On Sunday 9th October, Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, continued to peddle an Anti-Muslim, Islamophobic political rhetoric as he went head to head with Hillary Clinton in the second of three presidential debates at the Washington University in St Louis.
The Trump campaign has been notoriously divisive til today with continued inflammatory remarks about minority communities which included a statement on ‘Mexicans as rapists‘ and his call for a complete shut down of Muslims entering into the US.
At the second Presidential Debate, Mr Trump was asked a question by a Muslim-America voter concerned about the rise in Islamophobia and Mr Trump’s plan to help deal with it. Despite the deep seated concern of Muslim voters in America, Donald Trump’s answer was laced with conspiracy theory and a view of Muslims as the ‘other’ when he responded by saying,
“You’re right about Islamophobia, and that’s a shame. One thing we have to do is we have to make sure that because there is a problem, whether we like it or not — and we could be very politically correct — but whether we like it or not, there is a problem and we have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.
In San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. Never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them. And you know, there’s always a reason for everything. If they don’t do that, it’s a very difficult situation for our country because you look at Orlando and you look at San Bernardino and the World Trade Center. Look at Paris. The horrible — these are radical Islamic terrorists.“
His answer continued to showcase examples of the divisive and often inaccurate political narrative that has engulfed his Presidential campaign and continued to peddle the idea that American Muslims are consciously complicit in terrorist activities by knowing and not reporting threats as seen in the assumption that ‘many people saw the bombs all over the apartment‘ in San Bernardino.
During the live debate, Muslim American’s took to Twitter in response and mocked the idea that they were complicit in such crimes by using the hashtag #MuslimsReportStuff to further highlight their disdain at being continually labelled as a fifth column in society by the Republican nominee and right wing press.
Donald Trump’s view of the American Muslim community could not be further away from the truth. As seen from various studies and polls, the Muslim community in America is one of the most active and has a history of standing for justice, human rights and has been pivotal in promoting positive, civic duty driven Islam as a means of countering extremism and working towards building community cohesion.
Muslim American Imams, scholars and community activists have been at the forefront of developing community relations and promoting the importance of political activism as is evidence from last Friday’s ‘National Khutba Day‘ initiative which encouraged Mosques and Imams to focus their Friday congregational Khutba’s on the importance of voting in the upcoming elections.
As one of the most important elections in recent history comes to its conclusion next month, the Muslim community will be heading to the polls in their numbers as a reiteration of their commitment to shaping the future of their country and to allow Muslims to tell their own story in their own words.