In the United States, despite the efforts of absolutist ideologues to pit “Islam” against “The West,” Muslims are surviving and thriving, ironically driven by their shared Islamic and Western values. American Muslims are Olympic fencers and U.S. congressmen, Uber drivers and medical professionals, Daily Show correspondents and NFL stars, New York City judges and Marvel superheroines, successful CEOs and halal-cart entrepreneurs. We also gave you Muhammad Ali, the most beloved and famous icon in modern history, who recently united the world in admiration for a black Muslim man who embodied the best of America’s values and bold swagger.
We’re also a Turkish immigrant named Hamdi Ulukaya who pulled himself up from his bootstraps and created the Chobani yogurt empire. Yes, Mr. Trump, we even make America’s yogurt. Ulukaya recently out-Oprah’d Oprah by giving his employees stock worth around 10 percent of the company. He should be profiled for radical generosity.
Here’s a thought experiment: Maybe you can make America great again by learning something from the millions of Muslims in this country who are making America great every day.
Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with Muslims,” maybe it’s more appropriate to ask, “What’s wrong with Donald Trump?”
Caner Dagli, associate professor of religious studies, College of the Holy Cross, and co-editor, The Study Quran
Donald Trump’s claims about Muslims are bullshit in the proper sense. They are neither true nor false. They’re phony.
Trump’s demand (echoing many others) that we use the phrase “radical Islam” is theatrics meant to appeal to people for whom this label is redundant. For such people, saying “radical Islam” is like saying “unmarried bachelor.” Note that Trump now capitalizes it: Radical Islam, like Catholic Church.
As an example of how this kind of thing works, let us recall the provocateur behind the anti-Sharia legislation (meant to protect the American constitution from Islamic law!) debated in dozens of U.S. statehouses. He admitted about his model bill:
If this thing passed in every state without any friction, it would have not served its purpose. … The purpose was heuristic—to get people asking this question, “What is Shariah?”
What seemed to be a legislative process was actually a national propaganda campaign to generate hostility against Islam and Muslims. In similar fashion, Trump’s call to ban Muslims, and other similar nonsense, is meant to “sell feelings,” not to solve a problem or to answer a question.
What’s amazing about Trump’s nonsense is that it is not meant to manipulate, but to unleash. It’s completely open. He knows it’s bullshit and many of his supporters must know it is.
In common courtesy we say, “How are you?” and, “I’m fine, thanks,” which only works if both of us know that what we are saying is neither true nor false, but meant to communicate something else. Trump and his supporters are playing a similar game for darker purposes.