Trump and Extreme Vetting of Muslims

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

In an attempt at a foreign policy speech in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday, Donald Trump attempted to get back to his fearmongering roots by focusing on the threat of ISIL, which he depicted as a hydra-headed menace with tentacles in a range of Western countries including the US.

In fact, Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) is a relatively small organization that has been shrinking in both personnel and territory. It has lost its footholds in Diyala, al-Anbar and Salahuddin provinces in Iraq and a campaign against its remaining stronghold in that country, Mosul, by Kurdish and Shiite forces is now building. It is possible that it will be finished as a holder of territory in Iraq before the November election in the US. Likewise, in Syria, Daesh has just lost Manbij, which sits astride one of its major smuggling routes. It has also lost most of northern al-Raqqa province, the city of Palmyra, and other important real estate. In Libya, its fighters in Sirte have fled the city under US bombardment. As for Sinai, those are mistreated Sinai residents– some of them Bedouin tribes, who have been fighting the Egyptian army for some time and only declared themselves ISIL to gain the benefits of franchising, sort of like a local burger joint putting up golden arches and pretending it is a McDonald’s. The terrorism it has pulled off in Europe has been of the lazy soft-target variety, and while the deaths it has caused have been traumatic and are horrific, the incidents haven’t actually been a challenge to national security anywhere outside the Middle East.

Trump supported the interventions he now condemns, including the Iraq War and the no-fly zone in Libya, so his picture of a Middle East in flames as a result of President Obama’s policies is ignoring his own positions.

Trump said he wanted to ally with Russia against ISIL. De facto, that is an arrangement President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have already worked out.

Having tried to scare people with an ISIL clearly in rapid decline, he went on to bash ordinary Muslims again. He wants to exclude immigrants from “volatile” parts of the world, and wants to exclude those who question gay marriage e.g.

He called for extreme vetting of those admitted. But US visa procedures, unbeknownst to Trump, are already extremely strict. His vague addition of the modifier “extreme” to “vetting” won’t make them more strict.

He said,

“We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people. . . In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles – or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law. Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted.”

Sharia law is just Muslim religious law, akin to Roman Catholic canon law or Jewish religious law (Halakhah). It isn’t a substitute for the US constitution. Aside from a few countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, it isn’t even part of the constitution of most Muslim countries (Turkey’s constitution is based on that of Switzerland; even Tunisia’s party of the religious right, al-Nahda, declined to push for putting shariah in the Tunisian constitution; etc., etc.)

Would believing in these things religiously make you ineligible to come to the US?

Marriage age for girls of 12

Stoning adulterers to death.

Death penalty for gay sex

Burning at the stake for incest

If so, Trump would actually be excluding fundamentalist Jews from the US. Some American Jews are worried that Trump would exclude Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews from Israel.

Likewise, a lot of Ukrainians, who are also from a volatile part of the world, likely don’t subscribe to some of the values Trump wants to make litmus tests.

Trump hopes for a bounce in the polls via this ugly religious bigotry. I am hoping that Americans are better than that.


Related video:

PBS Newshour: “Trump reveals his national security plan — while Clinton says he doesn’t have one”

10 Responses

  1. The GOP has gone insane. All Trump has to do is feed his supporters headlines without details….Build a Wall….I’m Going to Bring Jobs Back….Bomb ISIL So Hard….Press is Corrupt…Hillary is Crooked…We’re Going to Have Such a Great Economy…..No Middle East Immigrants…I’ll Replace Obamacare with Something So Much Better….I’ll Rebuild the Military….and finally….I’m Going to Make America Great Again!!!

    Feel free to wipe face with palm.

  2. “Those…who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted.” It seems by these rules, Trump himself is not qualified to be in this country.

    • We all know the game. There’s only room for one brand of intolerant fundamentalism in a society; the one that’s already established there. So those bigots are the only ones who don’t have to take the exam. They can even demand that the language and laws be deformed to say it’s not bigotry when they alone do it. “Equality” is the degree of inequality that existed in 1950s America, which conveniently excludes alien practices.

    • Under the 14th Amendment Trump, having been born in the US, became a US citizen at birth and unfortunately can spout off as he wishes. Ironically, his “birther” stance attempted to deny President Obama the very constitutional guarantee that he himself enjoys. The irony would no doubt be lost on Trump.

  3. Can you imagine the damage someone like Trump would do trying to root out what he imagines is a vast jihadist network inside the United States? I would not want to fall into his hands.

    • Obviously, a real terrorist infiltrator would just lie on the exam. The point of the exam is the assumption that the “culture” of the immigrants will create terrorists after they get here and refuse to assimilate.

  4. Why is there no reporting in the American press about the over 30,000 members of the Ahmadiyya Islamic Movement who met at Oakland Farm on Hampshire, England for a 3 day convention to reject radical Islam? If this has been reported by an American major news outlet, then so be it, but this event will never come close to equaling the scale of news coverage that Donald Trump has received with his promise to truly vet all Muslims entering on to U.S. soil. If America were to fight the radical Takfiri, and gather the average normal thinking Muslim to it’s side, then together they could defeat this perverse version of what calls itself Islamic, and be done with it. What will result from Trump’s rhetoric will be a calling card for only more recruitment to add to the radical side of this religious culture. Incidentally, what Hillary advocates with her ‘no fly zones’ will be another calling card as well. Until the U.S. decides to focus solely on extinguishing these radicals, and deal with Assasd on a diplomatic level nothing much will change for the good.

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  5. ‘As with more and more aspects of contemporary Russia, the best explanation was offered more than half a century ago by Hannah Arendt, when she defined the true role of Stalin’s party purges: they were “an instrument of permanent instability.” The state of permanent instability, in turn, was the ultimate instrument of control, which sapped the energies and attention of all. The best way to insure being able to strike when it is least expected is to scramble all expectations. Perhaps that’s why Vayno’s “Protocol” turns the time-space continuum into a maze.’

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    The above article in the much declined New Yorker is caricatural and immanently unserious in almost every respect except in its applicability to the current state of American politics, which, as the article itself states, has come to be “monopolized by the state” and its multiplicative security agencies and apparatuses. Trump in light of this, would be a planned or propitious part of the “instrument of permanent instability” which allows paradoxically for the plutocratic state to prolong its decayed (geo)political hegemony, not least because of programmed instability’s ability to sap “the energies and attention of all.”

  6. If a Trump administration will make the issuance of visa to foreign scientists to come here and participate in research more difficult that might have a devastating effect on biological and medical research at our universities.

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