News Release

Trump: Making Muslim Bias “Explicit”

9781781685587_Muslims_Are_Coming_NIP-0d7c65bcca3a726c6f0e6f6d719fa2faARUN KUNDNANI, arun at kundnani.org, @ArunKundnani
Available for a limited number of interviews, Kundnani is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror and a lecturer at New York University. His articles include “The belief system of the Islamophobes.” He appeared on CNN on Tuesday along side two rightwing Republicans, see video.

On CNN, Kundnani said: “What I think Trump is doing with his comments yesterday is making explicit in rhetoric what is already implicit in policy terms. Right, so we already have had a situation since 9/11 where thousands of Muslims were rounded up and deported, simply because they were Muslim. We already have had a situation where mosques are being spied on, simply because they are mosques. We already have a situation where we have politicians saying ‘We won’t allow Syrians to come in and claim refugee status,’ simply because they are Syrian. So, you know, we already are in this situation. What Trump is, is a symptom of a wider political culture of Islamophobia, and the rhetoric that he’s coming out with yesterday, you know, it does have effects. So today, people are saying today that Trump is brave for speaking out, to me the people who are brave are the Muslim woman riding on the subway this morning worried about all the suspicious looks she’s getting, or the Muslim cab driver who’s worried he’s going to have an aggressive passenger attack him, people trying to get on with their daily lives in the face of hostility, that’s bravery.”

Kundnani said today: “The standard liberal response has been that his statements further ISIS’s agenda since they inflame Mideast opinion against us. But the stance against Trump’s comments should be a principled one.

“The notion that one shouldn’t be so explicit about biases — again, very similar biases have been expressed by other political figures and have been part of policy — also presumes that Muslims have not been paying attention to actual U.S. government domestic and foreign policies for decades.”

Kundnani recently wrote: “Among the policymakers, scholars and ideologists of the ‘war on terror,’ there are two broad approaches to making sense of ‘Islamic extremism’: there are conservatives who regard Islam as an inherently violent culture defined essentially by its founding texts, and liberals who think the enemy is a totalitarian perversion of Islam that emerged in the twentieth century. On a deeper level, both of these ways of thinking operate together with an implicit solidarity, producing a flexible and adaptive discourse of a ‘Muslim problem.’ …

“What radicalization theories ignore is that violence in the ‘war on terror’ is relational: the individuals who become ISIS volunteers are willing to use violence; so too are our own governments. We like to think our violence is rational, reactive and normal, whereas theirs is fanatical, aggressive and exceptional. But we also bomb journalists, children and hospitals. A full analysis of radicalization needs to account for us radicalizing too, as we have become more willing to use violence in a wider range of contexts — from torture to drone strikes to proxy wars.”

Glenn Greenwald writes in “Donald Trump’s “Ban Muslims” Proposal Is Wildly Dangerous But Not Far Outside the U.S. Mainstream“: “Professional political analysts have underestimated Trump’s impact by failing to take into account his massive, long-standing cultural celebrity. … It’s important not to treat Trump as some radical aberration. He’s essentially the American id, simply channeling pervasive sentiments unadorned with the typical diplomatic and PR niceties designed to prettify the prevailing mentality. …

“Beloved Democratic Gen. Wesley Clark, while on MSNBC earlier this year, explicitly called for ‘camps’ for radicalized American Muslims. CNN’s role in all this is legion.

“The imposition of this sort of collective responsibility — telling Muslims, as CNN anchors did after the Paris attacks, that they are all legitimately regarded with suspicion when individual Muslims engage in violence — is unthinkable for almost any other group.”