Intolerance and discrimination against Muslims is not new, but manifestations of these phenomena have been on the rise in recent years, especially in the pre and post Presidential election of 2016. Muslims have experienced verbal harassment and many have become targets of hate speech, violent attacks and religious profiling.
Racism against Muslims has come to the forefront ever since Donald Trump ran for President. During his campaign he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what’s going on.” This was followed by a Travel Ban for Muslims and refugees from 7 countries which was shut down after it was determined this was unconstitutional. His ban, however, was no surprise considering all the Muslim bashing he did during his campaign. It is fueled by white nationalism which is an inherently racist, violent and regressive ideology that’s prefaced on a belief in the racial and cultural superiority of “white” or “European-American” civilization. In many ways, Trump’s inaugural address was a white nationalist manifesto. As such, his actions since taking office should not be a surprise. He has issued executive orders barring Muslim refugees from entering the U.S., while giving preferential treatment to Christians.
Even though anti-Muslim sentiment has been a reality for decades, especially post-9/11 – there has never been a more open and blatant attempt to marginalize the Muslim community. More concerning than Trump’s overarching rhetoric, are the actual people he’s bringing in to staff his cabinet. Many of whom are closely aligned with Islamophobic hate groups in America, and are seeking to curb the civil liberties of the Muslim community.
So whose fault is it that the paranoia, racism and hatred is growing among Muslims? Trump’s rhetoric is enhancing hate crimes against Muslims and is making many Muslims in the U.S. fearful. Trump’s policy advisers have discussed a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus refused to rule out such a registry when speaking on NBC’s “Meet The Press”. These officials are not just talking about a registry; they are attacking an entire faith. Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn, has said that a fear of Muslims is rational. When ABC’s Martha Raddatz asked Preibus whether the President-elect agrees with Flynn’s statements that Islam is not a real religion, but a political ideology masked behind a religion, Preibus said “clearly there are some aspects of that faith that are problematic.”
This is a huge departure from the approach America has taken since that tragic day on Sept. 11, 2001. Up until now, Republicans and Democrats alike have made it clear that the fight is against terrorism, not Islam itself. Some in the media say that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a registered Democrat, is already having a moderating effect on Trump. There has been a recent shake up in the White House, Kushner and Bannon have had ongoing conflicts and differences of opinions. Steve Bannon has been recently demoted from his post in the National Security Council.
The King of Jordan, said, on his recent US visit: “There are thousands of Muslims who proudly call themselves Americans, and they know what I know — that the Muslim faith is based upon peace and love and compassion.”