Yusuf Omar - Opinion | 31 January 2017.
US president, Donald Trump, recently signed an executive order that he claims would keep radical Islamists out of the country. The effect of this rather bold move brings a 90 day ban on foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, a 120 day ban on all refugee admissions, and an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
While many feel that Trump needs to stop converting his disgusting thoughts into action, I think that this latest move to curb terrorism is welcomed. I understand the difficulties for those innocents who are directly affected by this unique executive order however I also believe that it will bring change and it will, eventually, make America a better and safer place to live in.
The news is currently causing an uproar in both political and social circles globally. As far as I recall, I have never seen a law passed or document signed in recent times that has prompted so many high profiled figures to speak out. Across the board, from the tech giants to CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, all are openly against the move. This, I tell you, is doing wonders for the fight against islamophobia. It’s not the first time that any government has directly discriminated against Muslims, but ‘justified reasons’ were given with previous discriminations. Whenever Islamophobia is practiced anywhere in the world, a guise is used that helps to justify it in the eyes of the general public and because of this guise, the world remains silent.
When bombings take place in major cities around the world, mainstream media jumps to ‘Muslim radical’. This claim is strengthened by proof of an ID document mysteriously appearing on the scene or a CCTV camera that managed to produce a blurred image of a bearded male. Sometimes, the country had certain disputes with a Middle-Eastern or North-African state during that period in which the blast took place. Whether true or not, these are reasons given which forces the masses to remain silent while Muslims are being blamed and discriminated against. Also, whether Muslim bomber or not, it doesn’t directly affect them.
When the ban on Hijaab took place across Europe in France, Belgium and Germany, governments said that there is a need to build a more social society and the Hijaab goes against that vision. They also brought in the argument of liberation for woman and the need to identify each citizen. Now while you and I know that the reasons given hold no real weight, the fact of the matter is that reasons were given. Reasons that made sense. Jean-Francois Cope, a mayor of a French city went on to say that the ban on Hijaab is not aimed at any religion or community. Once again, weak argument, but argument nonetheless.
The world sat down quietly and watched as these Islamophobic laws and drafts were passed. None spoke out because reasons were given, and it never directly affected them. On the other hand, this executive order signed by Trump caused many high profiled thoughts to be verbalized.
“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength” ~Justin Trudeau~ Prime Minister of Canada.
“Deeply concerned about US decision not to allow entry of people from certain countries. Creates mistrust between people.” ~Margot Wallstrom~ Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.
The global fight against terrorism was no excuse for the ban and "does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion..." A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"We have many employees from the named countries and we do business all over the region..." ~Jeff Immelt~ CEO of General Electric.
“is tantamount to a Muslim ban and requires objection.” ~Sam Altman~ A high profiled investor, calling on tech leaders to do more to oppose Trump.
“Like many of you, I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump.” ~Mark Zuckerberg~ CEO of Facebook.
“Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing.” ~Brian Chesky~ Co-founder, CEO of Airbnb.
So why are so many speaking out?
Because the ban has a direct effect on the country’s economy and vital structures within the constitution. It disturbs major corporations and entities since important members of staff and in some cases, valuable clients, are directly affected by Trump’s decision.
Furthermore, they can speak out because the reason Trump gave doesn’t make sense. According to Trump, this move will help curb acts of terror. Unlike the Hijaab ban and the ‘Muslim bomber’, this guise is not strong enough. Why is Saudi Arabia and Turkey excluded? Why only Muslim countries? Why the entire country? What about murders committed by US citizens? The reasons are not strong enough to make the world sit down in silence.
Even though some are speaking out solely because their empires are being affected, the point is they are speaking out. Collectively, this is creating awareness about islamophobia. They might not be great supporters of the Muslim cause but their statements right now is having an effect on millions of people. These statements are making people see the importance of justice and equality. Statements like this will bring peace in America. When a man named Mark who owns a social networking platform with more than a billion users speaks out, it does have an impact. He might be more concerned about Facebook’s turnover for this quarter but his statements leave an impression on people.
Trump thinks he is getting rid of Muslims. He does not realize that he is creating awareness. He does not realize that the more he tries to get rid of Muslims, the more people are made aware of Islamophobia. That is why I welcome his latest move. It’s been few days since the executive order was signed but millions worldwide are already seeing the reality of Islamophobia. From a political and economic point of view, Trump might be the worst thing to ever happen to America, but as far as Islamophobia is concerned, Trump could be the greatest thing to happen since Mo Farah. By the way, Mo Farah cannot get back into America for training. The Somali-born British Olympic medallist was out of the country when the document was signed. He is currently training in the US but he can’t get back in. This alone will open the eyes of the entire British sporting fraternity.
Yusuf Omar resides in South Africa and holds a BA in Islamic sciences. He is currently a writer/presenter at Radio Islam. He loves playing with words and has an interest in fine arts. He also believes in mermaids. Check out some of his other articles here. Interact with him on Twitter and Instagram.