ANTI-MUSLIM RHETORIC: DAMAGING OR HELPFUL

Posted on May 2, 2016 by

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FINAL PROJECT,

By Carl M Renault

Introduction

Let’s take a look at and then discuss the legitimacy of the anti-Muslim rhetoric being spoken by the republican candidates for president.  How is this rhetoric interpreted and how does that affect America and its citizens?  Does what they are saying hold any truth or are they just speaking to the fears of the public?  What is the benefit and the harm that comes from this speech and is the short term possible benefit worth the greater harm?

Terrorism

Over the last few months there has been 3 deadly terrorist attacks that have spawned much controversy.  First there were the deadly attacks in Paris on November 13th, 2015, where 130 people died and hundreds more were injured. Next, the attacks in San Bernardino that claimed 14 lives and severally injured 22 more on December 2nd, 2015.  Finally, there was the attacks in Brussels on March 22nd, 2016, where 32 individuals were killed and 300 were injured.  All three of these attacks have been linked directly to ISIS or ISIL.  ISIS is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They are a militant group that follows an Islamic fundamentalistWahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam.

z-islamic-caliphate-flag

Isis Flag

These attacks are now the fueling power behind the anti-Muslim rhetoric that the republican presidential hopefuls are spewing.  Terrorism is the backbone that the writer’s use to make what is being said not seem like hate speech.

Muslims

We need to understand some facts about Muslims to see why some articles understandably say that the candidates use the ignorance of the voters to breed fear.  CNN says that 68% of Trump supporters still believe that President Obama is a Muslim.  They say we are in a flat-earth time.  They are trying to say people will believe what they are told.

Muslims make up roughly 21% of the world population.  This is around 1.6 billion people.  While most Americans more than likely associate Muslims with the Middle East, only 20% of Muslims are from the Middle East and North Africa and only two countries, Egypt and Iran, are in the top 10 most populace countries for number of Muslims.  Both of these countries are state based opponents of ISIS and they combined have a 2% favorability towards ISIS

world-religions-by-percentage1map-of-muslim-countries-with-more-than-1-million5

The following web site, http://metrocosm.com, states that 58% of americans believe that half of the worlds Muslims support ISIS, when in fact very few Muslims support ISIS.  In 15 of the 20 countries shown, support for ISIS is in the single digits. With the exception of Syria, no country is it greater than 15%.

what-muslims-really-think-of-isis

It is believed that there is somewhere between 30,000 and as high as 300,000 ISIS fighters.  This is less than 1% of the Muslim population

Comments by Candidate

The latest terror attacks have sparked a big debate over how America should react and how we protect ourselves.  The Presidential candidates running for the republican nomination have tried to outdo each other to be the most extreme when it comes to the message they have as it relates to terrorists, a word which is synonymous with Muslims in most American’s viewpoint.  Every article quotes the candidates to give legitimacy to this.  Jeb Bush said he would back refugees coming here if they could prove they were Christians.  Donald Trump wants to ban all Muslims.  We know how little of the Muslim population actually support ISIS, let alone are members, so why do we need to ban all Muslims?  Should we not be banning ISIS, or radicalized Muslims and not all?  We should wonder if it was African Americans, gays, Buddhists or any other minority group that we were taking about in this manner would this speech go over as well with Americans.

The Media and how it handles it

Many articles have been written and the majority of these articles seem to be against the rhetoric.  Why are so many Americans supporting these candidates when so much is written detailing the facts?  Donald Trump has been the most outspoken about Muslims going so far as to say “I am calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our counties representatives can figure out what is going on”.  It is this quoted comment, found throughout all articles, that sparks his followers.  How do we know who these Muslims are?  Do we need to make them wear some kind of patch so we can identify them?  There are Muslims from all over the world.  More Asians are Muslim then are from any other region.  Many other Muslims are African, Caucasian, and some are even Latino.  If this is the fact, then what is meant by banning all Muslims?  By “Muslims” Mr. Trump means Arabs.  Arabs are easier to profile then to say Muslims.  There is no way to identify someone as a Muslim, unless you ask them if they are. He is obviously talking about people who look Arab.  Many if not all of the other candidates at some point have echoed the same rhetoric on immigration and anti-Muslim statements.

gop-2016-trumpTrump speaks at a rally

The majority of the articles used words like the following to describe the rhetoric; bellicose, damaging, reckless, needlessly disruptive, harmful, wildly dangerous, toxic, and fuel for Islamic extremists.  Others say that he only speaks truth, he is not far off the norm, and he speaks what Americans think.  As Mr. Trump’s numbers seem to keep growing the further along we go in the presidential race it seems realistic that the articles that say he speaks to Americans is true, hard to swallow but true.  The crowds roar when he speaks of deporting Muslims says one article.  The applause was so loud at a rally in New Hampshire after Trump said he would kick all Syrian refugees out of the county.  The more outrageous he becomes the better his rating is.  He is winning the nomination by bigger numbers the further along we get.  It would seem that Americans do agree with him.  He is polarizing and charming and as one article states, this massive and long-standing cultural celebrity commands the attention of a large number of Americans who usually ignore politics.  This is legitimized by the increase in his numbers even when politicians are against him.

