Twenty-one years ago, this land gave me opportunity. I have reached my American Dream,” she wrote. “I am a proud American Muslim woman, a CEO of a company, a publisher, and a poet.” What’s more, she wrote, a policy of intolerance “is bad for us as Americans—we are contradicting our values.”


Business Forward is making it easier for more than 100,000 business leaders from across America to advise Washington on how to create jobs and accelerate our economy. Business Forward is active in over 125 cities and works with more than 600 mayors, governors, members of Congress, and senior Administration officials.

Business leaders who have participated in our briefings have seen their suggestions implemented in the Affordable Care Act, the JOBS Act, the Clean Power Plan, the Toxic Substances Control Act, three trade agreements, and the President’s budgets. Many have also shared their recommendations with their representatives in Congress and through phone calls, op-eds, and interviews with local media. Ninety-eight out of 100 business leaders who have participated in a Business Forward briefing would be interested in participating in another one.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Kerr