Books and Documents

Islam and the West (30 Jan 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Banning The Entry Of Nationals From Seven Muslim-Majority Countries: Suddenly, Muslims Are America’s Pariahs

By Nesrine Malik

29 January 2017

Within minutes of Donald Trump signing his executive order banning the entry of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, the horror stories started coming through. Sudanese friends and relatives, some of whom had lived their entire lives in the United States, some who were in the air as the order was signed, found themselves prevented from entering the country.

Some were turned back from boarding their flights; others were handcuffed in airports, patted down and interrogated on their political beliefs. Mothers, fathers, children, students, employees suddenly found that the unthinkable had happened. They had been banned from returning to their jobs and studies, to their families and homes because they were Muslims.

The thought was almost too evil, too grotesque, to countenance. The hours after the ban felt like living through a chapter of history that we’d left behind. Events unfolded the likes of which we had only ever seen in documentaries, in fragments of newsreels from the archives. Travellers in tears, stern officers “just following orders”, refugees on the cusp of safe harbour wild with despair at the uncertain fate to which they must return, confused children huddled behind their parents as they plead with authorities, their faces speaking of fear, confusion and the sense that something is about to change forever.

And something has. The Islamophobia that we have witnessed rise over the past decade has finally burst its banks. The first thought was that surely common sense would prevail, surely there would be some grace period, surely there would eventually be a challenge from some sensible authority that would stop the madness. None of these things came to pass.

And then there was the personal body blow. I now cannot travel to the US, a country I visit frequently and in which I have work interests, close family and dear friends. It is a curious feeling, a new feeling. One that collapses space-time and connects you to all those before you who have found themselves on the ugly end of a collective insanity. It is a feeling that rocks the very ground on which you thought we all stood.

Suddenly, all certainties look shaky. Residencies, passports, green cards, jobs, mortgages, friends, marriages – all the things you thought fortified you against the mobilisation of state machinery – dissolve. You are only a Muslim. And what does that mean? It is a tag that defies definition, becoming more elusive the more you try to pin it down. I was reminded of a scene from a dramatisation of Roots author Alex Haley’s life, when he, dressed proudly in his US Coast Guard uniform and sporting his medals, confidently asks for a hotel room for the night for him and his wife. When he is refused one for being black, he returns to his car enraged – not at those who denied him but at himself for thinking he was exempt. “All they saw was a monkey.”

The arbitrariness of the ban is brazen. No Sudanese citizen has ever perpetrated an attack in the US. But Sudan is poor and has no strategic importance to Trump. It also has a majority-Muslim population – one that has suffered for years under a dictatorial regime that recklessly landed the country on a terror watch list some 20 years ago. Incidentally, Sudan is also a country that Barack Obama lifted sanctions from before he left office. This wasn’t even a proper Muslims ban. It was a Muslims-we-can-afford-to-cross ban. A ban that throws Muslims to the baying crowds that voted for Trump – but only the most vulnerable ones.

The entire premise of the executive order – that it would facilitate more thorough checks on those entering the US – is a lie. Applying for a US visa from any of the seven countries is already an exercise in extreme vetting. Following a mandatory interview, applications sometimes languish for months in “administrative processing”, a euphemism for an exhaustive investigation of information that extends to your entire academic and professional history. This is often followed up by “secondary processing” at US ports where an unfortunate match on a name or a typo on an application can condemn one to hours in a room that, it seemed to me, is overwhelmingly populated by Muslims.

This did not start with Trump; it’s something that is only reaching its climax. For years, as people warned against the mainstreaming of Islamophobia, they were met with equivocation. “Islam is not a race”, “we are criticising Islam, not Muslims”, “we condemn all religion, not just Islam”. Mosques were attacked, women were spat on and had their Hijabs snatched from their heads. Western media, led by the British tabloid press, established an industry of hysteria against Muslims with fake news. The Niqab and its banning commanded hours of debate in European parliaments.

All the while Muslims repeatedly hit the panic button and were told that they needed to stop overreacting and being so precious. Right-wingers exploited Islamophobia to channel anti-immigration hatred, and liberalism took refuge in intellectual handwringing and posturing over prophet cartoons and freedom of speech and women’s rights, unable to ally itself with what it perceived to be a backward Muslim tradition, and failing to understand that the danger to everything the west stands for is not from Islamic extremism but from the response to it.

“We’re liberals!” boasted the renowned US talk-show host Bill Maher about himself and his partner in muscular atheism, the secularist philosopher Sam Harris. “We’re trying to stand up for the principles of liberalism! And so, y’know, I think we’re just saying we need to identify illiberalism wherever we find it in the world, and not forgive it because it comes from [a group of] people perceive as a minority.” But he was merely setting up the straw man to knock it down. No one was asking for forgiveness, merely an understanding that collective condemnation of a people via attacking their religion meant collective punishment.

