By Abdesalam Soudi
By Abdesalam Soudi
Pittsburgh – Donald Trump and the Republican National Convention (RNC) have been making news in the United States lately.
Amid the many faces and visitors to Cleveland, Ohio, was Hamid Chabat, the Secretary General of the Istiqlal Party (Independence Party), one of the major opposition political parties in Morocco. Telquel stated that he was there by invitation. As a Moroccan-American citizen and particularly as a Muslim immigrant living in the U.S, Mr. Chabat’s visit stood out to me for a number of reasons.
Donald Trump, now officially the Republican nominee for president, is well known for his racist and sexist statements regarding women, immigrants, Mexicans, and Muslims. He has suggested registering all Muslims currently in the US, banning Muslims from entering the United States, and has suggested that acts of terror perpetrated by radicals happen because other Muslims do not cooperate with law enforcement.
So why would Mr. Chabat visit the RNC, apparently supporting a man who speaks against Muslims and Arabs, and who would make us all culpable for the crimes of a few? Trump’s comments and attitudes conflict with both Moroccan and American values of peace, tolerance, and diversity. The United States has long striven to build a more inclusive society and protect the rights of all its people, regardless of race, religion, sex, or ethnicity, especially under the current administration. Diversity is enshrined in Morocco’s constitution and is part and parcel of its social fabric. The historically rooted privileges of openness, commitment to co-existence, spiritual tolerance, harmony, and concord between the diverse components of Moroccan society are a source of pride for all Moroccans. But are we to understand that this political leader in Morocco espouses the politics of fear, intolerance and hatred? His party and the citizens of Morocco need to understand the purpose of this visit to the RNC which seemingly supports Trump and his racist politics.
Furthermore, American Muslims such as myself and my family are left to wonder if the Istiqlal party supports this populist demagoguery. We already fear for our safety in the US, and would be disappointed to see any Moroccan political party support such bigotry or pattern its own behavior after such policies. Violence and hatred are becoming all too common in our world today, and we all must stand against their encroachment, not ignore it for the possibility of political gain.
So we would like to know the answers: who invited Mr. Chabat, why did he attend the conference, and what were his impressions. I look forward to learning about Mr. Chabat’s stance.
Abdesalam Soudi, PhD is a Moroccan American sociolinguist in Pittsburgh, PA. You can follow him on Twitter: @soudi_a
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