Tuesday, 31 January 2017

U.S.: Trump's Muslims Ban

Donald Trump's executive order, outlawing immigrants from areas of the world with a history of terrorism as part of his proposed temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States---a radical rewriting of US counter-terrorism policy, reveals his blatant ignorance.

The executive order suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days and barred those fleeing the slaughter in Syria indefinitely. And it blocked entry into the United States for some three months for citizens of seven Muslim majority countries. The ban has been denounced by the UN's rights Chief as ''mean-spirited'' and illegal under international human rights.

In an escalating crisis for his 11 day old administration, President Trump fired his acting attorney general, removing her as the nation's top law enforcement officer after she defiantly refused to defend his executive order closing the nation borders to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries. 

Trump's executive order is based on the rationale that Islamic extremism is a mortal danger that he must get rd of right away. In fact, Islamic extremism is a problem but not an existential threat. But the decision to ban people from seven Muslim countries shows Trump's lunacy and absurdity and it is un-American. It places a question mark over the United States's very identity as a nation of immigrants.

Muslims have contributed a great deal to the culture and prosperity of America. In the wake of the 
Sept 11 attack in New York and Orlando attack however, Trump has lost sight of this fact. Trump even believes that Muslims and their faith collectively responsible for the decline of America's hegemony. But while the claim that violent Islamic extremism has nothing to do with Muslims and their faith is absurd, the idea that some monolithic “Islam” is to blame for this new specter haunting America is equally foolish.

This assumption that Muslim people are an existential threat to America is misplaced and unfair. The United States of today is more tolerant of difference than ever before. Indeed, cosmopolitanism is at the very heart of contemporary America. Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, one of the most best president in America's history, for example, proudly and openly proclaim his African ancestry. The US former Secretary of State, Henry Alfred Kissinger, was born in Vietnam. Steve Jobs' biological father, Abdulfattah ''John'' Jandall, was a Syrian's immigrant.  Even Trump himself has Germany origins. It stands to reason that if these minorities have not been prevented from thriving in contemporary America, the counter-terrorism policy cannot be based on xenophobia.

The complaint from the Muslim world that Muslims are being treated as second-class citizens by Trump's ban has a substantial basis in reality, and this fact is deeply troubling for America that claims to value inclusivity and equality.

With the ban, Trump is fulfilling a promise he made during his campaign--namely that he wants to make America safer by protecting it from Islamic terrorism. The desire for greater protection is a theme currently being felt in all Western societies. It is one that politicians cannot escape.

And this argument is one that applies more in the United States than in most other countries. The effect of the Sept, 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington still color the country today. More than a dozen perpetrators were involved in the attacks. They came from Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. And that gets right to the catch in his new policy: Not a single one of those countries is included in Trump's travel ban. None of these attacks would have been prevented, even if the order had been issued years ago.

Trump, himself, should know that the travel ban bypass the problem. The worst terrorist attack committed in the country since Sept 11 happened early last summer in the middle of the election campaign at Orlando's Pulse nightclub. The attacker, Omar Mateen, came from New York--a young, lost American who shot and killed more than 50 people in the name of Islamic State. A terrorist who had grown up and radicalized in his own country.

The world is complicated and terrorism, unfortunately, is as well. With his simplistic answers, Trump is not making the US any safer. It could already be considered a success if he did not take any steps to make it less safe. But his crude decree will merely fuel new prejudices against the US in the Muslim world. It will create new anger. Anger among the film directors, artists and athletes who have been or might be turned away at the country's airports or where not permitted to travel to US in the first place.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
International Affairs Expert
Political Analyst/Author

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