Donald Trump for “Total and Complete
Shutdown” of Muslim entry to U.S.
Dr. Mozammel Haque
There will be Presidential elections in the United States in 2016. Donald Trump is the Republican forerunner candidate. He is a billionaire business tycoon. His plan is to ban Muslims from entering United States which raised denunciation, condemnation from the head of states to the ordinary people irrespective of race, colour and religion throughout the length and breadth of the globe. This was the talk of the town, became a household discussion and debate in the media both printed and electronic and debated in the broadcasting media, in the BBC Channel 4, Question Time in BBC Channel one and Newsnight in the BBC Channel Two.
In this column I will try to present briefly the reaction and response from within the United States both from Republican and Democratic Party and the American Muslim. Similarly, what is the response of the world leaders to this proposal? Another question was raised: block Mr. Trump coming to the United Kingdom? And what decision was taken.
Donald Trump Plan
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” on Monday evening in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack and hours before a campaign rally on the USS Yorktown, a second world war aircraft carrier berthed near Charleston, South Carolina.
Jessica Glenza reported from New York to The Guardian, “Trump proposed the “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims’ entry into the United States on Monday evening, hours before a campaign rally on the USS Yorktown, a second world war aircraft carrier berthed near Charleston, South Carolina. The statement came in response to a shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people. The FBI is investigating the massacre as an act of terrorism inspired by ISIS. Trump remains the frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.”
This inflammatory statement provoked condemnation from across the political spectrum and has spurred international controversy and condemnation from many with the Republican party. Democrats, Muslim leaders, the UN and foreign leaders criticised the call as dangerous and divisive.
World Leaders Response
So inflammatory was this Donald Trump’s statement, prominent world leaders felt the need to respond; in France, Prime Minister, Manuel Valls wrote in Twitter: “Mr. Trump, like others, fuels hatred.” In Israel where Trump was due to visit within weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made this statement: “The Prime Minister rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims.” In Great Britain, UK Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed his position as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron calls Trump comments as “Divisive, unhelpful and quite wrong”. His comments are part of global backlash – Carl Bildt, “A West with the public discourse driven by the extremist voices of a Le Pen or a Trump risks taking us into a civilization war.” Even from Harry Potter J.K.Rowling – “How horrible. Voldamort was nowhere near as bad.”
Matt Dathan online political reporter wrote in The Independent , “Leaders across the political spectrum in the UK united in condemnation of Mr Trump's latest controversial comments. Labour's candidate for London Mayor Sadiq Khan, himself a Muslim, said he hoped Mr Trump's campaign "dies a death. His Conservative rival, Zac Goldsmith, described Mr Trump as "one of the most malignant figures in modern politics," adding: "I hope his campaign ends in absolute disaster." Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, took to Twitter to voice her dismay:
Mayor of London
Matt Dathan also reported, “Boris Johnson has hit out at Donald Trump for his “ill-informed comments” calling for Muslims to be banned from the United States” to ensure the country does not end up with “radicalised” no-go area like London. He described Mr Trump's remarks as "complete and utter nonsense" and invited Mr Trump to visit the capital to experience the work of UK police officers in local neighbourhoods across the city.”
"As a city where more than 300 languages are spoken, London has a proud history of tolerance and diversity and to suggest there are areas where police officers cannot go because of radicalisation is simply ridiculous," the Mayor of London said. "I would welcome the opportunity to show Mr Trump first hand some of the excellent work our police officers do every day in local neighbourhoods throughout our city. “Crime has been falling steadily both in London and in New York - and the only reason I wouldn't go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.” Reported in The Independent.
UN refugee agency UNHCR said it was concerned that the rhetoric was putting an "incredibly important" resettlement programme for vulnerable Syrian refugees at risk.
Reaction from Within the U.S.
