Dec 29 2016
MUSIC TO OUR EARS: What Muslims are saying about President-elect Trump’s proposed choices for his cabinet
Muslims are whining that Trump appointees seem to have a deep understanding that we are in a “Clash of Civilizations: For Trump’s people, everything comes down to Islam vs Christianity.” (Not just Christianity, Islam is at war with every other religion as well as different sects of Islam)
PasteMag With less than one month before Donald Trump takes office, the battle lines are clear. To Trump and his inner circle, it’s white Christian America against Islam. And that’s troubling for American Muslims.
“Aside from all the rhetoric that we heard from Trump during the campaign season, the most troubling thing looming on the horizon is his choice of cabinet members and advisers,” Imraan Siddiqi told Paste recently. Siddiqi is the Executive Director of CAIR and the founder of the anti-Islamophobia group Hate Hurts. Paste contributor Roqayah Chamseddine also weighed in.
“Muslim Americans have already faced a security state that’s swiftly closed in around them,” Chamseddine said. “A Trump administration that’s now brimming with anti-Muslim ideologues means that Muslims are now facing even more trying times.” (One can only hope)
During Trump’s campaign, the billionaire’s appeals to xenophobia and ‘othering’ of Muslims was a constant theme. Trump bragged about his plans to slaughter the families of terrorists— a term that has its own issues— and his plans to create a Muslim registry. All this worked to fire up a vocal minority of Americans, sufficient to give Trump the electoral college victory (if not the popular vote).
Trump’s National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, has often expressed his antipathy to Islam. During Flynn’s time at the Defense Intelligence Agency and after, tweeted out anti-Islamic rhetoric like “Fear of Islam is RATIONAL” and setting the stage for a battle between the West and Islam. The general’s beliefs were clearly stated in July when he said in an interview with Yahoo News that, “Islam is a political ideology based on a religion.”
Trump’s proposed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, agrees. In February, Carson wondered how Muslims could accept US values, given that it would be, in his view, an ideological conflict. Only a “schizophrenic” Muslim could possibly balance the two, he said. “I don’t see how they can do it otherwise, because you have two different philosophies,” Carson said.
That’s not all. Carson also doesn’t trust Muslims in any positions of government, he said last year. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson said in a 2015 appearance on Meet the Press.
“People like General Michael Flynn have openly espoused anti-Muslim hate on social media and are part of spreading virulent Islamophobic conspiracy theories,” Siddiqi said. “Ben Carson said during his candidacy that Islam isn’t compatible with the Constitution – and sadly a large number of Americans believe in this hateful rhetoric.”
Flynn’s Deputy KT MacFarland, a former official in Ronald Reagan’s Department of Defense, has similar views. MacFarland has been a constant critic of the Muslim faith and frequently conflated the religion and terrorism during her appearances on FOX News.
MacFarland described the War on Terror as, “a war on the scale of WWII” in the wake of the Orlando shootings in June. In other words, MacFarland believes that the current US struggle against random bombings, shootings, and other acts of violence that happen relatively frequently on US soil is directly analogous to a global war with six major superpowers fighting across most of the Northern Hemisphere and into the Southern.
Trump has also met with a disturbing number of famed so-called ‘Islamophobes’ over the past month and a half. Frank Gaffney, whose Center for Security Policy is reviled by CAIR as a hotbed of hate and conspiracy, has been advising Trump on national security.
Perhaps Gaffney will tell Trump where all the members of the Muslim Brotherhood in D.C. are, Gaffney believes the terror-linked organization has taken over the US government. (It has)
“Having people with such biased positions definitely puts the Muslim community at risk of an increased level of targeting by the state,” Siddiqi said, “as well as a risk of being targeted by hate crimes.”
Colonel Allen West was seen at Trump Tower on Dec. 5. It’s believed that the firebrand could be up for Undersecretary of Defense.
West’s hopes for the position may have been complicated by a Facebook post calling for the extermination—yes, extermination—of all Muslims earlier this month, though with Trump that may end up a net positive for West. (West didn’t post this, a staffer did, referring to ISIS)
“This rhetoric is impactful, especially as it comes from figures who are now going to be influencing domestic and foreign policy,” said Chamseddine.
All is not lost, Chamseddine says. “As hopeless and things feel, there is potential to harness this justifiable fear and anger and turn it into mobilization,” she said. “We have to organize, not just as Muslims, but alongside our diverse communities. We’re in this together.”