News Release

Trump, Clinton and Islamophobia

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in a speech in Ohio on Monday: “In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting. … That is why one of my first actions as president will be to establish a commission on radical Islam … to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”

ARUN KUNDNANI, arun[at]kundnani.org@ArunKundnani
Kundnani is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror and a lecturer at New York University. He said in an interview with The Real News: “What Trump is doing is really making much more explicit and overt with his rhetoric what is actually already by and large there in policy terms. I mean, talking about spotting the warning signs of radicalization — since 9/11 every law enforcement agency, immigration authorities, and so forth have been given training and so forth. In a very bogus — I mean, there is very little substance to these methodologies for spotting radicalization. But nevertheless they’re out there. They’ve been implemented for years. …

“After 9/11, we deported hundreds of thousands of people simply because they’re Muslim. We already put every mosque in the United States under surveillance simply for being a mosque. That atmosphere is already there.”

Kundnani recently wrote the piece “Why Hillary’s Neoconservative Foreign Policy Will Make The Problem of Islamophobia Worse,” which states: “It seems clear that Clinton will continue her war-mongering foreign policy if she is elected. She will almost certainly increase military action in Syria. Around 600 civilians have already been killed by coalition bombing over the last two years, including 163 children. With Clinton in the White House, many more civilians will be killed by the U.S. military in the Middle East, while the root causes of conflict will go unaddressed. Policy will be more aligned with the Netanyahu right-wing in Israel than it has been over the last eight years. Clinton personally intervened to ensure no criticisms of Israel were heard at the Democratic Party convention.

“The neoconservative Robert Kagan said of Clinton in 2014: ‘I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy. … If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue, it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.’ In other words, she will pursue a neoconservative foreign policy dressed up in the liberal vocabulary of humanitarian intervention. Little wonder that neoconservatives like Kagan have turned to support her instead of Trump, and as actively as possible — Kagan recently hosted a fundraiser for Clinton in Washington DC. …

“If the United States follows [Clinton’s] lead, acceptance of Muslims may be dependent on whether they seem as patriotic as the Khans. Those who dissent or criticize the U.S. government or Israel will continue to be treated as suspicious and disloyal. Viewed from this angle, Clinton’s embrace of patriotic Muslims like the Khans seems less about liberal principles and more about creating a PR image to deflect criticisms of U.S. foreign policy. That’s not treating Muslims as fellow citizens; it’s treating them as pawns on a geopolitical chessboard. Such positive images of Muslims may help stop Trump but they can also be used to strengthen the structures of anti-Muslim racism in domestic and foreign policy.”