It is understandable why some articles believe he plays well with fans.  Are these articles then siding with Trump or just showing both sides.  Many show the benefit to Trump and his election while also explaining the dangers it has for Americans outside of the United States.  It is a shame that anyone would sacrifice the greater good for personnel gain but that is what is stated and what is happening, but none of the articles go that far.  Many Americans seem to want to hear what Donald Trump is saying and agree with him but a larger number believe that what he says is hate speech.

One article actually states that ‘although it is not hate speech, the rhetoric seeks to capitalize on the revulsion we felt after the recent terrorist attacks and the widespread ignorance of Americans with Islamic history, religion, and society to paint all Muslims as potential terrorists who must be targeted‘.  This is so close to the truth.  Trump is using the public’s ignorance to his benefit.  Does this mean that if the public was better informed and educated that they would not be so easily duped?  One could say that it would not matter as people are going to believe what they want to believe no matter what you tell them or how convincing you are.  The articles seems for the large part to fall somewhere in the middle.  They tend to understand what and why Trump does what he does but also know that it will effect Americans on a global scale.

Conclusion

While the media coverage titles their articles in a way that it sounds one way they do not go far enough one way or the other.  If one thinks Trump is saying want Americans believe then that is what should be said.  If one rightfully thinks it is hateful, bigotry that will do nothing but harm, then say that.  I do not like the middle ground and soft journalism.  I do understand how politics work and that they need to do whatever is necessary to win they have to know it comes at a cost.  Calling out ALL Muslims is in my book hate speech and is discrimination toward a specific religion.  How it can be seen in any other way makes very little sense to me.

As I stated earlier, it is not Muslims that the candidates are after, it is Arabs, but they do not say that.  ISIS is terrorizing more Muslims than any other group.  They are being displaced by the thousands. Instead of spewing hateful rhetoric we should hold out our hands and aid those in need. Sure we may allow some bad seeds into America but the good it will do for our image will far out way any possible harm.  Our presidential hopefuls should think about the greater good but are they to blame.  If Americans did not listen they would not have anything to say.  We as Americans need to be a better world partner.

After 911 we created Homeland Security to protect America from foreign threats and we have seen very little in the way of terrorism in our borders.  This means that we are doing a good job of handling terrorism.  Sure there are going to be the random acts that get through, but is terrorism actually such a big problem in this country? Is the blame to be placed on the shoulders of Muslims?  Muslims American citizens in this Country are Americans, nothing more.  We do not call Christians Christian Americans, they are just Americans.

We must be better Americans, find better candidates and be better ambassadors.  We are the greatest country in the world it is said, it is about time we start acting like it and finding representatives that demonstrate it.

Bibliography

(Jenna Johnson – Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims plays well with fans, but horrifies others)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-anti-muslim-rhetoric-plays-well-with-fans-but-horrifies-others/2016/02/29/477f73dc-de37-11e5-846c-10191d1fc4ec_story.html

(Michael Gerson – The anti-Muslim rhetoric of Trump and Cruz only helps terrorists)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-anti-muslim-rhetoric-of-trump-and-cruz-only-helps-terrorists/2016/03/24/9440114c-f1ea-11e5-89c3-a647fcce95e0_story.html

(Eric Lewis – Anti-Muslim rhetoric has to stop)

http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/20/opinions/lewis-trump-muslims/

(Christopher B, Dolan – Trump’s angry anti-Muslim comments not hate speech)

http://www.sfexaminer.com/trumps-angry-anti-muslim-comments-not-hate-speech/

(Teresa Welsh – Dem senator: ‘Anti-Muslim rhetoric’ worries foreign leaders)

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/274925-dem-senator-netanyahu-worried-about-election-rhetoric

(Natalie Jackson – Republicans are mostly OK with Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/republicans-donald-trump-anti-muslim_us_56e2d92ee4b065e2e3d59aef

(Radha Iyengar – Anti-Muslim rhetoric is a national security threat)

http://warontherocks.com/2016/04/anti-muslim-rhetoric-is-a-national-security-threat/

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