Nothing is more petrifying than Trump’s version of Islamophobia
Society | Nov 16, 2016 / by Aastha Singh
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Introduction

It is not hidden that Donald Trump has for long been an anti-Muslim promoter who has exuded confidence in the extreme nature of his beliefs on religious extremism. His viewpoint has been made very clear to Americans, and he has made clear verbal attacks on Islam, on numerous occasions through his various hate speeches and his obvious target at Islamic countries also hints mainly at his intense dislike for such nations. What has been more appalling and probably unprecedented actions are the recent instances after Trump was declared America’s next President when Americans, precisely, racist white men, took to streets to vandalize innocent ordinary Muslims who have had no references or any connection with or whatsoever. The sheer substandard of these people speaks volumes of a possible turnout where Trump supporters could prove more harmful than the President-elect himself. The rise of hate crimes and reported various incidents of racism and inappropriate behavior against other minority communities indicates coming of a possible dark phase of decreasing humanitarian attitude towards other fellow Americans and apparently a conservative outlook among many of these Americans.

Americans have always been identified as people who have a broad global outlook and are known for accepting people of different cultures, different faiths, nationalities, etc. Why wouldn't they be recognized for these? America is a land of immigrants. But Native Americans were captured, displaced and forced out of their homes and also killed. And, today, the targets are Muslims, Mexicans, refugees, etc. While terrorism in the name of spreading Islam and proclaiming it as the greatest religion is an indeed critical thought and a threat to humanity, it is, by all means, unfair and ridiculous to label all Muslims as terrorists and extremists.

The concept

Islamophobia as a concept is fear as an emotion where people develop intense fear against Islam and aversion to Muslims and their practices. The idea of Islamophobia was highlighted several times by Trump in his election campaign. As a result, there has been a heightened increase in the spread of Islamophobia throughout America, and it was propagated in such a manner so that people perceived it as an insurmountable problem that could not be curbed unless all Americans didn’t decide to do something about it.

Qasim Rashid who’s a human rights lawyer, in America, was invited to offer the individual prayer, Adhaan, of Ahmadis inside the White House for which he was even given a separate room to do so along with few others. He talked about unity in Islam and advocate of no discrimination against Ahmadis. Ahmadis are otherwise persecuted and looked down upon in Muslim majority nations.  Being the world’s second largest democracy where secularism has an explicit mention in the American constitution, it is today unpalatable to hear and see that Trump supporters and many Republicans are anti-Muslims and supporters of their ban. The act of an Ahmadi Muslim being allowed to offer prayers would have caused a stir and created uproar in countries like Pakistan that strictly abide by the Sharia Law and who have evidently outcast them socially. While occurrences like these increase respect for America for its notion of equality among people of all religions and have been acknowledged, but hatred against Muslims at a larger level cannot be ignored, and some positive steps like the above have not been able to negate the negative impacts of Trump’s influence on Americans.

Trump’s policies and views on religious extremism

Coming to Trump’s remarks and his policies on Islam and its radicalization, the man has endorsed the idea of a complete ban on Muslims time and again and has proved to be a major force behind inciting white racist Americans, like him, to stand against Islam and join him in his crusade against Muslims. Instigating gullible white Americans, who think that it is them who are facing marginalization in their country and not Muslims or any other minority groups, to ostracize all Muslim Americans and exclude them from their from any socialization act is known to many and is anti-humanitarian and a daft idea in my opinion. Trump’s remarks like “I think Islam hates us” and “bombing the s*** out of Syria” are clear pointers to his hardline stance on Muslims.  Moreover, the possibilities of Trump’s administration being completely void of any Muslim Americans also signals to his first strategies to gradually getting to start his work on banning Muslims, Islam, Mexicans and many other minority segments from the face of the entire country. What is unbelievable to digest and appreciate is that he promises to wage war on Syria and battle against ISIS to completely bring it down to nothing. What many countries have failed to do in the last few years since ISIS’s inception, of course, America being the forerunner in this, Donald Trump reflects his dead-sure attitude and determination in combating the world’s deadliest Islamist terror group without any concrete plans in his mind or at his disposal.

