By Constance Guindon
By Constance Guindon
Toronto – While speaking at an election rally in August of last year, Donald Trump spelled out the driving force behind what is fast becoming the cornerstone of his presidency; the fight against what he sees as “the hateful ideology of radical Islam.”
He declared that it “must not be allowed to reside or spread within our own communities.”
According to an op/ed in the New York Times on February 1, Trump long ago chose to adopt a dark view of Islam, embracing the postulations of American academic Samuel P. Huntington. The political scientist has long been espousing Muslims as “inherently hostile” and an enemy of “Christianity and Judaism, who will conquer through violence or stealthy brainwashing.”
Administration officials are reporting that talks are currently underway to introduce yet another executive order, this time declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Drafts of the order have been leaked, say the officials, revealing the administration’s desire to “keep out those with hostile attitudes towards it (the United States) and its founding principles” and “those who would place violent ideologies over American law.”
Critics are seeing this as an overt reference to Shariah and the countless conspiracy theories of which Huntington espouses. Most former presidents rejected this view of Islam. It is a view that has, nonetheless, taken hold in the fringes of American society. Now it appears to Trump’s legion of critics, to be taking centre stage in his policy and decision making, something which has many of America’s approximately three million Muslims feeling alarmed.
One such critic is Asma Afsaruddin. A professor of Islamic Studies at Indiana University and Chairwoman of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, describes her concerns saying, “They’re tapping into the climate of fear and suspicion since 9/11. It’s a master narrative that pits the Muslim world against the West.”
Ultimately, says the Times piece, Asfaruddin feels the Trump strategy will backfire and end up creating the very climate Trump professes to be cleansing. According to the professor, Jihadist groups are already using the executive order initiating the immigration and refugee ban as a rallying cry in their recruitment arguments.
“The White House is a huge soap box,” she says. “The demonization of Muslims and Islam will become even more widespread.”
Key advisors to Trump are Michael Flynn, Trump’s new national security advisor, and the bombastic Steve Bannon, chief advisor in the president’s inner circle. Both men subscribe to what their critics call the “Islamaphobia industry.”
During a 2014 meeting at the Vatican, Bannon postulated that “Islam is not a religion of peace. It is a religion of submission.”
As for Flynn’s opinion of Islam, he has been quoted as saying “Islam is not necessarily a religion but a political system that has a religious doctrine behind it.”
Frank Gaffney Jr. is Trump’s choice for new Attorney General and chief upholder of the rule of American law. Gaffney is convinced that radical Muslims are permeating every level of American society, engaged in “this stealthy, subversive kind of jihad.”
Gaffney went on record during one interview saying “They [radical Muslims] essentially, like termites, hollow out the structure of the civil society and other institutions, for the purpose of creating conditions under which the jihad will succeed.”
This perhaps is why, next to Trump himself, Gaffney is perhaps the man most Trump critics fear most.