World

By Pushing Muslims to the Margins, Cruz and Trump Would Make the US Like Europe

Making it legitimate to think (and act) hatefully towards Muslims in America would do nothing more than marginalise them.

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

Consider what the two Republican presidential candidates, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, are proposing in the aftermath of the Brussels attacks.

Cruz wants to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighbourhoods in America because that’s what’s required in “a neighbourhood where there is gang activity”.

Which gangs and which neighbourhoods could he possibly mean? The wealthy suburbs of Chicago, where American Muslim doctors have their palatial residences? Remember that immigrant American Muslims are “slightly more affluent and better educated than native-born Muslims,” according to the book Being Muslim in America, published by the US government’s Bureau of International Information Programs.

Remember too that 24% of all Muslims in America and 29% of immigrant Muslims have college degrees compared to 25% for the US general population. “Forty-one percent of all Muslim Americans and 45 percent of immigrant Muslims report annual household income levels of $50,000 or higher. This compares to the national average of 44 percent,” says Being Muslim in America.

So which neighbourhoods and gangs could Cruz mean? The ethnic pockets where Somalis, Bangladeshis, Bosnian and Pakistanis live just because those people happen to be Muslim? These are not ghettos and nothing like Molenbeek, the Brussels neighbourhood, where conditions are ripe for discontented Muslim youths to turn to radicalism. Molenbeek has long had a reputation for lawlessness, with high levels of petty crime — muggings, drug dealing and burglaries. Its new prominence as a haven for jihad-minded men is hardly a surprise.

Perhaps Cruz is imagining the same sort of situation in Muslim-dominant areas in the US? Which ones? Perhaps he means some Somali gang or the other in Minneapolis? I don’t know of any, but they must surely exist. But to describe them as ‘Muslim gangs’ would be like calling Hispanic gangs in Los Angeles ‘Catholic anti-nationals’.

In any case, was there “gang activity” in mass shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s neighbourhood in San Bernardino, California, before he set out with his equally disturbed wife to murder innocent people? What patrol could have picked up the increasingly deranged thoughts of an American-born-and-bred man who worked in the local country office and just happened to be Muslim?

Trump doesn’t want Cruz’s patrols (though he would support them “100 per cent”). He wants to keep Muslims out of America altogether because of the “hatred” they feel.

This is mad, bad and dangerous talk. Dangerous because it will excite Islamophobes and freelance agents of patriotism who believe that “homeland security” equates with being anti-Muslim.

It is profoundly unfair to demonise America’s Muslims. A 2011 Pew Research Centre poll found that the vast majority wanted to “adopt American customs”. Only 20% of those surveyed said they would prefer to “be distinct”. Half of the respondents said that many of their friends were non-Muslim and almost 80% rated their community as an “excellent” or “good” place to live.

In Europe, Muslims or coloured people generally would find it hard to say exactly the same and with quite so much enthusiasm. This, because Europe, unlike America, has not emerged from the melting-pot and visually different “foreigners” can remain separate for generations.

The UK, France, Belgium and other European countries struggle to integrate Muslims. Belgium has a particularly hard task because it has done so little to tie in its second-generation Muslim youths. The unemployment rate for Belgians of North and sub-Saharan African descent is between 40 and 50%. The Belgian establishment remains totally unrepresentative of the demographic change that has already occurred. The police is a case in point. Last year, the BBC reported that of Antwerp’s 2,600 police officers, only 22 are non-white.

So far, America has been very different in its treatment of — and response from — its Muslim community, which is estimated at anywhere between two and seven million (more likely the latter). This is, as President Barack Obama pointed out on Wednesday, in a rebuke to Cruz and Trump, part of what keeps America safe.

Making it legitimate to think (and act) hatefully towards Muslims in America would do nothing more than marginalise them. No one would be any the safer. Not the Muslim community. Not America.

Rashmee Roshan Lall is a senior journalist. She tweets @rashmeerl. 

This article was originally published on www.rashmee.com, and is republished here with the permission of the author.

  • NewHorizons

    In this connection I do not know if Mr.Trump knows all theology or not what I see is that he is seeing a clash between Muslims and Christians due to their diametrically opposite religious thoughts…if the population of Muslims become more in Christians countries as Muslims cannot face the criticism of their religion and may involve in possible violence and threats..Christians are tolerating the criticism of Jesus and their religion but problem with Muslims or other religions is that they cannot tolerate the criticism of their religion and will involve in violence…so the liberal western societies will be destroyed…?or else to give up their clashes they have to give up all morality..?

