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Don’t Play Into Trump’s Hands on the Muslim Ban


Don’t Play Into Trump’s Hands on the Muslim Ban

Dina El-Rifai

I’m a Muslim woman and a social justice advocate.

I’m terrified, heartbroken, and outraged by Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban.” As I watched administrative chaos and rapidly organized protests unfold at airports all over America, I was overwhelmed with messages from friends fearing they’d never be able to see their loved ones again.

Though the executive order doesn’t use these exact words, this is no doubt a Muslim ban.


This is a complex situation. The vast majority of Muslims seem to be ordinary type people similar in many ways to the vast majority of Christians and Jews and non-believers. But certainly Wahhabism seems to be an interpretation of Islam which represents a threat to all types of people. Although many members of ISIS and al-Qaeda probably are not really religious it is difficult to determine what extent religion plays a role in these violent groups. Trump's ban will probably be found to illegal in the courts and it looks like it will go to the Supreme Court. And certainly because of the way refugees are vetted they don't pose any substantial risk and the ban has no real use but only seems intended to whip up Islamophobia among the right wingers who seem to thrive on fear and hate directed at people who are not like them.


"...... but only seems intended to whip up Islamophobia among the right wingers who seem to thrive on fear and hate directed at people who are not like them."
Especially the paranoid "Christian" evangelicals, who actually face exponentially greater risks of being maimed or killed in traffic accidents.


Americans welcome immigrants and refugees who are wealthy and can promise to establish a business here that hires at least a certain number of Americans. What they fear more than "terrorism" is that some of these refugees will not succeed in being able to provide for themselves and their families. As it is, we don't have jobs for all. The last I heard, there are 7 jobs for every 10 jobless who still have the means to pursue one (home address, phone, etc.).

If more people come to the US, and they get jobs, it means more American who desperately need jobs will simply be dumped. This is a country that has no mercy on the jobless poor.


Another stereotype of "the good Muslim" in play here is applied to those who assisted US occupiers in their home countries.

Such actions are deemed heroic. After all, we're the good guys.

Of course, those propagating this meme often don't portray the US as such, reflecting the undeniable reality.

So, two plus two ends up equaling forty-one. Many who righteously decry imperialism posit those who made common cause with it as somehow virtuous.

There is doubtless a profound hypocrisy in the harm done to these persons on the basis of their religion and nationality after having been promised benefits based on their "service", and there are a variety of reasons why such "service" was performed, including seeking protection from sectarian violence.

Some could be said to have betrayed their fellow countrypersons, having been in league with an invader who wreaked death and destruction across their land. That's a topic for another time.

My focus here is on the ease with which some opponents of this vile regime abandon their proclaimed resistance to US militarism in an effort to denigrate it, whether that involves iconizing "those who risked their lives for our troops", or, as El-Rifai alludes to, joined the military themselves.

We don't have to forsake our principles to make plain a lack of same.


Exactly. This Muslim ban actually affects a rather small number of people that distracts from the issues that you have raised- not enough jobs for the people who are here already.


These evangelicals are like delicate little flowers who would faint if they had to be in the same room as anyone who is different- not a good way to be in life.


Thank you Ms El-Rifai.
I have recently moved to MN, with a large Somali community here in the Twin Cities.
The most fierce advocates of nipping the potential radicalization of young people here, are the women in the Somali community at large.


All religions have their politicians masquerading as priests, rabbis and mullahs using religion as a way to control congregations and thus gain personal power in a hierarchical system. Which is why good ol' Jesus got nailed up on a cross.He was silly enough to say that one doesn't need to belong to a church to go to heaven.

Wahhabism is just another power structure using a creed to control people. I have no doubt that there are fine priest, rabbis and mullahs who work for their congregations and help people; but the "churches"? The good that religion does is done in spite of its church's hierarchy and power structure.

As for risk in the USA; I would be more scared of being shot by a cop for a minor traffic infringement than of being blown up by a terrist.


Ask the Spanish of the 1920s-1930-1940s as to how good the Catholic Church was at suppressing education, free-thinking and indeed making a living if one were poor.

Why do you surmise that that woman could not read or write? Did you ask her? Can you write in Arabic?

I trust that you will be attacked only by young white males.

One of the most terrifying things I heard in the USA was the southern states airline pilot, whose guest I was that Christmas, saying, after a beer or two,"'Let's go out and kill some niggers". True. I reassured myself that he was only joking.


ZThanks for these important thoughts, Ms. El-Rifal. Islam, like any world religion, is a culture and tradition that inspires many interpretations, and will inspire more in the future. Those who judge Islam by Wahhabism ought to read some of the great poets like Rumi, Hafiz or Kabir to get a sense of how the tradition encourages a sense of a loving and even playful God - or delve deeper into Sufism to see how an almost pantheistic mysticism can find a home in the tradition. A God, by the way, who doesn't insist on head coverings or avoiding good wine!

As to the "terrorism" which almost all Americans seem to think of as something alien and inhuman, it is simply the classic tactic of a weak group at war with a much stronger group. My grandfather who grew up in the days of the 1916 Easter Rebellion in Ireland always said that we Irish invented terrorism. After seeing what British artillery did to those rebels who seized central Dublin armed only with rifles, the IRA turned to a policy of assassinating policemen and others loyal to the Crown, avoiding any pitched battle until finally the Brits agreed to negotiate. Faced with the overwhelming force of US and Israeli weapons over the past many decades, it is no surprise to find some in the Islamic world turning to the old Irish method of murdering innocent people.

If the Brits continued to use their army to keep down the Irish, terrorism would have continued throughout Ireland for all of this past century, instead of only some of those hundred years. If the US shuts its borders entirely yet continues to wipe out, or subsidize he wiping out, of Yemeni, Afghan, Syrian or Palestinian villages whether by commandos, drone or bulldozer, what Trump likes to call islamic terrorism will continue by one means or another.

If a stronger and bigger person keeps beating on any other person, no matter how small or weak, that person will always find a way to hurt his victimizer. This is a lesson nearly all of us fully understand and yet very few of us can apply it to international or national politics.