Trump: You Should Ban Islamists, Not Muslims
by Daniel Pipes
Donald Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, called on Dec. 7 for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." Replace one word in this formulation and it goes from outrageous to brilliant.
Reacting to massacres by Muslims in Paris and San Bernardino, Trump pointed to a Muslim hatred "beyond comprehension" for the West. Therefore, he concluded, "Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad."
The negative responses, domestic and international, Muslim and non-Muslim, came in fast and furious – and rightly so, as Trump's crude blast is unconstitutional, unacceptable, unworkable, and unstrategic.
Unconstitutional: Every Western basic law is secular, disallowing a religious test for immigration, rendering Trump's statement less an exercise in practical policy making than a gadfly provocation.
Unacceptable: Beyond legalities, secularism represents a Western core value, up there with freedom of speech, a value hardly anyone accepts gutting for reasons of momentary expediency.
Unworkable: Islam is not a permanent identity like skin color. Nothing prevents Muslims from renouncing Islam or converting to another religion. Unless Trump extends his "total and complete shutdown" to former Muslims – which is even more unconstitutional – he just encourages the already-existing phenomenon of Muslim conversions of convenience (as symbolized by a church in Berlin).
Unstrategic: Trump's presidential campaign once again is counterproductive; he simultaneously makes conservatives look like idiots and brings adoring attention to those who oppose his views, in this case radical Muslim groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (widely known as CAIR), which has enjoyed an unprecedented cornucopia of media coverageto spread its deceitful message.
That said, Trump has raised a critical and urgent issue that all Westerners must face, as symbolized by the recent tsunami of illegal immigration to Europe and the huge strains it has created. Simply put, Muslims present a disproportionately large source of problems, as becomes clear when they are compared with Hindu immigrants, who are roughly the same in number but generally fit quietly into the West.