By Christopher Brodsky
By Christopher Brodsky
Rabat – Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump once more took the debate stage Monday night. The debate came on the heels of a video released Saturday in which Trump made sexually explicit remarks about women. These and other issues, including rising healthcare costs and immigration, were discussed during the televised event. Also addressed were issues associated with combating terrorism and the Islamic State (ISIS), Russian involvement in Syria, and rising Islamophobia in the United States.
One audience member asked Trump how he would address the rise in Islamophobia in the United States, to which he responded Muslims must step up and report instances of hate when they see it. Many took to Twitter shortly thereafter to criticism Trump’s remarks with the hashtag #MuslimsReportStuff. One user wrote, “Hello, I’d like to report a suspicious case of extreme mansplaining happening right now in St. Louis.” Another reads, “Hello, I’d like to report a dangerous racist misogynist demagogue on my TV…yes, I’ll hold.”
Since the beginning of Trump’s campaign, there has been severe backlash to the candidate’s comments and policy proposals regarding Muslims. In the recent Vice Presidential debate, however, Governor Mike Pence seemingly walked back Trump’s comments, arguing he no longer supports a complete ban on Muslims entering the country. Regardless, Trump’s immigration policies have been met with anger and disillusionment from Muslims around the world. Some Twitter posts even noted how anti-Muslim harassment and bullying has increased as a result of Trump’s comments this past year.
Also on the debate agenda were foreign policy issues pertaining to Russia and the Middle East in particular. An article from Reuters early Tuesday noted in its headline that, “Trump is (mostly) wrong about Mosul.” The candidate called it foolish to publicly announce on-going war preparations, such as the coming assault on Mosul. Yet, a key part of the strategy, the article claims, is notifying citizens in advance so they can exit the city. Of special note was Trump’s split on policy with his running mate on the potential use of force against Assad’s army.
Trump noted Assad and Russia have targeted ISIS, and along with Iran, have aligned their efforts to eradicate the terrorist organization. It is true Putin and Assad have attacked ISIS held positions, yet a common criticism of the Russian intervention is that Western-backed moderate Syrian forces have also been targeted. Assad and his allies have prioritized securing his geopolitical position and leadership over the country. Further, the indiscriminate bombardment of Aleppo by Syrian and Russian forces has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis. Earlier this week, Secretary John Kerry remarked Russia should be investigated for war crimes due to the number of civilian deaths as a result of the air campaign.