The White House promptly responded to Trump’s call. “We should be making it harder for ISIL to portray this as a war between the United States and Islam, not easier,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to President Obama. “It’s totally contrary to our values as Americans. . . . It’s also contrary to our security.” Time magazine reported.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest later challenged the Republican Party to denounce the leading candidate, and said that the proposal "disqualifies him from serving as president". Mr Earnest said that the Trump campaign had a "dustbin of history" quality to it, calling the candidate a "carnival barker" with "".
The Republican Party
Mr Trump's proposed ban prompted a horrified reaction from Republicans and others.
Most senior Republican legislative members distance themselves from their leading candidate’s comments. “This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly what this country stands for.” Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives said on 8th December 2015
Ed Pilkington reported in the Guardian on 8 December, 2015, Trump’s remarks immediately drew condemnation from Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, who tweeted: “@realdonaldtrump removes all doubt: he is running for President as a fascist demagogue.” Other politicians on both sides of the aisle quickly followed suit including former vice president Dick Cheney.
Jessica Glenza reported in the Guardian, “Prominent Republicans from across the spectrum have condemned Trump’s proposals. Former US vice-president Dick Cheney said barring Muslims from entering the country “goes against everything we stand for and believe in”, in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.”
Republican presidential rival Lindsey Graham said: “What has been in the past absurd and hateful has turned dangerous.” He told the Guardian: “Donald Trump today took xenophobia and religious bigotry to a new level. His comments are hurting the war effort and putting our diplomats and soldiers serving in the Middle East at risk. The way to win this war is to reach to the vast majority of people in Islamic faith who reject Isil and provide them the capability to resist this ideology. Ed Pilkington reported,
Ed Pilkington also added, “Today’s statement embraces a ‘fortress America’ approach, is doomed to fail and shows a complete lack of understanding by Donald Trump as to what the war is all about. As to interpreters and others who have helped American military in Iraq and Afghanistan, this policy, if enacted, would be a death sentence.”
Among his rivals, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush called Trump "unhinged"; Ohio Governor John Kasich called his statement "outrageous divisiveness", while Florida Senator Marco Rubio called it "offensive and outlandish". Former US Vice President Dick Cheney said Trump's statement "goes against everything we stand for and believe in".
Democrats were direct in their condemnation. Former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley called Trump a “fascist demagogue”. And Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton called the proposal “reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive”. “This makes us less safe,” the candidate said on Twitter.
Lauren Gambino reported in The Guardian on Friday, 11 December, 2015, Hillary Clinton has condemned Donald Trump, calling him shameful, dangerous and declaring: “I no longer think he’s funny.”
“I think for weeks, you know, you and everybody else were just bringing folks to hysterical laughter and all of that,” Clinton told the host. “But now he has gone way over the line. And what he’s saying now is not only shameful and wrong – it’s dangerous.”
Trump’s rhetoric was harming the nation’s ability to fight the rise of the Islamic State, feeding the group “propaganda” it could use to recruit, Clinton said. “This latest demand that we not let Muslims into the country really plays right into the hands of the terrorists,” she said.
“I don’t say that lightly, but it does. He is giving them a great propaganda tool, a way to recruit more folks from Europe and the United States. And because it’s kind of crossed that line, I think everybody and especially other Republicans need to stand up and say ‘Enough, you’ve gone too far.’”
US President Obama
In this connection it is most important to mention President Obama’s remarks on Muslims. Following is the highlights from the President’s rare address from the Oval Office.
“We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam,” Obama said. “That, too, is what groups like Isil want. Isil does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers. Part of a cult of death. And they account for a tiny fraction of a more than a billion Muslims around the world, including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology.
“Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors. Our co-workers. Our sports heroes. And, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country,” he added. “We have to remember that.”
Response from American Muslims
Trump’s threat was met with perplexed anger on the part of prominent Muslim American groups. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the largest such group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said on Twitter: “Where is there left for him to go? Are we talking internment camps? Are we talking the final solution?”
Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, "Donald Trump sounds more like a leader of a lynch mob than a great nation like ours,'' adding "These are not just words... Trump and Carson's mainstreaming of Islamophobia in the election is inciting discrimination, hate crimes, violent attacks against Muslims and mosques."
