I know, another Trump blog post. I just can’t seem to get this guy out of my system. Every week, every day, he says or does something that just beggars my monotheistic beliefs. It truly is exhausting trying to keep up with the news of what Trump and Team Trump are up to, and he’s only been president for 2 weeks!
One of his more recent absurdities is this travel ban, which officially is not a Muslim ban but certainly feels like one, and it also feels like the start of much worse to come. I have no doubt it will extend to all countries, and it will change from temporary to indefinite to permanent.
Rather than focus on the legion of negatives surrounding this ban and all that it entails, I thought it better to try and find positives to uplift the soul and gladden the heart. In that mind the crumbs presented below will hopefully leave you feeling a wee bit more positive than you perhaps feel now. Or maybe it’s just me because yes, I know I recently did a blog post about positive things, yet here I am again trying to come up with some more, so I reckon this maybe more for my own spiritual sanity than for any other reason.
My sanity started to wane long before Trump said “Islam hates us”. After this he repeatedly mentioned his mantra of “radical Islamic terrorism”. Taken together these two statements mean that Trump thinks all Muslims are radical due to their inherent hatred of all things non-Islamic. He therefore feels justified in stopping Muslims coming to the USA. Once he has stopped Muslims coming in, he will then no doubt deal with the ones already here, and Allah alone knows what he plans in that regard. There is an irony to having this world view, as satirically pointed out by Mark Steel:
The argument the Jihadists make, is the West sees all Muslims as the enemy. So the best possible way to ensure that nonsense gets no support amongst Muslims is to ban everyone from Muslim countries from entering the country, on account of all Muslims being the enemy. To be fair Trump has proved himself liberal in some ways, by making exceptions to his ban, such as Saudi Arabia. This must be because it’s a whole 15 years since anyone from that country knocked over any towers, so it makes sense to let them off. – Mark Steel
What Trump and his cohorts do not realise about the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is that, as observed by Chandra Muzaffar, “the term itself is offensive since terror has no theological justification. It is condemned in the Qur’an as it is condemned in other religious texts.”
Since we are on the subject of slogans, I will let Bernard-Henri Levy shed some historical light on the incantation of another famous Trump slogan, “America First”:
Then there is that slogan, “America First.” It is astounding that those words have not turned stomachs across the American political spectrum. After all, as anyone with a modicum of historical and political awareness should know, “America First” was American Nazi sympathizers’ slogan in 1940, during Lindbergh’s time. It was the response thrown back at those who wanted the US to resist Hitler’s Germany. It was used to denounce the Jewish “warmongers” who were accused of placing their interests over the national interest. – Bernard-Henri Levy
Anyways, as much as one can, please enjoy…
Because of Trump the daughter of former president George W Bush recently reminded us of her father’s kind words about Islam…
Jenna Bush Hager, an NBC anchor and daughter of former President George W Bush, recently wrote a tweet referring to the kind words her father made on 17th September 2001, a few days after the tragedy of 9/11. Despite suffering the biggest terror attack in American history, the then president went to the Islamic Center of Washington DC and said the following:
The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war. When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that’s made brothers and sisters out of every race — out of every race. America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know. That’s not the America I value. I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America. Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior. – President George W Bush, 17th September 2001, at the Islamic Center of Washington DC
Some may argue that these words proved to be historically hollow as Bush, along with his British poodle Blair, went on to kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims in several Muslim countries, but at least this initial reaction by the then president was way more dignified than the behaviour of the current president, a president who clearly represents “the worst of humankind.”
