No. That is a liberal-left construct. There are 50 Muslim majority countries in the world and the Trump administration only imposed a travel moratorium on citizens of 7 of those. But the left wingers in the US and around the world would have us believe something that simply isn’t true.
I am not in favour of the ban, especially because in my opinion, it is going to to little to prevent terrorist acts in the US. However, I feel that the President of the US is entitled to decide, on the basis of the information he has, who to let into the United States. Moreover, I have heard repeated statements from the govt. that this is a temporary move while they try and figure out effective vetting mechanisms. One official even candidly admitted that the move might fail and that they’ll be happy to revoke it if that happens to be the case.
Apart from the fact that the ban won’t really do much, my real worry is the continuous assassination of Trump by the left wingers. Sure, he is a petulant idiot, but that doesn’t mean that Islamism and Jihad are not a pressing problems of our times. Simply because Trump has the audacity to do what he has, however ill-conceived it might be, doesn’t mean that Islam suddenly becomes sexy and Hijaabs start signifying emancipation! The self-righteous left does not have a monopoly over defining so-called ‘American values’; it is extremely funny to see American Muslims endlessly tirade against Trump on completely biased news channels such as CNN.
Outside JFK airport, there were protestors (presumably Hillary voters if not outright Democrats) holding placards such as ‘No Racism’ or no ‘Islamophobia’ etc. which for me were completely off the mark. Islam isn’t a race! The seven countries that are impacted encompass three races: Indo-Aryans, Arabs, and Africans. There is nothing called Islamophobia. There is clearly a correlation between Islam and Islamic terrorism, and pointing that out doesn’t make me a phobic; in fact it makes you a truth phobic if you can’t stand me talking about it. It is weird and disturbing that despite much havoc caused by Muslim terrorists in the world, the onus seems to be on people like us to clarify that we don’t hate all Muslims! No truly secular person does, but that doesn’t mean we stop critically challenging Islam, just as we challenge any other idea.
There was another women’s rally that happened in the US and across the western world led by a woman named Linda Sarsour. This turned from being a women’s rights march into an anti-Trump, and worse yet, pro-Shariah rally. It is hilarious to see left wing feminists campaign for the ‘right of women to wear a Hijaab’ and the ‘right of Muslims to be governed by Shariah’. Not one of them know what constitutes the Shariah. Some notable punishments under Shariah law include stoning a woman to death for adultery, allowing men to have four simultaneous wives, 1/3rd rights to inheritance for women, unequal treatment to a testimony made by a woman in court, cutting of the hands of thieves, killing of people who choose to leave Islam etc.
Linda Sarsour went on to reveal her true colors. She tweeted against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a great liberal atheist feminist, whose story has inspired millions of women, that read:
Ayaan was subject to the inhuman practice of Female Genital Mutilation, and here is a leader of the western world’s feminist movement ‘wanting to take her vagina because she’s not a woman’. This tweet has been archived so that Linda can’t get away with it. This is what feminism has come to today, and these are the people who represent the liberal point of view. For me it is depressing to have jokers like Trump (and worse are his supporters) on one hand and women like Linda on the other. If we talk about Islamo-facism, we are deemed to be right wingers, where as the right wingers are keen to curtail a woman’s right to choose whether she wants to have a baby in her womb or not! There e is no truly secular, liberal and honest voice left.
Coming back to the ban and the issue of Islamic terrorism, hypothetically, if a country (I’d say advanced country) today could have no Muslims in it’s territory, it would be less likely to suffer from terrorism. In fact, developed countries with low Muslim populations are far more peaceful than their counterparts with high Muslim populations (think Japan vs. France). I don’t care about the argument that certain terrorists were Muslims born in the country or who flew in a plane; they were Muslims in most cases, and almost without exception, claimed divine inspiration in their acts of terror. Of course, this is an untenable policy for a number of reasons, but Trump has dared to challenge the status quo, and for that he deserves credit. He calls a spade a spade, although I don’t think he knows much about Islam or the threat of Islamic terrorism.
Another premise I take objection to is this common notion that ‘Trump is playing into ISIS’ hands’ or ‘This is what exactly THEY want’ etc., and how steps like this one will encourage more Muslims to join ISIS and the like, and therefore is a bad move. This is often said even when someone mentions the term ‘Islamic Jihad’ or points out that there is a problem in the Islamic world and its doctrines that needs to be sorted out. I find it a bizarre and illogical argument that speaking freely and truthfully about an issue will give rise to more terrorists who would want to kill that speaker! According to them, a Muslim software engineer is now more likely to join the ISIS because of a statement made by Trump or Geerth Wilders, and will therefore pick up an AK47 instead of a computer mouse and start killing people. If that is indeed the case, then he was a terrorist in hibernation in the first place, who was just in the guise of an engineer.
Anyway, my concern, and that of many millions of liberal atheists, is that religion-dictated behavior is a threat all around. From ISIS to denying climate change, it is the religious people who are causing the most havoc in the world, and not just that, are often preventing constructive work. In this particular ban’s case, it is funny because the Christian right wing in the US has banned certain people who share large parts of their religion with them (Islam is virtually a copy paste job of the Jewish scriptures). On the other hand, why people like me are hesitant to stand with the liberal left is because they seem to be disconnected with the reality of religion-incited violence and often romanticize religious oppression, especially in the case of Islam, as some sort of exotic cultural trait.