And here we are. It unfolded before our eyes and yet many still could not see it coming. It became apparent that people would pay attention only if something terrible happened, and by then it might be too late. Now something terrible has happened, but it can and will get worse. If the past seven days have taught us anything, it is that events that seem to happen overnight are actually the climax of years of complacency.

Yet still we see that complacency in the form of Theresa May – whom we are told can be a restraining influence – literally hand in hand with Trump just before he signed an order that condemned millions to pariah status for nothing other than an accident of birth. Even as it emerged that British passport holders were subject to the ban, May had nothing to say other than that it was a matter for the US to determine. Only when pressed in the face of mounting anger did she state that she did not “agree” with the ban, as if it were a matter of opinion. This appeasement, this stale, morally bankrupt logic of pragmatism is what continues to render the unimaginable possible.

It is heartening to see lawyers, protesters and federal judges move to support and block the ban, but let us not only scramble at the 11th hour to fight the results of bigotry, let us fight the root causes. We now see, in the most graphic of ways, where failure to do that inevitably leads.

Source: theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/29/muslims-america-untouchables-donald-trump-ban-islamophobia

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-the-west/nesrine-malik/banning-the-entry-of-nationals-from-seven-muslim-majority-countries--suddenly,-muslims-are-america’s-pariahs/d/109884


  • The problem is your not keeping quiet. When your hate mail gets answered you want quiet!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 2/2/2017 1:53:18 AM

  • the matter is going to the courts. so just keep calm until then.

    after the court rules them ultra vires, then you can start screaming. if it doesn't, i will start screaming. deal.

    By hats off! - 2/1/2017 11:55:09 PM

  • Hats Off says, "an argument is judged on the basis of the soundness of its premises and the validity of the conclusions derived from the premises. it does not require to be either juvenile or senile to be valid."

    Read my answer again. Your argument was both invalid and ill-premised, besides being juvenile. It had its origin, albeit sinuous, in your single wellspring, namely your unquenchable hatred of Muslims.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 2/1/2017 2:51:50 PM

  • an argument is judged on the basis of the soundness of its premises and the validity of the conclusions derived from the premises.

    it does not require to be either juvenile or senile to be valid.

    and the much hyped "la convivencia" has been questioned by many later historians. while this myth undoubtedly projects that time as a golden age for islam, for the jews and the catholics, it was just a "dhimmi" existence.

    unless one believes that jizya is somehow ennobling to the "dhimmi", it cannot have been anything other than leaden for the "dhimmis".

    By hats off! - 2/1/2017 6:43:46 AM

  • The facts are:

    1. The ban does not cover countries in which Trump has business interests. It covers only those countries in which Trump has no business interests.

    2. Refugees from the seven named countries were not involved in any terrorist incident in the US during the last 40 years.

    3. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia which are the fountainheads of terrorism are not covered by the ban since these two countries have been close allies of the US in fanning extremism and using the extremists for political ends

    The sheer hypocrisy of the US government stands exposed no matter how much the Islamophobes may try to cover it up with their irrelevant straw man arguments.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/1/2017 4:59:26 AM

  • The commentators like Royalz only can express such irrational views. The Visa ban is a big black blot on the of fake democracy of US and western nations,  not for the Muslims. They have fully been exposed now as their Muslims' hatred is clearly demonstrated by Trump card. 
    By Raihan Nezami - 2/1/2017 4:42:30 AM

  • Whether Donald Trump did the right thing or not, this ban is undoubtedly a black mark on Islam. Who is to be blamed? I find fault with the Ulemas, Mullahs, Alims, and Ayatollahs, who have not properly guided the Muslim masses. They trained the masses to show anger when Islam is strongly criticised as in the case of Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Versus” or Danish Cartoonist etc.

    There were no mass protests when Islamic Justice was dispensed unfairly. Especially when 14 year old student Malala was shot on her head, for promoting education among girls; when suicide bombers blast themselves inside Shia Mosques; when ISIS annihilating Yazidis, use them as sex slaves, beheading innocent people; or when they destroy the temples, churches and other places of worship.

    Muslims have not learned anything from other religionists. Japanese Buddhist have not jumped into American restaurants with suicide bombs for the atomic bombing; nor did the Jews attack Germans for the Holocaust. When a Muslim youth Mehmet Acai shot four times at the Pope, a spiritual leader of 1200 million Catholics, there was no retaliation; nor When Uganda president Idi Amin shot through the mouth of Archbishop of Uganda.

    If the Jihadists attack European cities, what will be the reaction of the Europeans? They will feel themselves as small and foolish and praise the Americans for electing Donald Trump.


    Allah says: “Where there is no vision people perish”

    By Royalj - 2/1/2017 3:51:29 AM

  • Countries are sometimes forced into isolation and in the case of the US, they appear to be choosing it themselves.