Because of Trump people like Reza Aslan and J K Rowling are pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of some Republicans…
The Harry Potter author J K Rowling recently commented on the blatant hypocrisy of vice president Mike Pence. She reminded her Twitter followers that Pence in 2015 tweeted the following:
He has obviously since changed his mind, causing Rowling (the unofficial queen of Twitter) to remind Pence of the following Bible verse:
Expeliarmus indeed. Similarly Muslim author Reza Aslan recently reminded Senator Paul Ryan of his hypocrisy in the following emotionally defiant video message:
Dear speaker Ryan. I’m addressing this message to you because, from what everyone tells me, you seem to be a pretty reasonable guy. You’re smart, educated, you clearly love America, you’re a faithful person. I’m old enough now that I pretty much only judge people based on their relationship with their kids, and you seem to have a beautiful relationship with your kids, you have a wonderful family. And so I feel like I could maybe reason with you. When the big top is on fire you don’t complain to the clown, you complain to the manager. You’re the manager and the big top is on fire. Last year when you thought that Donald Trump was a con artist, a sexual predator who had no business being in the White House, you said that you would never tolerate something like a Muslim ban. You said that it would violate everything that America stands for. Well now the Muslim ban is in place and you were literally the first person in Congress to come out and support for it. And that got me thinking. See, I know a little bit about you. I know that your great-great-grandfather Jack Ryan and your great-great-grandmother Katherine Shea came to the United States from Ireland trying to escape the Irish famine. They had been living through it for six long years. They came to America to avoid starvation and death, and the country that they came to was profoundly anti-Irish and anti-Catholic. The Irish were called alcoholics, they were called illiterate and uneducated, filthy, dirty, untrustworthy. People said that you couldn’t possibly have loyalty to both the pope and the president. You couldn’t have loyalty to both the Vatican and the United States. The Irish were so untrustworthy that an entire political party was formed in the United States, the Know-Nothings. They ran for Congress, they even ran for president, basically on a platform of anti-Catholic and specifically anti-Irish sentiment. You know what their slogan was? It was “America First”. And yet your great-great-grandparents were allowed into this country. They faced bigotry, they faced xenophobia, but they had the constitution on their side. Their rights were protected, their political rights, their religious rights. And a few generations later out came you, the third most powerful man in America, the adult in the government. Well, not much has changed right now. Yeah, the refugees are different but they’re still trying to find a home, still trying to flee starvation and death and persecution. They’re people exactly like your great-great-grandparents, they’re people like my parents and like me, who came here so that we could have a better life, so that we wouldn’t be killed by our own government. And it seems like you’ve forgotten something, not just your words from last year, but you forgot your own identity, you forgot where you came from. I’m as American as you are, it’s just it took me 23 years to become American. And I remember so clearly when I took that oath, that vow of citizenship. I was asked a very simple question: will you protect this country from all threats, foreign and domestic? And I vowed that I would. Well, there is a threat to this country right now and he’s in the White House, and I’m asking you as a Christian, as an American, as a good man: what are you going to do about it? The pope just said that you cannot call yourself a Christian and turn away refugees, and turn your back on the hungry, and the weak, the orphaned, the needy, people like your great-great-grandparents. What’s your answer to that? I’m waiting, the entire country is waiting to hear from you. – Reza Aslan
Because of Trump many Muslims are working closer with non-Muslim groups than ever before…
Manal Omar, an American Muslim activist, on the Al Jazeera news channel recently spoke of a positive impact of Trump for us Muslims. She said there is now an overwhelming solidarity and intersectionality that has emerged directly in reaction to Trump and his executive orders. Omar said that the Muslim community has connected with Black Lives Matter, with scientists on climate change, with the women’s movement, and with the LGBTQ community, all in ways it never had done before.
This united front seems determined to protect American values through this much stronger intersectionality, both within the Muslim community and with those outside the Muslim community. Omar also went on to say that “the amount of solidarity that we have seen is from all across the board, it’s from every social movement, it is not restricted to Arabs and Muslims, and every fight that we have with the White House will represent all the intersectionality of the American people.”
Because of Trump many non-Muslims are publicly declaring that “we are all Muslims”…
In 2015, shortly after Trump announced his Muslim “shutdown”, Michael Moore wrote an open letter to Donald Trump in which he said:
I was raised to believe that we are all each other’s brother and sister, regardless of race, creed or color. That means if you want to ban Muslims, you are first going to have to ban me. And everyone else. We are all Muslim. – Michael Moore
This sentiment of now openly supporting Muslims has extended vastly, especially since the recent executive order. A recent example of this is from Norman Pollack:
We are all Muslims. Either that, or we shall be torn apart as a nation, given over to Trump-Republicans’ vomit of hate for all that defines human rights and a free society. – Norman Pollack
This point is further analysed by Bruce Feiler in a rather interesting CNN article:
Lost in the turmoil is one critical but overlooked benefit to all this upheaval: The president’s action — and the backlash that followed — are the biggest boon to interfaith relations in decades. The idea that thousands of people would take to the streets in impromptu, grass-roots protests to defend not their own religious traditions but those of a beleaguered minority is relatively unheard of in the long history of religion. That the religion being defended is not just any tradition, but one widely disparaged in recent years from pulpits and campaign platforms as evil incarnate makes it even more remarkable. Just look at the signs the protesters have been carrying: “FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE MUSLIMS…THIS TIME WE SAID, ‘HELL NO!'” “TODAY WE ARE ALL MUSLIM.” “STOP PRETENDING YOUR ISLAMOPHOBIA IS PATRIOTISM.” “JESUS WAS A REFUGEE.”…It would be hard to overstate how rare this ecumenical unanimity is. Religious leaders are not used to rallying to the defense of their rivals. – Bruce Feiler
Just like Muhammad Ali went from being one of the most hated figures in America to one of the most revered, it seems like Islam and Muslims has gone from being hated after 9/11 to now being supported and defended.