Some of his possible measures

To cite a few strategies on how he thinks radicalization can be monitored and curbed are increased entries in databases as part of records of Muslim Americans and increased surveillance of Mosques. Now, ISIS isn’t wrong when some of its notorious recruiters, ironically, have said that these strategies would instead help them and expedite the recruitment process for their terror outfit. What purpose could these policies serve apart from creating a massive database on the background of these Muslims? The inner psychological desires and motives can't be recorded and measured or quantified and visibly noticed. Yes, they would be a great help to get to know their backgrounds, but it is unjust to target common ordinary American Muslims who have nothing to do with radicalization and terrorism. How about also creating a similar elaborate database of those Americans who possess guns and keep stringent checks on all of them? Some of them only misuse them to kill innocent colored and black people? Trump’s desire to target Muslim Americans very obviously reflects his bias and wrong take on crime and terrorism which he believes is committed primarily by Muslims and Mexicans.

He is fickle-minded, and this needs to stop

While many Americans have protested against Trump's win on the presidency and shouted slogans like "He's not my President" and there seems to be awakening among many on his lack of political acumen and zero experience in any political involvement, many incidents of still ongoing hate crimes have shocked the entire world not just America. In an interesting and yet again surprising turn of events, Trump’s policies have suddenly undergone a modification or have been completely deleted from his campaign website. His intention to ban all Muslims has disappeared and this is indeed mind boggling. Such sudden changes only increase the degree of perplexity among thinking individuals who have been trying hard for long to identify Trump’s unchanging views at least on few matters. After being questioned of what he thinks about those people who thought they had all the liberty in the world to target innocent Muslims and, who did so after his victory, and Mexicans, Trump in an interview said that he was “saddened” by such events and made a request to "stop it." Alright then, so does this mean that he’s a changed man who has had a sudden change of heart towards fellow Muslim Americans?  But the damage has already begun and those people who have already started it are not going to step back as they seem to be highly motivated and secured by Mr. Trump’s talks in his election campaigns. Will Trump now step out and make a personal request to these people to stop doing what they are doing and encourage them to develop a sense of a broader demeanor? This seems like an impossible task which Trump might never even think of. Trump’s image is that of a businessman or rather now as America’s new President who has harsh opinions on Muslims and Islam and it will be a difficult task changing it.  If his concern is about religious extremism, he shouldn't be ignorant of the fact that extremism exists in many other religions too. America is said to be going backward by becoming more religious and opposing people of other faiths. What his fight should be against and what the whole world should question about is the irrationality and illogicality prevailing in some of the belief systems of some religions and not launch a war on all the people of that particular religion. Punishment should be given to those who are at fault not to those who are victims of circumstances.  

There are few things which we all can do together

The terror and fear surrounding this religion won’t change until all Muslims unite to stand up against terrorism and to the fact that they are labeled as terrorists and fundamentalists. There is no denying that many radical Muslims do exist and many terror groups seem to be distorting what Islam stands for to their advantage by brainwashing individuals to commit a crime in the name of God. This needs opposition from Muslims too. What ordinary and innocent Muslims can do is stand up against the wrong, speak against them and unite with each other so that Islam is not considered as a religion of violence but as a symbol of peace just as other faiths. In fact, all of us should defy some of the wrong teachings that religions preach and disseminate. Islamophobia can be tackled only if we all try.  

Conclusion

While Islamophobia is a severe concern, Trump under his plans must be prepared to deploy the right strategies to address terrorism and religious extremism issues and not add fuel to the fire by inviting more trouble to America. Donald Trump will have all the required support from countries only if he takes the right steps. Till then we can only hope that a businessperson will be able to prove his political worth until 2020.

 

 

 

 

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Written By Aastha Singh

I am currently a Third year Mass Media student and I have a wide range of interests including development issues concerning all countries.

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