Toronto - In light of another fire at another American mosque, in the early morning hours on Friday, many Americans are wondering why the President is choosing to remain silent in the face of such hatred, according to the Huffington Post.
Toronto – In light of another fire at another American mosque, in the early morning hours on Friday, many Americans are wondering why the President is choosing to remain silent in the face of such hatred, according to the Huffington Post.
Only in response to a great deal of pressure did US President, Donald Trump, speak out again the rise of anti-Semitic crime in the US. Although it was widely seen as a lukewarm, even forced, condemnation, it left Muslim groups wondering when their turn would come.
According to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of anti-Muslim hate groups tripled in 2016 and vandalism against Muslim mosques and organizations rose a staggering 400% in 2015, over 2014. That there is a serious problem cannot be denied.
The Trump administration is proving, however, that it can be ignored, and that has people like Corey Saylor, a leader with the Council on American-Islamic Relations feeling righteously indignant. “It is [Trump’s] responsibility to repudiate bias. President Bush went to a mosque to push back against anti-Islam sentiment in 2001. We are still waiting for President Trump to demonstrate the same leadership.”
There is a widespread belief among observers and critics that Trump and his administration are simply incapable of understanding the fears and concerns of Muslim-Americans. During a pre-election debate, the then-candidate Trump was asked how he would combat Islamaphobia. Trump’s response was, instead, a vitriolic treatise on “radical Islamic terrorism.” Months later, during a press briefing this past week, press secretary, Sean Spicer, was asked a similar question by a reporter. Echoing his boss, Spicer launched into an emotional tirade on what was again called “radical Islamic terrorism.”
For Catherine Osborn, campaign director for Shoulder to Shoulder, an interfaith organization dedicated to bringing an end to anti-Muslim bigotry, Spicer’s deflective comments speak to a “huge disconnect between what our fellow Americans are facing, in terms of anti-Muslim hate incidents, and how the administration is thinking about these issues.”
Osborn went on to condemn the administration’s lack of empathy for the high level of concern felt by American Muslims who want simply to “live in peace and security.” Osborn would like to see her government not just speak out against the hate American Muslims are experiencing but show with action that they respect “the rights and freedoms of American Muslims as part of the fabric of this country.”
Still, asking Muslims in America to forget the many Trump comments denigrating Islam and Muslims in the past in favour of anew, understanding version of Trump, might be a tall order. In the past, Trump has made comments such as “Islam hates us.” While campaigning he famously called for the “total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States,” a sentiment which inspired his now-infamous travel ban. He also claimed that refugees from the Middle East were “trying to steal our children.”
Not surprisingly, one might conclude, anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked directly after Trump’s election win, with apparent Presidential impunity. But Muslims were not the only ones to see a sharp rise in hate crimes against them in the wake of Trump’s election. Anti-Semitic crime rose in tandem. Although he was clearly forced into doing so, Trump finally spoke out against the rise in anti-Semitism and declared tepidly that it “has to stop.”
The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect was unimpressed and not afraid to express it, calling Trump’s statement “a pathetic asterisk of condescension.” They are now openly calling for Trump to speak out against Islamaphobia. “The President’s Islamaphobia, marked by his repeated phony portrayals of Muslims as more prone to terrorism than others, is responsible for creating the incubator of hate that foments the crimes we are seeing against Muslims in America today.”
According to executive director of the center, Steven Goldstein, Trump’s continued silence is a danger to both Jews and Muslims. “We have no pecking order in which we fight anti-Semitism first and Islamophobia and other hatred second. We have to save every Anne. Never again must mean never again to anyone. Never again is now.”