Because of Trump non-Muslims are being nice to Muslims like the comedian Hasan Minhaj at JFK Airport…
There are many times when people like Trump will try their utmost to lie, cheat, deceive, and hoodwink. They will try and do this through their various plots, plans, and schemes, which they cleverly relabel as ‘campaign promises’ or ‘executive orders’ or ‘bills’ that need to go through Congress.
To counteract this the Qur’an in various places speaks of how “Allah is the best of planners” (for example 3:54 and 8:30). In other words, people may wish to achieve a certain outcome but God, through His many mysterious ways, actually makes the outcome somewhat unexpectedly different.
An example of this is Trump’s desire to demonise Islam and Muslims. That was his aim but who would have thought that so many people would instead support Muslims, be they American born or refugees, as a direct result of Trump’s attitude towards Islam? Who would have thought that support for Muslims would extend to Jewish people giving Muslims the key to their synagogue after the town’s mosque was burnt down?
Whilst Bruce Feiler, in the quote above, spoke of an “overlooked benefit”, Hasan Minhaj similarly speaks of a “beautiful irony” in the following Daily Show clip:
Trevor: To comment on President Trump’s immigration ban, please welcome Hasan Minhaj, everybody! (cheering and applause) I’m sorry, Hasan. I’m just…I’m…Like, right now, I can’t even talk. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to all of a sudden have the United States label Muslims as inherently threatening, man.
Hasan: (chuckles) I’m not surprised. You know, in the past, America has had lots of issues with Muslims and immigration. You know, President Carter banned Iranians, Bush built a registry of immigrants from 24 Muslim countries, Obama suspended refugees from Iraq. But Trump is taking this thing to a whole new level. I mean, those other presidents were just dipping their toes in the pool. Now Trump straight-up did a cannonball and then felt up the lifeguard. And by the way, shout-outs to all my Republican friends who promised me Trump would never do this.
News clips of various Republicans: I don’t think any of the people who are screaming at the top of their lungs thinks for a moment that a literal interpretation would be Muslims…That’s not a real proposal. It’s not something that’s going to happen….I don’t think you can take a lot of that seriously…He’s not gonna ban all Muslims.
Hasan: What the (bleep)?! So we are getting banned?
Trevor: Well, Hasan, technically you’re a citizen, so this ban doesn’t affect you.
Trevor: Yet! We’re on day 11, man! That’s it! Where do you think this is gonna go?! It’s like watching the first episode of Breaking Bad thinking, “Oh, it’s just a science teacher cooking meth. It can’t get any crazier.” But it does!
Trevor: Well, Hasan, now, jokes aside — and this is completely true — you actually flew into JFK Airport this weekend, as Trump’s executive order was being implemented.
Hasan: That is correct. And I was scared that I wouldn’t be allowed back in.
Trevor: Wow. Where were you flying in from? Were you flying from Iran, Iraq or Syria or…?
Hasan: Sacramento, California, the Syria of the West.
Trevor: (laughing) Jokes aside though. On the real…you’re a Muslim person. You’re seeing this happening, You must really hate President Trump right now.
Hasan: Well, actually Trevor, I’m not sure. No, because usually being a Muslim in an airport sucks, but this weekend it was like I was The Weeknd. I mean, I land at JFK, I get to the arrivals section. Literally, three white people run up to me, hug me and say, “Thank you for being Muslim.” I’m 31 years old. That’s the first time anyone has thanked me for being Muslim.
Trevor: And what did you say to them?
Hasan: I said what any Muslim would say to them in that situation. “Do you know where Baggage Claim 5 is?” But how can I hate Trump right now? How do you do it? Just look at what he’s done at the airport. White women were turning their scarves into hijabs. Muslims were publicly praying, and people were cheering them on! Do you understand? Muslims publicly praying at the airport! Think about how crazy this is! (cheering and applause) Because of Donald Trump, people were being nice at the airport! Here’s the beautiful irony. For years, Donald Trump has been terrified about the spread of Islam in America. Well, congratulations Mr. President…(photo below is shown)
Hasan: …Mission accomplished.
Trevor: (laughter) Thank you, Hasan. Hasan Minhaj, everybody!