Written by Bethany Stacey
America- Home of approximately 3.3 million Muslims, 500,000 Sikhs, 4 million Buddhists and 6.5 million Jews. A contemporary example of modern day diversity. As the 1st Amendment states: “To prohibit congress from placing restrictions on practising religion,” and the 15th Amendment notes too; “reserves citizens the suffrage rights, regardless of their race, colour or previous slave status.” If you’re black, white, Christian or Muslim, all are welcome in “the land of the free and home of the brave.” Or, are they?
The two competitors in the race of the U.S. presidency present two very contrasting ideas of who they welcome open-armed into the US. Hilary Clinton on one hand, talks about how diverse fragments unite America. Whereas as Donald Trump describes a country “under siege from refugees, immigrants, Mexicans and Muslims.” It was only earlier this year that Trump described building an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful and beautiful southern wall.” A 1,900-mile concrete horizon.
The Republican has also made it clear that one of his immediate policy changes would be the closure of the U.S. borders to anyone who follows the fastest growing religion in contemporary society- Islam. But, in a recent survey conducted by The Council on American- Islamic Relations, it was discovered that 11% of Muslims in Am
erica support Trump despite his anti-Islam rhetoric (in comparison to 90% of Muslims in the U.S.A who voted in support of Barack Obama).
The Council on American-Islamic Relations states as of June this year, more than 300,000 Muslims had registered to vote since 2012. The group claims that there are currently more than 800,000 registered voters whose first, middle or last names match a list of traditionally Muslim names. “As citizens, it is our duty to educate ourselves about the civic process and to participate in that process,” CAIR National Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem said in a statement. “Our diversity is what makes us stronger as a nation.”
The Pew Research Center’s research found that islamophobia was the most important issue for just 15% of American- Muslim voters, with this percentage doubling earlier this year. It was also found that the percentage of Muslim voters who identify as Democratic has steadily been rising since 2000, with the majority of the vote going to George W. Bush. However, if voted into presidency, Trump has announced that Muslims could be facing stricter regulations and even deportation to their home countries. In December, Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of the country’s borders to Muslims in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. He said there was such hatred among Muslims around the world towards Americans that it was necessary to rebuff them en masse, until the problem was better understood.
What Trump fails to realise, however, is that Muslims have been part of the United States of America from the very first colonisation in 1607. Even George Washington, America’s first ever president, recruited Muslims to serve in his army- making it clear that a person could be of any religion or ethnic background and still be an American patriot. Morocco, a predominantly Muslim nation, was the first to recognise the US as an independent country with a peace treaty being signed between the coupled countries in 1786. While outdated, the treaty is the longest unbroken agreement in US history. In fact, the most successful U.S. citizens are Muslim. The Islamic Medical Association of North America, estimates that there are more than 20,000 Muslim physicians in the United States, with around 44% of immigrant Muslims reporting an annual household income of $55,000+.
When asked about the relationship with the Middle East, Trump announced that he could see visions of trouble and risk, endangering America with the threat of ‘radical Islam.’ ‘Our new approach, which must be shared by both parties in America, by our rallies overseas, and by our friends in the Middle East, must be a halt to the spread of radical Islam,’ he said. Asked by NBC how he rated efforts by the West to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up, Trump said that it would only make the region more chaotic. He said the West created chaos in Libya and Iraq and if Assad fell, Syria would develop in the same direction.
Trump also announced he would deport all Syrian refugees living in the US if elected president.
So, is this a man that the Muslim community want in power? The answer is no. Is this a man that may be elected into the White House on 8th November? Quite possibly…