Friday, May 13, 2016
Donald Trump has, through the politics of fear and division, become the sole Republican candidate for the US Presidential race; however he represents all that I find offensive. Offensive may sound a rather harsh word to describe a man who may, if such a tragedy were to happen, become the US President, but realistically there is nothing 'presidential' about the man. His views on women, hispanic people, and muslims all reek of a hateful venom that is not befitting of the stature of the Oval office.
However, this is a personal view and hence from the perspective of a Muslim his broad brush scathing characterisation of Muslims is not just xenophobic but down right ignorant. While I was born a Muslim, over the past five odd years I embarked on a more deeper journey to understand my religion and to study and even question some of the views about Muslims and some of the views of the radical stream of Muslims. It is very evident to me that the problem is not with Islam but with some of its followers, who have a twisted view of message. This is not different from the fact that many religions have die hard radicals, be it Christianity or even Buddhism (reference the radical attacks by Buddhists in Burma), the actions of such group do not make all Christians or Buddhists or for that matter any religion terrorists and undesirables.
While Mr Trump was a day ago back pedalling on his comment that he would not allow 'any' muslims into the US to now say it is only a 'suggestion', the hard reality is that he has already shown his true colours. This is not political rethinking, this is blatant lying. Sadly the electorate that he appeals to is ignorant of the Islam and for that matter most things outside the US, and a message of hate and fear resonates well with them. I am sure that if Donald Trump was asked if he has even read one book on Islam, (other than the xenophobic anti Islam books) or had an intelligent discussion with an Islamic scholar the answer would surely be in the negative.
In Great Britain, in contrasting style, the city of London elected Sadiq Khan as the first Muslim Mayor. While me may all focus on the fact that he is a Muslim, Sadiq Khan is actually many things; a British citizen, born of Pakistani immigrant, a European modern thinking Muslim, a father, a lawyer and a politician and a Londoner. In this interdependent world we all have many sub identities which put together the person we are, and the reality is that I can be modern thinking Muslim who believes in the social fabric of union rather than division. What Trump needs is a serious sit down with Mr Sadiq Khan and be open minded enough to learn a think or two about tolerance.
I have been to the United States many times, and yes at times, after 9/11, had to wait two or three hours to be cleared to enter the country, but without reservation every American I have met has been open and accommodating and tolerant. From New York to Dallas, from California to Denver, from Chicago to Florida not once has anyone been put off by my religion, ethnicity or country of origin, if anything people have been pleasantly curious. Trump is changing this by appealing the a minority of ignorant people who are fearful of anything foreign to them and feeding this fear is what is offensive.
The hope I hold is that the average American is decent, welcoming and friendly and shuns the politics of hate and division and perhaps deep down realises each one of them is a descendant of an immigrant, (barring the Native Americans), and in the Presidential election these people will speak up through their vote. This is a time for unity of acceptance and tolerance, this is a time for understanding and embracing the differences, it is a time for healing and growing stronger in the community of nations. The message of Mr Trump is the anti-thesis of everything that is hailed as good and decent in society, and in this basic stance I find him offensive, and no amount of somersaults and change of position will not change the fact that the basic nature of this man is petty, hateful and rude.