Jessica Glenza reported to The Guardian, Trump’s latest proposal “sounds more like a fascist leader of the 40s than a man who is running to be the leader of a civilized nation like the United States”, said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in an opinion piece for the Guardian, suggesting a comparison between Trump and Adolf Hitler. Ahwad called on Republicans to condemn Islamophobia, as President Obama did in a rare Sunday evening address from the Oval Office.
Sadiq Khan, London Mayoral Candidate
Donald Trump’s comments are no joke – they are helping to fuel a wave of hate crime that, as I know from my own experience, makes all of us less safe, Sadiq Khan, London Mayoral candidate said, ‘The number of Islamophobic incidents recorded by the Metropolitan police increased by 70% over the past year alone.’
Mr. Khan wrote in The Guardian on Friday, 11 December, 2015, “It’s too easy to dismiss Donald Trump as a buffoon – to point and laugh at a man whose worldview is as ridiculous as his hairdo. But to do so is to make light of a very serious threat.
Trump is just the latest public figure to articulate a growing wave of Islamophobia across the western world. His shocking views justify the actions of those who commit hate crimes and worse, play into the hands of terrorists such as Daesh (Islamic State) – making Britain less safe.
Islamophobia is on the rise. The number of Islamophobic incidents recorded by the Metropolitan police increased by 70% over the past year alone. Every time there is a terrorist incident involving evil fanatics who abuse the name of Islam ordinary, law-abiding Muslims pay a heavy price.
The most striking thing was the outpouring of anger from the British people and press – saying loudly and clearly that we will not tolerate Islamophobia in this country. Yet the views articulated by Trump encourage and legitimise those who commit hate crimes.
And worse – they play straight into the hands of terrorists such as Daesh and make us less safe. Young British Muslims become more susceptible to radicalisation and extremism when we don’t give mainstream Muslims the confidence to challenge the extremists, and because British society is too segregated.
The growing wave of Islamophobia that will be fuelled by Trump’s comments makes these problems worse. Being subjected to Islamophobic abuse makes integration less likely, and amplifies the views of the extremists rather than the mainstream. It’s divisive and dangerous and puts British lives at risk.
We must do more to challenge Islamophobia. As mayor of London, I’ll make tackling hate crimes – including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and homophobia – a top priority for the Metropolitan police and ensure they get the resources they needs to make a real difference. I’ll work with the police and community organisations to improve the way we report and record Islamophobic crimes – so we have the best possible information to act on.”
The Guardian editorially wrote, “Mr Trump’s announcement following the San Bernardino shooting that he wants to bar all Muslims from entering America is shocking. It is close to lynch mob politics. It is also, as it happens, almost certainly unworkable in practice. Few doubt it would be struck down as unconstitutional on grounds of religious freedom. It would have a devastating effect on American community relations (a high proportion of US Muslims are African-Americans) and on the nation’s standing. It may also be a sign that Mr Trump is getting rattled by the Republican race. (The Guardian, editorial, 8th December 2015, modified on 9th December 2015)
It observed, “But there are no two ways about Mr Trump’s views. He is an Islamophobe. He wishes to make Islamophobia an organising principle of state policy. For a putative leader of a nation of immigrants to talk in this way is a watershed moment for the United States. In Mr Trump’s America, the famous words associated with the Statue of Liberty would have to be amended to welcome “your tired and huddled masses – but no Muslims”.”
The Guardian editorially mentioned, “It would be unhistorical to say that this is a total breach with America’s past. The US was founded on the principle that a black person was less of a human being than a white one. It passed a Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, and interned Japanese Americans during the second world war. But this would be the first time that a nation founded on the principle of religious freedom would have attempted to bar people on the grounds of faith rather their nationality. That is, in a resonant word, un-American. And it demands the kind of response to Mr Trump that Joseph Welch delivered to Joe McCarthy in a famous Washington hearing in1954: have you no sense of decency, sir?”
