A year ago, Donald Trump who back then was the leading nominee from the Republican Party to compete in the Presidential elections, made a disturbing and a very distinct proposal by claiming that there should be a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” (Pilkington par. 1; Beauchamp par.1). According to the statement released by Trump’s campaign, the shutdown was to go on “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on” (“Donald Trump calls for a complete ban on Muslims entering the US – video”). In this statement, Trump referred to the terrorist attack that had taken place several days earlier in San Bernandino. In his statement, Trump mentioned that he would attempt to avoid profiling but run an investigation of the potential terrorist activities that could be conducted in the territory of the United States. The fact that he emphasized that Muslim immigrants are the ones to be banned from entering the United States indicates that Trump viewed all Muslim people are a threat. Even though Trump noted that he would address the issue of profiling and still has not launched the proposed action, his statement is directed against the Muslims who are currently dwelling in the United States and promotes hostility towards them as the representatives of a dangerous community.
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Over the last 15 years, the fear of terrorist attacks committed by the representatives of the Muslim world has been persisting in the United States. The level of Islamophobia has skyrocketed after the events of 9/11. For instance, as specified by Khan and Ecklund, in 2001, the rate of hate crimes and violence directed against the Muslim population grew by as much as 1700% (53). The fact that a presidential candidate that ended up winning the elections and becoming President made statements that utterly promote Islamophobic moods in the country is rather disturbing for the Muslim population in the United States and risks to initiate another period of anti-Muslim hostility.
Arguing with this perspective, it is possible to mention the set of facts presented below. As reported in The Washington Post, a few months later, the statement was still present on the official website of Trump’s presidential campaign, and in the interviews, he refused to take it back (Johnson par. 4). However, Trump made a correction and added that when he used the word “Muslim” in his controversial proposal, he referred only to the individuals coming to the United States from the countries known for the high risk of terrorism (Johnson par. 7). This position was confirmed in another interview with Trump when a reporter asked whether or not the politician would see as a threat to his country a Muslim person coming from Scotland; Trump responded that this individual’s arrival would not bother him (Johnson par. 7). Further, the evolution of the proposal continued as Trump began to emphasize the temporary character of the offered ban; also, the former candidate mentioned that a very sophisticated and thorough vetting process would be a suitable alternative to the ban (“How Donald Trump’s Plan to Ban Muslims Has Evolved” par. 7).
Moreover, Trump pointed out that the proposed banning would not be based on the religion of the individuals entering the United States but the territories from which they come (Johnson par. 6). These corrections and additions could potentially be used as the arguments opposing the threatening nature of Trump’s proposed ban. However, they are not at all reassuring for the Muslim people who currently live in the territory of the United States even though they do not seem to be mentioned in the ban. Finally, the supporters of the perspective that Trump’s statement is not a threat to the Muslim population in the United States could also point out that about a month ago, the statement about the ban was removed completely from the campaign website. Potentially, this tendency could mean that President Trump and his team have changed their opinion and no longer feel like the ban is a suitable solution to the problem of domestic terrorism.
To refute the opposing point of view explained above, it is possible to mention that apart from the overall controversy of the proposal, it also contains a number of gaps and seems overall rather irrational and not well-thought through. For example, stating that only the Muslim individuals coming from the countries affected by terrorism, Trump seems to potentially direct his proposed ban against a very large number of people. For instance, Germany and France are the countries that have recently experienced terrorist attacks and can be characterized as those affected by terrorism. In that way, it is possible to conclude that the Muslim individuals coming to the United States from these countries are falling under the ban as well. Trump has avoided answering this question several times during his interviews with the press (Johnson par. 8).
Moreover, in his statement, along with the proposed ban, Trump mentioned that the Muslim community dwelling in the territory of the United States needs to be examined because the “hatred is beyond comprehension” (“Donald Trump calls for a complete ban on Muslims entering the US – video”). Basically, it looks like Trump claimed was that the Muslim community in the United States is the source of hatred toward the rest of the population. Further, Trump added “where the hatred comes from and why, we’re going to have to determine, we’re going to have to figure it out”; moreover, the former candidate and the current President of the United States openly claimed that “it’s going to get worse and worse. You’re going to have more World Trade Centers” (“Donald Trump calls for a complete ban on Muslims entering the US – video”). It is possible to notice that, in his statement, Trump-connected the Muslim population in the United States to the terroristic acts and the potential for another attack similar to those of 9/11 in their magnitude. Finally, Trump continued his statement by saying, “Yes, we have to look at mosques… Because something is happening in there” (“Donald Trump calls for a complete ban on Muslims entering the US – video”). In that way, it looks like the politician juxtaposed the Muslim population to the rest of the American society claiming (but not openly stating) that it is dangerous and not to be trusted.
To sum up, Trump’s statement about the ban for the Muslim people entering the United States made a year ago has evolved and was corrected multiple times throughout the course of his campaign. It may look like the claim was softened and eventually, it completely disappeared from the campaign documents (Horton par. 1). However, since Congress granted President Trump the power to change immigration policies, he can easily implement the ban. In addition, even if the ban never makes a reappearance, during Trump’s campaign, this statement has aggravated Islamophobic moods in the society putting in danger every Muslim individual in the territory of the United States.
Beauchamp, Zack. “Donald Trump can absolutely ban Muslims from entering the US, without Congress.” Vox, 10 Nov. 2016, Web.
“Donald Trump calls for complete ban on Muslims entering the US – video.” The Guardian. 2015, Web.
Horton, Helena. “Muslim ban statement ‘removed’ from Donald Trump’s website.” The Telegraph. 2016.
“How Donald Trump’s Plan to Ban Muslims Has Evolved”. Fortune. 2016.
Johnson, Jenna. “Donald Trump is expanding his Muslim ban, not rolling it back.” The Washington Post. 2016.
Khan, Mussarat and Kathryn Ecklund. “Attitudes toward Muslim Americans Post-9/11.” Journal of Muslim Mental Health, vol. 7, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1-16.
Pilkington, Ed. “Donald Trump: ban all Muslims entering US.” The Guardian. 2015.