    When Europe was forced into isolation by the rise of the Islamic Caliphate which controlled all the land routes to the rest of the world, Europe entered its dark ages while the rest of the world didn't. That is why the term "medieval" applies only to Europe and not to the rest of the world although western academicians misuse this term for the whole world. The rest of the world was not going through their dark ages when Europe was. Europe could have chosen to trade with the Islamic Caliphate rather than go into isolation but they chose not to.

    The rise of Europe as a naval power changed all that. It was the turn of Islamic countries to go into relative isolation and enter their dark age. Protectionism is a natural reaction to enforced isolation.

    The conditions in Andalusia under Islam where different communities worked together in an environment of freedom and tolerance and achieved great progress in every field of human endeavor were recreated in the US with similar results.

    The Islamic Caliphate was also open to Jews seeking asylum from persecution in Europe much like the role the US has played. The immigrants also contributed handsomely.

    Just like the Islamic Caliphate earlier, the US has greatly benefited from its policies. And just like other nations who suffered on account of isolation and policies of protectionism, the US will also suffer the same.

    Yes, every country may choose its destiny, and it appears that the US is entering a new era and its best days are over. The moment the rest of the world decides to shun the dollar which they will if the policy of protectionism goes too far, the US will truly be cut down to size.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/1/2017 2:27:31 AM

  • Hats Off says, "if islamic countries have the freedom to run their country as they see fit, we should also allow the same freedom to the US. its their country after all."

    This is a juvenile argument. America should follow its own Constitution, its laws, its traditions and its image of itself. At least four courts in the United States are now examining whether Trump's orders meet the requirements of the Constitution and the statutes.  The Acting Attorney General found the order to be unconstitutional so she was fired and they found an attorney in eastern Virginia who was willing to support Trump and appointed him as the new Acting Attorney General. Most of the opposition is coming from Americans, especially American Lawyers, legislators and civil liberties groups. The people who have been shut out are unhappy about their situation but theirs are not the angry voices we hear. Many Saudi and Emirate newspapers are supportive of Trump, probably because they have not been included in the ban. Nor are the Indian Muslims nor Pakistanis. Orthodox Muslims seem to support the ban citing security considerations, whereas liberal Muslims by and large oppose it citing the First Amendment and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 2/1/2017 2:10:49 AM

  • Mr. Hats off asks, “how many muslim refugees have been taken by saudi arabia, qatar, bahrain or the UAE?” Here are some useful pieces of information from Google as you are very fond of it and Youtube.

    Saudi Arabia Receives 4 Million Syrian and Yemeni Refugees

    Since the Syrian war began three years ago, Saudi Arabia had provided about $700 million in humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees, according to the foreign ministry.

    Saudi Arabia was among the first nations to rush into helping the Syrian people, whether inside their country or in their asylum states like Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.

    You can read full article on the link below


    By Raihan Nezami - 1/31/2017 11:37:27 PM

  • A country has every right to do what it feels is in its self interest at that time. If that means preventing Indians from entering the US, so be it. It is their decision. Nobody, Muslim, Indian, chinese, anyone has any kind of fundamental right to enter any other country. And especially where there is no reciprocal welcome on basis of religion - I am speaking about Muslim countries that have severe restrictions on entry and citizenship, on freedom of worship - I don't see how you can demand that you be allowed to enter non muslim lands. You hold them hostage to their own values and constitutions. Those values and constitutions had not reckoned with these problems at the time they were being written. 
    By secularlogic - 1/31/2017 11:05:51 PM

  • if islamic countries have the freedom to run their country as they see fit, we should also allow the same freedom to the US. its their country after all.

    that we hold the US and europe to a higher standards, points to the inherently racist nature of third-world banana republics with jugaad nukes.

    it is only natural for us third world stupids to expect the US to behave morally upright, while we expect other countries to be plainly unable to rise to the spot.

    By hats off! - 1/31/2017 7:54:56 PM

  • Now Trump plans to restrict H1-B visas. That means he is targeting Indians. His chief counsellor Steve Bannon had expressed his displeasure at "brown-skinned" people taking up so many lucrative jobs in Silicon Valley.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/31/2017 2:12:01 PM

  • A good summary of the legal challenges to Trump's order can be found in a New York Times article titled "Legal Challenges Mount Against Trump’s Travel Ban," posted by NAI today.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/31/2017 1:42:39 PM

  • hatts off put lots of fact I add it one more. As soon as trump gave the list  as usual our hating Pakistani brothers started their ra...i rona, but forget to tell their own story of Ahmedia, who are not allowed to go to Mecca because on their passport it is mentioned they are non-Muslim. Wow dobble hypocracy, Muslim in India might be whispering in their homes or on blogs or on the website lie this. Commentators can add more to list of this banning among Muslim community. If someone intrested in truely Muslesia(Malysia) I can tell about this truely hypocrates Asia country as well similar policy like trump is trying to bring in America.

By Aayina - 1/31/2017 6:10:05 AM

Compose Your Comments here:
Email (Not to be published)
Fill the text
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.