Donald Trump is poised to turn his hate-filled and bigoted campaign rhetoric about Muslims into policy. The man who despicably declared that “Islam hates us,” lied that “thousands” of Muslims cheered in New Jersey on 9/11 and claimed despite facts actually proving the opposite that American Muslims are hiding terrorists in our midst, per media reports will soon be banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States as well as barring Syrian and other refugees.
Given that during the campaign Trump released a statement—that to this day is still on his campaign’s website—titled, “Donald J. Trump statement on preventing Muslim immigration,” it’s fair to assume this is just step one on the path to a complete ban on Muslims.
To be honest, the idea of banning Muslims was nothing new. I had seen the same from numerous anti-Muslim bigots on social media in the past. What was stunning was that the front-runner for the GOP nomination would regurgitate it and a large percent of GOP primary voters would support it.
Perhaps I had naively believed (or hoped) that Trump would not try to turn this red meat for his bigoted base into policy. But I was wrong. And any Trump supporter who tells you this is not specifically a Muslim ban is either an apologist for Trump’s hate or a liar. (There’s no need to be PC to people who disdain political correctness.)
So what’s the message of Trump’s ban? Simple. Muslims are so inherently dangerous that we need to keep them out of this country. This is profiling on steroids. It’s not that Trump is saying a specific Muslim person is a threat. Rather, he is saying millions are a danger because of bad acts of a few. It’s truly no different than the police racially profiling African Americans.
And Trump’s expected total ban on Syrian refugees is not based on evidence that Syrian refugees have committed acts of terror—because they have not. In fact Syrian refugees go through an extensive 18-24 month extreme vetting process —long before Trump ever suggested that concept.
So will Trump’s “Muslim ban” prevent terrorism in America? No, in fact it will possibly cause even more violence if recent history is any indicator. And no I’m not talking ISIS-related, although counter terrorism experts have made it clear that demonization of Muslims by Trump will help ISIS recruit because their message “the West hates you” will resonate more strongly.
But I mean violence from some of Trump’s anti-Muslim supporters who will be emboldened to lash out, or worse, at Muslim Americans. Trump makes these people believe their fear of all Muslims is valid. And look at what we have seen in the last few months even before this ban. In September, one self-professed Trump supporter burned down a mosque in Florida. In New Jersey the words “Donald Trump” were painted on Bayonne a mosque along with vile comments about Muslims. And the list of Trump supporters causing hate crimes continues.
Now if Trump truly wanted to keep us safe from terrorism he would also address domestic terrorism concerns, especially the right-wingers who want to kill Muslims. For example, Glendon Scott Crawford who was sentenced just last month to 30 years in prison for trying to use a weapon of mass destruction to slaughter Muslim Americans in New York state. Just a few moths ago, three Kansas men who called themselves “The Crusaders” (as in Christian crusaders) were arrested for plotting a terror attack to kill Somali Muslim immigrants because they wanted to “wake people up” to threat of Muslim immigrants. And then there is Robert Doggart, a Christian minister who is facing federal charges for plotting to kill Muslim Americans with an array of weapons from explosives to a machete. What is Trump doing to prevent more of these types of terrorists?
But Trump is not about solving America’s problems—this is a man who trafficked in lies and hate for personal gain. In fact personal gain may actually explain why Trump has reportedly only wanted to ban Muslims from these seven Muslim countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Why wouldn’t Trump want to ban Muslims from Turkey given there have been over 15 terror attacks there in the past year, many caused by ISIS? Could it be because Trump has business investments there with his twinned Trump Towers?
What about the United Arab Emirates, home of Dubai—which has seen its fair share of people joining ISIS and where contributions to the terrorist group Hamas are legal. Did Trump not ban Muslims from there because of his massive golf course and luxury home project in that country?
Then there’s Indonesia, a place where the authorities killed three men on New Year’s Eve plotting an ISIS inspired attack on civilians. Could it be he hasn’t extended the ban there since Trump is currently developing a luxurious Trump resort in Indonesia? Maybe all Somalia and Sudan need to do to get off Trump’s list is let him build a huge Trump hotel.
America under Trump is clearly changing. The promise that the United States is a welcoming place to those “yearning to breathe free” is being replaced by the vision of a man who ran a white supremacist, xenophobic themed campaign. And it appears that his reign as President will mirror that. Thankfully many groups—from Latinos to Muslims to Native Americans—are prepared to file lawsuits to thwart Trump’s agenda, where possible. As long as the judiciary remains independent of Trump, we can rely on the court system to be fair.
The battle lines are clearly drawn in our nation. There are those who support Trump and those who stand on the side of American values of tolerance and pluralism that makes our nation exceptional. Which side are you on?