The Guardian observed in its editorial, “Mr Trump’s Islamophobia is a problem for everyone, non-Muslim as well as Muslim. It puts every attempt to build trust between the west and the Muslim world – and between Muslims and non-Muslims in the west – at risk. It undermines every American – whether an aid worker, business person, diplomat, journalist or tourist – who seeks to build trust and community with those outside the US on the basis of common humanity. If Mr Trump becomes president in January 2017 there could and should be no credible cooperation with his America in either the fight against jihadi terrorism or anything else involving Europe’s credibility with the Muslim world. He would be on his own. And so would we.”
Donald Trump will not be blocked
In Metro on 9th December 2015, it was reported under the caption: ‘Preacher of hate’ Trump risks UK ban: “The SNP’s trade and investment spokesman Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh said, “It is within the gift of the UK government to deny access to people who are hate preachers. Does what Donald Trump has said amount to hate preaching? I would suggest that it does, given that he has denounced an entire religion.”
Suzanne Kelly, a campaigner from Aberdeen whose petition to ban Donald Trump from the UK on the grounds of hate speech has acted as a lightning rod for public disgust at the US presidential candidate’s Islamophobia. Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent reported in The Guardian on Wednesday, 9 December 2015.
That petition to block Donald Trump has now got hundreds and thousands of signatures. By mid-morning of 9th December, 2015, more than 80,000 people had signed an online petition urging MPs to blacklist Mr. Trump. If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, which it appeared almost certain to by the end of the day then MPs will consider debating a ban on him.
Now the petition calling to ban Mr David Trump travelling to the UK has gathered 100,000 of signatures enough to ensure the Parliament to consider the issue a debate. 429,211 signatories believe Donald Trump should be banned from UK entry. The politicians were already crushing the government to act.
On 9th December 2015, Scotland National Party MP, Tasmina Ahmed- Sheikh, questioned in the House of Commons: “I understand that the Home Secretary has banned 84 hate preachers from entering the UK. Will the Government lead by example and consider making Mr Donald Trump the 85th? In reply to that, Chancellor George Osborne said, “I think that the best way to confront the views of someone like Donald Trump is to engage in a robust, democratic argument about why he is profoundly wrong about the contribution of American Muslims, and indeed British Muslims. That is the best way to deal with Donald Trump and his views, rather than trying to ban presidential candidates.”
It is learnt that the British government has signalled it will not refuse the US presidential candidate Donald Trump entry to Britain following his controversial comments about Muslims, despite a petition calling for a ban gathering nearly 225,000 signatures in 24 hours.
Earlier, Channel 4 presenter, Jon Snow interviewed Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn constituency. Ms. Siddiq said, “This is not only Donald Trump comment; it is disrespectful. They are also dangerous; but the truth is that we also have laws in this country that condemn hate rhetoric and for me Donald Trump comments are intrinsically hate rhetoric. For something hate rhetoric, we have banned 84 hate preachers last year coming into this country. Why should be there any difference for Donald Trump?”
MP for Hampstead and Kilburn constituency, Ms Siddiq, also mentioned Donald Trump is contesting for the most powerful job in the world. “What he has done is equated the entire Muslim population with the small group of people who are terrorists manipulate religion to suit their minds. If that is not hate rhetoric, I don’t know what it is. We make sure that we don’t allow people who preach hate into our country. Why should we be making an exception to someone, it is because he is billionaire, is it because he is politician; we do not accept people who are not conducive to the common good of the people here – that’s what the Home Office said that; not my word. His words are not conducive to the common good of the people in Britain.” Channel 4 on 9th December 2015.
Tulip Siddiq also mentioned, “There are 101 people we banned after the 7th July attack from coming this country because they were not in tune with the cohesiveness nature of our country. Many of them were Muslim hate preachers. We did not allow them in because they don’t share our values, they don’t fit in the community we have here, Donald Trump is that man.”
Ms Siddiq, MP also added, “These are not rule I am making up; these are not rule that MPs are making up. This is the law of the land. This is the Race and Relations Act 2006. No one should be above the low especially Donald Trump.”