    Actually there is a fundamental difference between Christian and Muslim religions. Christians say Jesus was crucified and later resurrected..Muslims do not accept that Jesus died on the cross as they believe God will not allow the killing of Prophets…Who is correct and who is wrong..?

    Some Muslims say God transformed Jesus into Judas and Judas into Jesus so the soldiers put Judas on the cross and thus Jesus was saved…But then Christians say Judas hanged himself later for cheating Jesus if so was it Jesus who hanged himself…?

    Also Jesus came and stopped the punishments of stoning to death etc… Then why did God again introduce various punishments through Mohammed..?Wasn’t the Moses law of punishments and sacrificial offering for sins not enough..? Also doesn’t Jesus become a violator of the Moses law if He stops punishments and sacrificial offerings..?

    Jews have seen Jesus in this angle only and so they have prescribed the death punishment and death is imminent for fulfilling the sacrificial law and through which the forgiveness to all sins will occur to those who accept this sacrifice on their behalf for their sins..It is tough but it was required as people do not realize the graveness of sin and importance of holiness to be with God…Also it has become a custom for the people to offer animals in sacrifice but do not realize the graveness of sin which is nothing but death..So Jesus will become a true prophet if only He has sacrificed Himself as a Holy sacrifice… Otherwise He will become a blasphemer..?Also being the creator He has the right to forgive the truly repentant…

    If Jesus did not die on the cross then who gave right to Jesus to change the law of God given through Moses..?Was not He a violator of the Law..?If so how can such a blasphemer be called as a prophet of God my Muslims..?If Jesus has put an end to punishments and sacrifices then how can the punishments if not sacrifices also reintroduced by the next prophet who is Mohammed…?Does God change His plans frequently..?

    Also if Jesus did not die on the cross as per Muslims then why did His disciples who have gone astray again gather together and became ready to die also for sake of Jesus and His teachings…And what the Muslim prophet Jesus doing when his disciples were dying gruesome deaths..?Enjoying with his wives and children in France as proposed by Dan Brown..?

    Also why polygamy introduced by God through Prophet Mohammed where as through Christians He supported monogamy…Who is true and who is false..?

    Christians think Islam is at fault. It would have been good for the Islam if they did not use the name of Jesus in Quran..Then it could have survived but since His name was used a comparison has to occur and people will realize who is true and who is false..?The good thing about the Jesus of Christians is that He says Love your enemies…But can Mohammed say that or can our Muslim brothers do that..?Who is true and who is at false..?

    Only God can tell when He comes the second time…Before that God is leaving it to the people to realize the Truth for themselves which determines their future also.

  • NewHorizons

    The main question one need to ask is – Can migrants tolerate the criticism of their religion etc..In the west Christianity was questioned and even Jesus’ life was critically examined and even movies and books were created based on some conspiracy theories which defamed Jesus Christ like the DaVinci Code etc..But can Muslims tolerate such false accusations against their religion if the true allegations also. For that matter can other Asians also allow the critical examination of their religion and theories…The Asians generally have a mind set which does not allow critical thinking of Gods, Prophets or even the concept of God itself..So, The western societies ideals of free, liberal, secular and rational thinking may be replaced with submissions to Gods and God men who preach their precepts as the precepts of God and criticizing them will be seen as the greatest sin which may become a qualification for death by the sensitive followers of these Gods and God men who cannot tolerate the criticism of their faith and want subjugation to their dogmas and faiths. Then we are back to the times of Jesus who was killed on the charges of blasphemy by the Jews…

    I think a declaration from visitors or immigrants should be taken that they are prepared for any shockers on their religious views and gods, prophets etc because it is a free society and one should never resort to violence. Only those who can adjust with completely antithetical views should only be allowed in the western societies. If not the liberal western societies might be in the danger of getting destroyed. ..?The reason I say this is because it is those who are highly religiously sensitive that are attracted by the radical organisations like ISIS etc…but opposing religious sentiments are a part of a life especially in liberal and free societies..

    Islam has some good teachings and if they are attached to Christ they will get meaning if not there will always be a clash between Christians and Muslims till the Jesus comes again…