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Trump, the Islamic State, and the Cliché of Civilizations


Trump, the Islamic State, and the Cliché of Civilizations

John Feffer

I was listening to a German parliamentarian the other night. She was making some anodyne comments about transatlantic friendship and the importance of culture. And then she veered off to mention the recent attacks in Paris and the threat of the Islamic State. This issue, she said, required an urgent response from the “free world.”

The audience murmured its approval.


Trump indulges in his Muslim bashing because giving the angry and the disaffected an outgroup to kick around is what fascists do best . Out of 1.7 billion Muslims in the world , it is easy to select a few rotten apples and hold them out as typical . He's already been there and done that with the Mexican migrants . Muslims make an even better target in his view . They're already feared and often hated by large numbers of Americans . They're resented for their wealth (the Saudis and the Arab emirates) . They're despised as teeming, poverty-stricken refugees (the Syrians) . They're vilified as demon worshippers by elements of the fundamentalist Christian community .
Muslims mainly are a recent immigrant group in the United States , so to many Trump followers , they're different , therefore scary - and bad . Observant Muslims are easily distinguishable by their beards , turbans and hijab , so they are easy targets for hate crimes . As long as Trump and others like him keep their followers' attention fixed on decoys picked out for them , they'll never question the system that gave Trump his wealth and keeps them mired in poverty (or one paycheck away from it !) with no safety net to catch them on their fall to the bottom .


I think you mean a taqiyah or skullcap because turbans are what Sikhs wear. They are also being attacked by those who think about turbans in this same way.


To buttress his declaration of war against the Islamic State, Levy invokes Victor Hugo:

"To these vile, ignorant men we must utter the beautiful
words that Victor Hugo exclaimed in September 1870, at the time of the
massacres of the Paris Commune: An attack on Paris is more than an
attack on France, it destroys the whole world. The only word to describe
these men is fascists.Better: Islamofascists".

The reference to the Paris Commune is a reference to the massacre of the Paris Communards (Frenchmen) by the French soldiers of the Napoloeon III's French government at the end of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870-71. How this relates to the terrorist attack in Paris recently is anyone's guess. Levy must be ignorant of history or just plain daft.