Diary

Where Is the Muslim Rage Over Trump's Travel Ban?

David Gold at the Asia Times has an article of interest http://www.atimes.com/article/middle-eastern-nations-support-trumps-immigration-halt/.  And it did occur to this writer that all or  most of the protests in response to Trump’s executive order on a 90-day travel ban from certain countries have been on American streets or at American airports.  If this action will alienate the Muslim world as some have foolishly suggested, where is the Muslim outrage?  Why aren’t airports being shut down with protesters in Cairo, Riyadh, Amman, Istanbul or Jakarta?   Where are the masses in the streets with that creepy picture of a woman in an American flag hijab?

As the article seems to indicate, counter-terrorism officials in Muslim countries- the very entities that have to deal with a jihadist element to some degree- largely agree with Trump’s actions.  In effect, they are viewing Trump as an ally in dealing with a common enemy.  While it may be true that they are showing some deference to Trump’s strongman persona since many of these leaders are themselves strongmen, it is equally true that these are the very people who have to deal with the threat of radical Islamic terrorists hourly.  For others, regional geopolitics may be the motivation since they correctly view Iran as an existential threat in the area.  This is especially true of the Gulf states.  These Muslim countries realize that the countries affected are torn apart by jihadist violence or under control of governments that support jihadist terrorism (Iran).

And where there has been criticism from the Muslim world calling the action “un-American,” there is a certain level of hypocrisy.  Yet from 2011 to 2014, the Obama administration, through a non-transparent executive order, effectively banned Syrians.  It was only in his last year of office that policy changed.

Most of the sensible Muslim countries, especially those in the Middle East, do not blame Donald Trump but Barack Obama for the current state of affairs.  A Turkish-language newspaper said as much and Turkish papers are government-controlled.  Other papers have accused the Obama administration of creating the chaos in the region by allowing the Syrian civil war to persist.  Through incompetence and weakness, they blame the Obama administration for the state of affairs.  While Western leaders decry the alleged “inhumanity” of Trump’s order, they were silent as the Obama administration allowed the humanitarian crisis develop in Syria while Obama played footsies with Iran.  Ironically, other countries in the region- Kuwait, for example- has had a travel ban on people from certain countries on the list since 2011.

Turkey, a NATO member and Muslim country, has been largely silent.  This is of importance since the media in Turkey is run by Erdogan’s government.  If there is no criticism, one has to surmise that Erdogan tacitly approves of the action.  Pakistan suddenly arrested the radical cleric Hafiz Saeed who is believed to have played a role in the deadly Mumbai attacks.

Two of the countries affected have expressed displeasure.  In Iraq, they have expressed wonder why they and not Saudi Arabia were included in the ban.  Some have suggested that future cooperation with the US in fighting ISIS in Iraq could be at stake.  They have threatened a retaliatory ban on US travelers.  Iran went further and did institute a ban.  But the other countries have been silent and the reason backs up Trump: they are not functional central governments capable of vetting immigrants or refugees.

These functional governments- i.e., those not on the list- view themselves as in an existential battle against radical Islamic jihadists.  Terrorism is very real fact of life every single hour of every day.  They look to the United States to show determination, something they did not see in Obama.

The Asia Times article quotes some tweets from Dubai’s deputy police chief supportive of Trump’s ban.  He has 1.58 million Twitter followers.  In one tweet, he said it was a sound decision to ban nationals from Iran and countries affiliated with Iran.  In another in Arabic in reference to Iran he states:

“They curse America and invoke destruction, then they weep for imposing a travel ban on them, they are idiots.”

Firas Tlass, an influential politician and son of a former Syrian defense minister said:

“Gulf countries and Turkey have prevented Syrians from obtaining visas. So leave Trump alone!”

Said influential Saudi journalist Aziz al-Qenaei on Facebook:

“When you want to criticize Trump, you should reform yourself and your society, culture and religious behavior so that your argument becomes more rational.”

Roy Thome is an influential lawyer in Lebanon who has been supportive of Trump.  Time magazine quotes him saying:

“We realized soon after Trump won that the rhetoric was like, ‘Trump is against Arabs and Muslims, and Muslims and Arabs are against Trump’,” says Tohme, who lives in Beirut and spoke to TIME by phone. He says that is simply not true, and that Trump’s agenda and policies are being welcomed by some people across the region. “At first some people were afraid. Now that he won, everyone’s coming out.”

On his Facebook page, he has endorsed the travel ban and more than 75% of his Facebook and Twitter followers support Trump’s action.

It is ironic that while the press and their lackeys on the Left and in the Democratic Party incorrectly portray this as a Muslim ban, actual Muslims see the action for what it truly is: a commonsense time out for 90 days to put into place adequate safeguards to keep potential terrorists out.   Instead of paying attention to spotlight-grabbing ignorant protesters with white faces, perhaps we should pay more heed to those who have to live with the threat of terrorism every second of every day.  But then, that does not fit the narrative and commonsense makes for bad television.