I am in support of Trump’s suggestion that priority must be given to Christian refugees from Syria and Iraq. I’d like this policy to say minorities, but it makes perfect sense to do so, because their faith is not antithetical to American values (which IMO Islam is). In fact, I’ve long argued that Hindu and Sikh refugees from Bangladesh and Pakistan should be given priority for rehabilitation in India for similar reasons. I don’t deny that there are thousands of Muslims who are potentially normal hardworking refugees, but I’d like to first see the OIC and the Arab league do more to rehabilitate them inside their borders before expecting the US or Europe to open their doors on the basis of values that Islam opposes! Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s richest countries and one that needs labour, hasn’t even taken a single refugee from Syria even though the refugees are all Arabs and Sunni Muslims in most cases. What’s even more telling is that these refugees risk their lives to reach Europe but don’t even ATTEMPT to enter Saudi Arabia or Qatar for that matter!
It might sound that I am in favor of the ban, but I am not. The reason I am not in favor is the fact that it is biased and will be totally ineffective. Let us understand why is this the case. First and foremost, the ban doesn’t include countries that are the worst exporters and sponsors of Islamic terrorism, viz. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and to a lesser degree Qatar and Yemen. Although I know the reasons why the US could not have banned Saudi or even Pakistani nationals (they are both allies of the US), it does render the ban ineffective. Take for example the fact that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabians. Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi Arabian. San Bernadino killer was a Pakistani, whereas the butcher of Florida was of Afghan origin. In fact, not even one terrorist attack has been carried out on US soil by any national of the 7 banned countries.
That is not to say that the 7 banned countries have no Islamic terrorists. They certainly do, especially Sudan, Somalia and to some extent Iraq. But because it was nearly impossible for a national of these countries to enter the US anyway, a total ban won’t make any difference as such. I am itching to turn my attention to Iran, which is a complete outsider in this list of terrorism friendly countries. Iran has a special place in my heart because it is my second home and is a country I know inside out. Moreover, both Iraq and Syria, while not beacons of human progress, were far from being extremist countries before the US invaded the former and plotted to overthrow the ruler of the latter.
The first thing that strikes a neutral observer is that Iran is the only non-Arab country on the list. Isn’t it strange that you’ve got 6 Arab countries on the list, and then you’ve got the only country that challenges Arabian dominance in the middle east on the same list! It is a mathematical error to have Iran and Iraq in any common list; they hate each other! It is like having India and Pakistan (or Russia and the US) on one list, which isn’t possible because we can’t be on the same page on any issue by the very nature of our relationship. The same is true in Iran’s case when it comes to it’s perspective about Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. For example, Iran is a leading force in fighting the ISIS, and if it wouldn’t have been for the hostility with the US, it would have been heavily involved in defeating ISIS. Now, Iran is ruled by some very bad people (incidentally, the supreme leader of Iran is also a self-declared Arab) and is very hostile towards the US, but the Iranian people are the most progressive and intellectually forward thinking people in the world, not just in the middle east.
You’ve got 6 countries that have basically no contribution to mankind and then you’ve got Iran, which has almost single handedly (along with India) offered a saving grace to the Islamic world (by virtue of its pre-Islamic past of course). The first woman to win a Field medal in Mathematics is an Iranian in America! I tweeted to Donald Trump asking him to point out the last time an Iranian was involved in a terrorist attack anywhere in the world, let alone in America, and that he won’t be able to because they were busy studying at MIT. In fact, majority of Iranians are eager to escape the clutches of their Mullah regime and Islam on the whole. The leading liberal-feminist voices in Europe are Iranian women in Maryam Namazie and Mina Ahadi. It isn’t a matter of coincidence that they are Iranian and not Sudanese or Pakistani.
Under the previous regime (Obama), the US had a clear policy of differentiating between the Iranian people and the Iranian state, and that is why, despite extremely hostile relations, thousands of brilliant Iranian students were able to pursue higher education in the US each year. US afforded a safe haven to Iranians who fundamentally opposed their Mullah regime and a Islamic world view on the whole, and quite successfully too.I’d go to the extent of saying that an Indian Muslim is as likely to be a terrorist as an Iranian one, if not more. Having Iran on this list clearly proves that the list was dictated by Saudi Arabia, which while exempting itself, managed to add its regional rival to it.
There are millions of Iranians in America who are citizens of the US and of Iran, simply because Iranian law makes it impossible to revoke one’s citizenship. All of these people are now clubbed with people who are actually hostile to the US and its values, like the Pakistanis. Not to mention the hardships they’d face in visiting family etc. because on one hand the US is casting aspersions on them because they are dual citizens, and on the other, Iran will treat them as spies simply for having obtained American citizenship, which is seen as siding with the enemy. A very sad state indeed.
There were people in many parts of the world who expected Trump to be ‘harsh on Islamic terror’, but I had predicted that he would do no more than pay lip service to it. This move is a perfect example of a PR exercise, where in his support base thinks he has done ‘what he promised to’, whereas he’s done something that will neither make American safer, nor nip Islamic extremism in the bud. It will be interesting to see if Pakistan is added to the list (my prediction is that it won’t be), what happens to this ban after the 90 day period expires, and what happens to the Iranian nuclear deal.